Match Report: Walsall 1 Forest Green Rovers 3 Match Report: Walsall 1 Forest Green Rovers 3
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Walsall 1 Forest Green Rovers 3

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's Sky Bet League Two clash between the Saddlers and Forest Green Rovers.
Heading into the match on the back of two defeats, both in the league and Carabao Cup, Matthew Taylor's Walsall were looking to earn both their first goal and first win as they welcomed Forest Green to Banks's Stadium.

The match got off to something of a slow start as both teams settled into the game, but five minutes in, Walsall created the opening chance of the game as the ball fell kindly for Kieran Phillips, whose low effort on goal was comfortably saved by Forest Green Rovers 'keeper, Luke McGee.

The Saddlers continued to enjoy a decent spell, with Joss Labadie firing an effort over the crossbar just a minute after the save. A corner followed moments later, as Udoka Godwin-Malife was forced to put the ball out of play, but nothing would come of the flag-kick.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the thirteenth minute, whilst Emmanuel Osadebe received treatment, but he was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

The visiting side began to grow into the game as it continued, winning a corner in the nineteenth minute as Nicky Cadden fired a powerful effort in on goal, which Zak Mills did well to block.

With twenty minutes on the clock, Rovers took the lead, as Jamille Matt played the ball onto the head of Matthew Stevens, who nodded home after the Saddlers failed to clear the aforementioned corner.

The Saddlers looked to respond quickly to falling a goal behind, with Ash Taylor latching onto an Osadebe cross in the twenty-second minute, but the defenders headed effort was cleared off the line by an alert and well-placed, Regan Hendry.

Forest Green soon had the ball back at the other end, as they set about trying to extend their lead, and though unsuccessful, they did cause their opposition defences some problems, winning multiple corners in the process.

With thirty-one minutes on the clock, the first, and second, yellow cards of the game were shown, as Dominic Bernard and Nicky Cadden picked up bookings for an argument following a foul on Labadie.

The visiting side won a free-kick in a dangerous position, in the thirty-fifth minute, as they continued to dominate, but Cadden's effort sailed high and wide of the Walsall goal, without troubling the man between the sticks.

Walsall were presented with an opportunity to level the scores in the fortieth minute, but McGee was able to get behind Phillips' powerful effort and push it clear of the top corner it had looked destined to hit.

The resulting flag-kick came to nothing, and the visitors raced back to the other end, where Matt fired a low effort into the bottom corner to double his sides advantage.

With forty-five minutes on the clock, Regan Hendry joined those already in the referee's notebook as he picked up a yellow card for time wasting.

Two additional minutes were added to end the half, during which time, Rovers were awarded a penalty as Ebou Adams was felled in the box. Stevens stepped up to take the spot-kick, and duly converted, seeing his side take a three-goal lead into the break.

Walsall opted to make a change after the break, with Tyrese Shade sitting out the second-half, as Jack Earing took his place.

Forest Green continued to look the brighter of the two sides after the break, with Adams a little unlucky not to secure his sides fourth goal just four minutes in; his effort sailing narrowly wide of the upright.

Walsall had soon worked the ball up to the other end, where they saw a chance of their own go begging, as a powerful Conor Wilkinson twenty-five yard effort clipped the outside of the post.

The Saddlers opted to make a second change to their line-up in the fifty-sixth minute, as captain, Joss Labadie made way for Liam Kinsella.

Five minutes later, after a good spell of play from the visitors, Walsall shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth was called into action, denying Adams a goal to add to his sides tally.

With sixty-three minutes on the clock, Forest Green opted to make their first change of the afternoon, as Matt Stevens was replaced by Jack Aitchison.

Rovers were again presented with a chance to extend their lead in the sixty-seventh minute, but Adams was unable to keep his effort on target, firing narrowly wide from outside the box.

Moments later, the Saddlers also saw an opportunity missed, as a Wilkinson effort from the centre of the area was blocked by the Rovers defences.

Seventy-three minutes in, Rovers chose to make their second change of the afternoon, with Nicky Cadden making way for Taylor Allen.
In the seventy-seventh minute, Conor Wilkinson became the first Walsall player to see yellow, as he picked up a caution for a foul on Aitchison.

Rovers continued to look the more likely to score as we headed rapidly towards the final ten minutes of the match, with Hendry seeing an effort from outside the area saved by Rushworth.

With eighty-one minutes on the clock, Rovers chose to make their final substitution, with Jamille Matt making way as Jake Young took to the pitch.

The visiting side continued to press, winning a corner as Taylor knocked the ball out of play. The flag-kick was swung into the box by Hendry, where the recently introduced Young was waiting, but his effort failed to test the man between the sticks as it trickled wide.

Three additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time, Brendan Kiernan secured Walsall's first goal of the campaign, as he fired home from the centre of the area. However, it would be too little, too late, and his side slumped to their second defeat of the season, as Forest Green secured all three points with a three-goals-to-one victory.

Kiernan (90+2')
Stevens (20')
Matt (43')
Stevens (P - 45+3')
Simon Mather
4,310 - Banks's Stadium
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