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Match Report: Walsall 0 Forest Green Rovers 2

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' EFL Trophy - Southern Group D clash with Forest Green Rovers.
After enjoying a welcome unbeaten run in the league, attention turned to the Saddlers' EFL Trophy campaign, and, with a place in the Second Round already secured, Matthew Taylor's men were looking to cap off their group campaign with a win.

Walsall began the game brightly, winning the first corner of the evening just two minutes in, as Jack Evans turned the ball out of play. Debutant, Otis Khan swung the ball in from the flag-kick, finding the head of Ash Taylor whose nod goal-wards, forced a save from Forest Green Rovers goalkeeper, Luke McGee.

Both sides then took some time to settle into the game, with neither able to really offer a test to their opposition defences.

As we reached the quarter-hour mark, Forest Green found the breakthrough; Matthew Stevens slotting the ball into the bottom corner to put his side ahead after a nice move from Jack Aitchison played him in.

Rovers continued to see much of the ball as the game continued, and went on to win their first corner of the match in the twenty-third minute, as Khan turned the ball behind, but nothing would come of the flag-kick and the side remained just the one goal ahead of their hosts.

The Saddlers were then finally able to work the ball back into the Rovers half, winning a corner kick in the twenty-fifth minute, which Khan swung into the box, again finding Taylor, whose headed effort was gathered by McGee.

Forest Green had soon worked the ball back to the other end though, winning a corner themselves, courtesy of Rollin Menayese who put the ball out of play.

Jack Evans swung the ball towards the back post, where Baily Cargill was waiting to head goal-wards, but Walsall shot-stopper, Jack Rose was alert to the danger and was able to gather.

The visiting side continued to press, with Sadou Diallo firing narrowly over the crossbar from just outside the box in the thirty-third minute.

Harvey Bunker became the first player to have his name taken by the referee, as the yellow card was flashed his way in the thirty-sixth minute following a foul on Sam Perry. The resulting free-kick saw Khan the ball in for Taylor, whose headed effort from the left side of the box sailed over the crossbar.

Forest Green were presented with a chance to double their advantage in the thirty-eighth minute, after some good play to beat Tom Leak and Khan, allowed Stevens a shot on goal, but his effort failed to test Rose as it flew well wide of the target.

The Saddlers had soon worked the ball back to the other end, as they looked to level the scores, with Khan crossing the ball into the box for captain, Joss Labadie, whose headed effort was saved by the Rovers shot-stopper.

One additional minute was added to end the first-half, during which time, Rose was again called action to deny Stevens from a free-kick, but neither side altered the scoreline and they headed off for their half-time refreshments with the visiting side leading by one-goal-to-nil.

HT
WFC
0-1
FGR
 
Both teams returned unchanged after the break, and the second-half got underway. Both sides took some time to settle back into the game, with neither creating much of note in the opening ten minutes of the half.

With fifty-five minutes on the clock, Walsall made the first change of the evening, replacing Sam Perry with Emmanuel Osadebe.

Three minutes later, the visiting side also opted to make a change to their line-up, with goal-scorer, Matthew Stevens making way for Jake Young, who looked to make an immediate impact upon the game, with an effort on goal which was easily saved by Rose.

Otis Khan became the second player to receive a caution as we reached the hour mark, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul.

A second Walsall substitution followed in the sixty-first minute, with Brendan Kiernan making way as Tyrese Shade entered the fray.

Rovers continued to look the more likely of the two sides to score, with Aitchison intercepting a pass in the sixty-fourth minute, before working his way upfield and firing an effort in on goal, with Rose well-placed to gather.

With sixty-nine minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make a third and final change to their line-up, with Stephen Ward making way as George Miller took to the field.

Four minutes after the Walsall change, Forest Green chose to make their second substitution of the game, with Harvey Bunker making way for Udoka Godwin-Malife.

Fifteen minutes from time, the Saddlers really ought to have drawn level, as Khan crossed the ball towards the back post, where Taylor was on hand to play the ball into the path of Miller, who was unable to keep his effort on goal down, firing over the crossbar from close range.

Jack Evans became the third player to see yellow in the seventy-seventh minute, as he received a caution following a foul on Osadebe.

Ten minutes from time, the visiting side opted to make their final change of the night, with Jack Aitchison making way for Nicky Cadden.

In the eighty-first minute, Regan Hendry saw yellow, as he was cautioned for a foul on Osadebe.

Another yellow card followed just one minute later, as Joss Labadie picked up a caution following a foul on Young.

Both 'keepers were tested in the moments which followed, with Rose denying Young a goal in the eighty-fourth minute, shortly before McGee ensured a low effort from Shade would not find the target.

Rollin Menayese joined those on a caution in the eighty-sixth minute, as he saw yellow for a foul on Young.

The game was effectively put to bed in the eighty-eighth minute, as Young got on the end of a Taylor Allen cross and turned the ball into the top corner with a shot from outside the area.

Forest Green continued to press as the game entered four additional minutes, with Cadden firing wide from outside the area, but ultimately neither side was able to further affect the scores and the game ended with Rovers winning by two-goals-to-nil, bringing the Saddlers unbeaten run to an end.

FT
WFC
0-2
FGR
 
 
Stevens (15')
Young (88')
REFEREE
Tom Reeves
ATT / AT
1,778 - Banks's Stadium
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