Match Report: Walsall 1 Tranmere Rovers 0

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's League Two clash between the Saddlers and Tranmere Rovers.
Brian Dutton's Saddlers arrived at the match in search of a second win on the bounce and a second in sixteen as they sought to take another step towards securing a spot in the fourth tier for at least another campaign.

Following a minute of silence in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh, Tranmere Rovers got the match underway. The visitors starting the game brightly, winning a corner just four minutes in, which Kaiyne Woolery failed to connect with, moments after Paul Lewis had headed wide.

Rovers continued to dominate, winning another corner in the eighth minute, as a Woolery effort was blocked. From the flag-kick, the visiting captain, Peter Clarke headed goal-wards, but Walsall shot-stopper, Jack Rose was able to make the save.

Walsall, after struggling to gain possession during the opening ten minutes, began to see more of the ball as the match continued, with Josh Gordon testing Rovers goalkeeper, Joe Murphy with a shot from twenty-five yard in the twelfth minute. The shot-stopper proving equal to the effort.

It didn't take long for the visiting side to regain possession and work the ball back up to the other end, where Peter Clarke looked to play in Liam Feeney, who did well to beat his man to the ball but failed to keep the ball on target as he fired goal-wards.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with neither side creating anything to test their oppositions defences, until, in the twenty-sixth minute, Feeney picked out Alister Crawford with a cross into the box, though the latter failed to test Rose in the Walsall goal as his effort nestled in the side netting.

There was a brief pause in proceedings in the twenty-eighth minute, allowing Rory Holden to receive treatment. Fortunately for the Saddlers, he was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

As we reached the half-hour mark, Tranmere won another corner kick as Max Melbourne turned the ball out of play. The ball in by Feeney fell to Jay Spearing on the edge of the area, but the Saddlers defences ensured nothing would come of the opportunity, clearing the danger after the ball was played back to Feeney.

The match action continued to be centred largely around the midfield areas as we raced towards the break, with Tranmere continuing to see much of the ball, while the Saddlers defences ensured they could not make use of the possession.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to create anything further and the teams headed into the break with the scores still tied.

HT
WFC
0-0
TRFC

Walsall opted to make their first change of the evening ahead of the second-half, with Tom Leak sitting out the second forty-five, as Cameron Norman took his place as the hosts got the action back underway.

With forty-nine minutes on the clock, Jay Spearing became the first player to see yellow, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Emmanuel Osadebe on the edge of the area. The recently introduced Norman stepped forth to take the resulting free-kick, but his effort curled over the crossbar without troubling the man between the sticks.

The Tranmere shot-stopper had more to do three minutes later, as Holden picked out Gordon inside the area, with Murphy pulling off a fine save to tip the strikers headed effort over the crossbar. Gordon soon had the ball back and fired another effort goal-wards from the edge of the area, but his effort sailed inches over the crossbar.

The visitors were able to work the ball up to the other end after that, where Woolery fired a left-footed effort over the bar, without troubling Rose in the Walsall goal.

Walsall continued to see much of the ball though, seeing Gordon head wide in the fifty-seventh minute.

Sixty-two minutes into the contest, Rovers opted to make a double change to their line-up, with both Kaiyne Woolery and Ali Crawford making way as Lee O'Connor and Danny Lloyd joined the fray.

Tranmere began to see more of the ball as the game continued, though again, the Saddlers were able to limit their opposition to largely playing around the midfield area.

With sixty-seven minutes on the clock, Walsall chose to make a double change themselves, with Rory Holden and Josh Gordon making way for Wes McDonald and Caolan Lavery.

Tranmere also took the opportunity to make another change to their team, with David Nugent being replaced by James Vaughan.

Twenty minutes from time, Walsall found the breakthrough. Osadebe doing all the work as he celebrated his new contract in style; picking up the ball in the centre of the park, cutting inside and unleashing a thunderous strike twenty-five yards from goal, which collided with the underside of the crossbar as it sailed over the line.

Tranmere, already with much to do, found themselves a man down in the seventy-fourth minute, as Jay Spearing received a second yellow card for a late challenge on Liam Kinsella.

With seventy-eight minutes on the clock, Lee O'Connor became the second player to see the yellow card brandished, as he picked up a caution for a foul.

The Saddlers were presented with a chance to double their advantage in the seventy-ninth minute, but Lavery was unable to beat Murphy in the Rovers goal with his twenty-five yard set-piece.

Ten minutes from time, Tranmere chose to make a fourth change to their line-up, with Liam Feeney being replaced by former Saddler, Kieron Morris.

The final ten minutes were a rather quiet affair, as the visiting defences worked hard to ensure the Saddlers were unable to make use of their time on the ball.

Six additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time the Saddlers chose to make their fourth substitution of the evening, as Tyreik Wright made way for Alfie Bates, and James Vaughan joined those in the referee's notebook.

That would be the final action of note of the evening, and the referee drew the contest to a close with the Saddlers winning by one-goal-to-nil after a much improved all-round performance.

FT
WFC
1-0
TRFC
Osadebe (70')

VENUE
Banks's Stadium
REFEREE
Ollie Yates
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