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Match Report: Walsall 2 Forest Green Rovers 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League Two clash between the Saddlers and Forest Green Rovers.
The Saddlers arrived at the match in search of just their second win of 2021, whilst Rovers were looking to return to winning ways following a string of defeats which had seen them fall behind some of their title rivals.

Following a two minute silence, Walsall got the match underway. Just ten seconds into the contest, Forest Green Rovers won the first corner of the match, as Jake Young looked to capitalise on a loose ball from the Saddlers, with James Clarke doing enough to turn the ball wide. Nothing would come of the flag-kick.

The visiting side continued to press, with Scott Wagstaff playing Young in in the fourth minute, but the strikers was unable to direct his goal-ward shot on target, sending the ball sailing over the crossbar.

However, just six minutes in, Walsall took the lead. A lovely cross from Emmanuel Osadebe into the path of Rory Holden allowing the latter to slot the ball past Rovers 'keeper, Luke McGee, into the bottom corner to secure his fourth goal of the season.

The Saddlers continued to look the brighter of the two teams as the match wore on, winning a corner eleven minutes in, as McGee was forced to turn the ball behind, but nothing would come of the flag-kick, before moments later, Liam Kinsella picked up a loose ball and looked to play Holden in again, with the striker firing inches over the bar.

As we reached the quarter hour mark, Forest Green were able to work the ball back up to the other end, winning a corner for their efforts, which came to nothing.

Rovers continued to enjoy a brighter spell, with Wagstaff finding space to shoot in the twenty-fifth minute, forcing Walsall shot-stopper, Jack Rose to make a save.

The pace slowed a little as the game continued, with the game settling into something of a midfield battle, until, half an hour in, a delightful pass from Sam Perry picked out Osadebe in space, with the striker seeing a curling effort on goal deflected wide by Kane Wilson and the resulting corner came to nothing. Walsall continued to press, with Tyreik Wright seeing a long range effort blocked moments later.

The Saddlers continued to see more of the ball as we raced towards the break, winning a corner in the forty-second minute, as Jordan Moore-Taylor was forced to turn the ball out of play, but nothing would come of the flag-kick.

One additional minute was added to end the first-half, but there was no further action of note, and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the Saddlers leading by one-goal-to-nil.

HT
WFC
1-0
FGR

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and Forest Green got the action back underway. Just two minutes into the second-half, the Saddlers were presented with a chance to double their advantage, as Max Melbourne played the ball to Josh Gordon inside the box, but the striker fired inches over the crossbar.

The visitors had soon worked the ball up to the other end, where Nicky Cadden turned Wright before firing an effort into the side netting.

The action continued apace, with the Saddlers quick to get the ball back into the Rovers half, where Gordon and Wright combined to tee up Osadebe who was waiting inside the area, but the Irishman was unable to control his shot, firing over the bar.

The visiting side began to see more of the ball as the game continued, though they were unable to create much, until Wilson picked up the ball on the edge of the area in the fifty-eighth minute; his effort on goal sailing high over the crossbar, without troubling the man between the sticks.

As we reached the hour mark, Baily Cargill became the first player to see his name entered into the referee's notebook, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Gordon.

Walsall looked almost certain to extend their lead in the sixty-second minute, as Holden played Wright through on goal, but Cargill got his body in the way to deny the goal.

Three minutes later, the hosts had more luck in front of goal, as the ball fell to Clarke, after a bit of a scramble in the box following a corner, and the skipper turned it home to double his sides advantage.

Twenty minutes from time, Odin Bailey joined Cargill in the referee's notebook following an argument.

Rovers won a corner in the seventy-first minute, as Clarke turned the ball out of play and that lead to a second corner as Liam Kinsella put the ball behind. Aaron Collins swung the ball into the box from the second flag-kick, and Jordan Moore-Taylor headed home his first Forest Green goal to halve the Saddlers lead.

In the seventy-fifth minute, the visitors opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with Kane Wilson making way for Jayden Richardson.

Three minutes later, Josh Gordon joined those listed in the referee's notebook, as he was also shown the yellow card for an arguing.

In the eighty-first minute, Walsall made their first change of the day, as Hayden White made way after struggling with a knock and was replaced by Tom Leak.

Just three minutes later, a second substitution followed for the Saddlers as Rory Holden was replaced by Derick Osei Yaw, after the goal-scorer appeared to have picked up an injury.

Rovers chose to make a second change to their line-up in the eighty-fifth minute, as Nicky Cadden made way for Josh Davison.

A minute later, James Clarke was added to the names listed in the referee's notebook, as he was shown the yellow card for time wasting.

Another substitution followed for the Saddlers; Tyreik Wright making way for Cameron Norman.

Eight additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time, Rovers won a multitude of corners, which the Saddlers defended well, and Mat Sadler joined those on a caution, as he picked up a yellow card for wasting time, though there were no further goals and Walsall ran out winners for the first time in fifteen games.

A much improved performance from the Saddlers, who made their time on the ball count and limited their oppositions chances.

FT
WFC
2-1
FGR
Holden (6')
Clarke (65')
Taylor-Moore (72')

VENUE
Banks's Stadium
REFEREE
Ross Joyce

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