Match Report: Tranmere Rovers 0 Walsall 0 Match Report: Tranmere Rovers 0 Walsall 0

Match Report: Tranmere Rovers 0 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's pre-season friendly between Tranmere Rovers and Walsall.
This afternoon's match represented the final time Saddlers manager Darrell Clarke could see his side in action ahead of next weekend's season-opening clash with Northampton Town.

The manager has almost completely rebuilt his squad following last season's relegation to League Two with fourteen new signings joining the ranks as the Mansfield-born boss looks to hit the ground running next weekend.

Walsall got the match underway via Josh Gordon, the former Leicester City man partnered with Morgan Ferrier as the striker returns to the fold following a recent request to leave the club.

The Saddlers earned a corner during the early stages of the contest, but it came to noting as the ball was cleared at the near post by David Perkins. Not the greatest delivery, but plenty of time for improvement.

Morgan Ferrier showed some neat control after around six minutes of play as he evaded the tackle of George Ray only to be thwarted by a puddle of water near the corner flag, the post-heatwave rain coming into play very early in the contest.

Tranmere's first chance of note arrived soon after Ferrier's puddle incident as Connor Jennings found shooting space outside the Walsall area. His shot was a little wayward however, as he failed to hit the target.

It was soon Walsall's chance to get a shot on goal as Liam Kinsella created space just outside the Rovers area. The midfield man was unable to open the scoring however, as stopper Scott Davies grasped the ball at the second time of asking with Ferrier keen to nip in.

The ball was quickly back at the other end of the pitch as Ollie Banks fired wide from around twenty-five yards. And Tranmere were soon back in attack as Harvey Gilmour linked up with former Saddler Kieron Morris, Gilmour's flick putting a little too much pace on the ball as the attack came to an end.

The attacking endeavour was soon slowed as the ground-staff were asked to clear some of the standing water, which had already played a part in proceedings. The recent rainfall causing something of a headache for all involved.

The match was soon back underway with the opposing managers entering into a deep discussion with the pitch a clear concern. Neither manager wanting to add an injury or two ahead of the opening games of the season next weekend.

The Saddlers earned another corner after around twenty-minutes of play. Sadly for the Reds they were unable to make much use of it as goalkeeper Davies was able to react to the danger and punch the ball clear.

The next opening came Rovers' way as they were able to advance up the pitch with Stefan Payne being played into space with a defence-splitting pass, despite a fairly tight angle he was able to get a shot away but 'keeper Liam Roberts remained alert to palm the ball away.

Goal-scoring opportunities became something of a premium as we crossed the midway point in the half. For Rovers, Liam Ridehalgh's speedy cross was too much for Morris as he was unable to get a toe on the ball, the former Saddlers no doubt keen to get on the scoresheet.

Connor Jennings should've at least tested the 'keeper with around ten minutes of the half remaining as Shay Facey failed to deal with a cross, the ball falling for Jennings who could only direct an effort away from goal, much to his embarrassment.

Walsall had a major opening of their own just moments later as Facey and Ferrier combined to find Gordon in space just six-yards from goal. The former Fox was unable to make the most of his opportunity however, as he crashed the ball wide of goal. Should've been the opening goal!

Gilmour was the next to have a shot as he fired just over the bar from distance, the shot offering no real threat to Roberts' goal as the score remained nil-nil heading into half-time.

0 - 0

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke opted to make a duo of changes at half-time as Dan Scarr replaced James Clarke at the back and Stuart Sinclair came on for Liam Kinsella in midfield.

The home side got the game back underway via David Perkins, and there was very little of note during the opening stages of the second forty-five as both teams settled following the break.

Tranmere were forced into a change of their own after ten minutes of the half as Sid Nelson replaced the injured Jake Caprice in Micky Mellon's back-line.

With the season getting underway in a week's time Darrell Clarke opted to ring the changes near the hour mark as Cameron Norman, Danny Guthrie, Wes McDonald, James Hardy, and Rory Holden replaced Cameron Pring, Gary Liddle, Alfie Bates, Shay Facey, and Morgan Ferrier.

Josh Gordon went close to opening the scoring as he got on the end of a right-wing cross before sending a volley int the ground and over the bar. Not that close, but the best chance of the second-half so far.

Two of the Saddlers' substitutes almost combined for the opening goal as Guthrie floated a cross into the box which was met by Norman, the latter was only able to find the hands of the 'keeper with his downward header as the score remained level.

Rovers made a trio of changes as they too looked ahead to the 2019/20 campaign. Stefan Payne, Harvey Gilmour, and David Perkins were replaced by Ishmael Miller, Paul Mullin, and Darren Potter.

A few minutes after Connor Jennings was replaced by Jordan Ponticelli the home side created a promising opening as substitutes Potter and Miller combined to send a curling effort just past the post.

There wasn't much in the way of quality on display in the second half as the changes and somewhat damp conditions took a toll. Some much-needed minutes on the clock however.

Rovers earned themselves a corner with around ten minutes of play remaining, but were unable to make the most of it as Morris' cross was headed well over Roberts' bar. Ishmael will no doubt regret not making more of the opening as the sheets remained clean.

Openings continue to be hard to come by as the match wound down. The Saddlers winning a free-kick with around five minutes remaining. Danny Guthrie was the man to take it but was thwarted by George Ray who bravely blocked the ball with his head.

Not the greatest perfoemance from either side but more valuable minutes as attention turns to next weekend with the teams returning to competitive action in their respective leagues.

0 - 0

Attendance: N/A
Referee: Peter Bankes
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