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Match Report: Walsall 0 Rochdale 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League Two clash between the Saddlers and Rochdale.
Arriving at the match on the back of a duo of defeats, Walsall were looking to get back to winning ways as they welcomed Rochdale to the Black Country.

The teams took some time to settle into the game, though Tyrese Shade did see an early effort blocked by Max Taylor just three minutes in, and five minutes later, at the other end, Rochdale's Jimmy Keohane attempted to pick out Liam Kelly with a cross towards the back post, but the midfielder was unable to connect with it and nothing came of the opportunity.

There was little further action of note during the following ten minutes, as the game settled into something of a midfield battle, with neither side able to create much forward momentum.

With nineteen minutes on the clock, Walsall looked to have scored, as Conor Wilkinson playing George Miller in, but Rochdale shot-stopper, Jay Lynch was well placed to make the save, with Walsall captain, Joss Labadie seeing an effort cleared off the line from the rebound.

Rochdale saw much of the ball as the game continued, and went close to an opener themselves, twenty-eight minutes into the contest, as captain, Eoghan O'Connell played the ball to Kelly, who in turn picked out Keohane at the back post, but the midfielders' header back across goal was cleared by the Walsall defences and the scores remained level.

Back at the other end, moments later, Jack Earing and Emmanuel Osadebe both saw efforts blocked, before Miller again called Lynch into action, with the goalkeeper making a fine save to deny the Walsall man.

The Saddlers continued to show signs of promise, with Shade picking up a loose ball, thirty yards from goal, in the thirty-fourth minute, but his effort on goal sailed wide of the target.

Josh Andrews became the first player to see yellow, as he was cautioned in the thirty-seventh minute, for a foul on Labadie, which left the Walsall man seemingly in a lot of pain, though after receiving treatment, he was able to continue.

Three minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to find a breakthrough, with Kelly firing wide for the visitors before Wilkinson sent an effort sailing high over the crossbar at the other end, and the sides eventually headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

HT
WFC
0-0
RAFC
 
Rochdale opted to make their first change of the afternoon as the sides returned, with Aaron Morley sitting out the second-half, as Stephen Dooley took his place.

The second-half got off to a relatively slow start, with both sides again taking their time to settle into the game.

With fifty-one minutes on the clock, Jeriel Dorsett was cautioned following a foul on Labadie, and just three minutes later, Manny Monthe joined him on a yellow card, as he too saw his name added to the referee's notebook, after he kicked the ball away after fouling Andrews.

The visiting side began show signs of promise, with Dooley and Kelly both seeing shots blocked from the edge of the area in the fifty-sixth minute.

An hour into the contest, Miller saw an effort deflected behind by O'Connell for a corner, which O'Connell and Kelly combined to clear behind for a second Walsall flag-kick, which Dooley and Dorsett cleared to keep the score tied.

Two minutes later, with the ball back at the other end, Dooley looked to play in Kelly, whose low effort was saved by Walsall shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth, who did well to get down and hold the ball.

With sixty-three minutes on the clock, Walsall chose to make their first change of the afternoon, with Tyrese Shade making way for Kieran Phillips.

The Saddlers began to show more signs of promise as the game wore on, with Wilkinson knocking the ball into the path of Labadie in the sixty-fourth minute, but the captain had a little too much to do and his volley sailed over the crossbar without troubling the man between the sticks.

Rochdale were quick to work the ball back up to the other end, with Corey O'Keeffe and Jake Beesley combining well to create an opportunity for the midfielder to open the scoring, but his effort on goal failed to test Rushworth as it sailed inches over the crossbar.

The visiting side continued to press, with Andrews playing in O'Keefe in the sixty-seventh minute, but the midfielder could only rattle the crossbar with his effort on goal.

The Saddlers defences continued to work hard, preventing O'Keeffe from finding the target again in the sixty-ninth minute, as Monthe blocked another Dale shot, before the resulting corner was headed behind by Beesley.

Walsall were presented with a chance to open the scoring at the other end, moments later, but a Phillips headed effort from the centre of the box was easily saved.

With seventy-four minutes on the clock, Rochdale opted to make a second change to their line-up, with Josh Andrews making way for Abraham Odoh. Walsall also took the opportunity to introduce a second substitute, as Emmanuel Osadebe was replaced by Brendan Kiernan.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with neither side really troubling their opposition defences, until, eighty-two minutes in, the ball fell to Earing on the edge of the area, but Lynch was alert to the danger and punched the effort clear.

Four minutes from time, Rochdale opted to make their third and final change of the game, as Alex Newby was replaced by Conor Grant for the final few minutes.

As we reached the ninetieth minute, Walsall also made their final substitution of the game, with Jack Earing departing as Liam Kinsella took his place.

Three additional minutes were added to end the game, but neither side was able to find the breakthrough, and the game ended with the scores still tied.

FT
WFC
0-0
RAFC

 
REFEREE
Sam Purkiss
AT / ATT
6,144 (358) - Banks's Stadium
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