Match Report: Forest Green Rovers 1 Walsall 1 Match Report: Forest Green Rovers 1 Walsall 1

Match Report: Forest Green Rovers 1 Walsall 1

After a week with out league football, the Saddlers returned to action on Saturday afternoon.
Heading into the match on the back of a midweek EFL Trophy bonus point shoot-out defeat to Chelsea Under-21s, Darrell Clarke's Saddlers were keen to continue their unbeaten start to their league campaign as they took on Forest Green Rovers.

Forest Green Rovers started the game brightly, seeing lots of the early possession and drawing a save from Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts, in just the second minute, as the 'keeper was forced to prevent a long-range Jamille Matt effort from finding the target.

Roberts was again called into action in the seventh minute, as a delightful ball over the top from Liam Kitching, was met by the head of Aaron Collins, but the man between the sticks was alert to the danger and made the save.

The hosts continued to look the brighter of the two sides as the match continued, going close again from a free-kick situation in the tenth minute. The Saddlers defences able to block the effort.

Against the run of play, the Saddlers opened the scoring in the fourteenth minute, as a well placed cross towards the back post from George Nurse was met by the head of Caolan Lavery who nodded home his first goal of the season.

There was a brief pause in proceedings in the twenty-first minute, allowing Josh Gordon to receive treatment, but the striker was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

Rovers soon set about looking to get back on level terms, but their first chance to do so saw Dan Sweeney fire wide from outside the box, in the twenty-fourth minute.

Three minutes later, the home team got closer to a goal, as Collins fired an effort goal-wards from the edge of the area, but Roberts was alert and palmed the ball clear.

The home side continued to enjoy a good spell of possession, and won a free-kick in a dangerous position in the thirty-first minute, but Nicky Cadden's set-piece effort sailed over the crossbar, without troubling the Saddlers shot-stopper.

Unperturbed, the hosts continued to press, with a lovely through-ball from Jayden Richardson finding Collins in the thirty-third minute, but the striker was unable to keep his effort on target, as the ball crept narrowly wide.

In the thirty-sixth minute, Rory Holden saw the first yellow card of the game, as he was cautioned for a foul on Udoka Godwin-Malife.

The home side continued to dominate as we raced towards the break, enjoying lots of time in possession, and continuing to knock on the door, though without success.

Matt going close in the thirty-ninth minute, but after working his way into the area, and beating Zak Jules, the striker failed to beat Roberts, who got down well to make the save.

Four additional minutes were added to end the first-half, and though Collins attempted to level the scores three minutes into them, his side were unable to find a breakthrough, and Walsall took a one-goal lead into the break.

0 - 1

Walsall manager, Darrell Clarke, opted to make the first of his substitutions as the sides returned for the second-half, with George Nurse sitting out the second forty-five. Alfie Bates taking his place as play resumed.

Forest Green began the second-half as they had played the first-half, seeing a Collins effort from the edge of the box blocked, before Collins looked to turn provider, moments later, as he crossed the ball in for Adams, whose close range effort missed the target.

With fifty-four minutes on the clock, Rovers opted to make their first change of the afternoon, as Jayden Richardson made way for Scott Wagstaff.

The hosts continued to see much of the ball as the match continued, and should have levelled the scores in the fifty-eighth minute, but Roberts was on hand to tip a powerful Collins effort over the bar to keep his side ahead.

There was a another pause in proceedings as we reached the hour mark, allowing Rory Holden to receive medical attention. It was soon decided that he would be able to continue, and his manager took the opportunity to make his final two changes of the afternoon. Both Stuart Sinclair and goal-scorer, Caolan Lavery making way as Wes McDonald and Elijah Adebayo took to the field.

Seconds after play resumed, Forest Green found the goal they had been searching for. Matt levelling the scores in the sixty-first minute after some good work from Collins played him in.

The home side continued to see much of the ball as the action continued, though without causing too many further problems to the Walsall defences, who continued to look solid. The Saddlers continually struggling to win the ball back, or keep possession once gained.

Sixteen minutes from time, Rovers were unlucky not to take the lead, as a close range effort from Matt failed to beat Roberts.

In the seventy-fifth minute, Liam Kitching became the second player to see yellow, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Gordon.

Just two minutes later, Zak Jules also found his name being entered into the referee's notebook, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Scott Wagstaff.

Walsall were able to stem the tide a little as we headed rapidly towards a conclusion, enjoying more time on the ball, though causing their opposition few concerns.

Seven minutes from time, Rovers found themselves back in shooting range, but Roberts was once again on hand to deny Collins.

The home side again began to deny Walsall time on the ball, but were unable to make their dominance pay, and as we reached the end of the regulation ninety, and headed into four additional minutes, Cadden saw another effort on goal sail wide of the upright, without troubling Roberts, before Matt headed wide from close range.

Moments later, the hosts won a corner, which was played to Sweeney in the centre of the box, but the midfielders was unable to keep his headed effort on target.

In the ninety-third minute, the Walsall manager picked up a yellow card for protesting a decision to the linesman. A reflection on just how frustrating a day it had been for him and his team.

That would be the final action of note, and the referee brought a halt to the contest, with the scores still tied at one-goal-apiece. The Saddlers incredibly lucky to take a point from the game.

1 - 1
Matt (61')
Lavery (14')
The New Lawn
Antony Coggins
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