Match Report: Bristol Rovers 1 Walsall 0 Match Report: Bristol Rovers 1 Walsall 0
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Bristol Rovers 1 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League Two meeting between the Saddlers and Bristol Rovers.
Arriving at the match in the back of a run of four consecutive defeats, Matthew Taylor's Saddlers were desperate to return to winning ways as they made the trip to the Memorial Stadium to take on the Pirates.

The match got off to a fairly quiet start, with both sides enjoying early spells on the ball, whilst not really threatening their opposition defences. However, five minutes into the contest, an altercation on the touchline lead to both Hayden White and Bristol Rovers manager, Joey Barton seeing yellow.

Rovers created the first attempt on goal in the seventh minute, as Luke Thomas picked out Antony Evans with a throw, before the ball was crossed into the area for Aaron Collins, whose shot ultimately failed to test Walsall shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth as it sailed harmlessly wide of the upright.

Walsall saw more of the ball as the game continued, but it was Bristol who almost opened the scoring in the seventeenth minute, as Thomas fired an effort goal-wards which Rushworth got a hand to but was unable to gather, before the shot-stopper regained control as the ball neared the line.

Rushworth was again called into action in the twentieth minute, as Thomas played Collins in, but the man between the sticks was equal to his effort and held well.

The hosts continued to test the Saddlers defences, as the visiting strike force struggled to get a look in, though Walsall did win a corner in the twenty-seventh minute, which, unfortunately, came to nothing.

With thirty-four minutes on the clock, Conor Wilkinson became the third person to be shown the yellow card, as he picked up a caution for a foul on James Connolly. He was swiftly followed into the book by Luca Hoole, who saw yellow for his reaction to the incident.

Four minutes later, Luca Hoole was given his marching orders as he picked up his second yellow card of the game for a foul on Wilkinson.

The game settled a little after the sending off, with little further action of note, aside from a Rovers free-kick being easily gathered by Rushworth in the forty-second minute.

Two minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to make them count, and the teams headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with the scores tied.

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and the action got back underway. Walsall began the half brightly, winning a corner just four minutes in, as Connolly was forced to turn the ball out of play.
Reece Devine's cross in from the flag-kick found Donervon Daniels, but the defenders header goal-wards had too much height on it and cleared the crossbar without causing undue concern to Rovers goalkeeper, James Belshaw.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying spells on the ball without troubling their opposition defences, however, fifty-four minutes in, Thomas picked out Josh Grant with a throw-in, with the latter then firing an effort goal-wards, though he was unable to find the target.

With fifty-seven minutes on the clock, Paul Coutts joined those already listed in the referee's notebook, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Joss Labadie.

Walsall were presented with an opportunity to open the scoring moments later, as a headed pass from Brendan Kiernan found Devine in space, but the debutant saw his effort blocked.

As we reached the hour mark, Walsall captain, Joss Labadie joined the growing ranks seeing their name taken by the referee, as he received a caution following a foul on Sam Nicholson.

Just three minutes later, Brendan Kiernan also saw his name jotted in the referee's notebook, as saw yellow for what the official deemed to be simulation following a tumble.

The Saddlers were presented with an opportunity to open the scoring in the sixty-fifth minute, as some good work from White saw Wilkinson with space to shoot, but former Walsall prospect, Belshaw ensured he would not find the target as he got down well to make the save.

With sixty-eight minutes on the clock, Walsall opted to make a double change to their line-up. Joss Labadie and Brendan Kiernan the two men to depart, as Emmanuel Osadebe and Tyrese Shade joined the fray.

Three minutes later, their hosts also chose to make a change, with Sam Nicholson making way for Harry Anderson.

Rovers looked the more likely of the two sides to find an opening as the game progressed, winning a corner in the seventy-second minute as Liam Kinsella was forced to block an effort from Thomas to ensure the scores remained tied. Fortunately for the Saddlers, the flag-kick came to nothing, as did the Evans effort on goal three minutes later, as Rushworth made the save to deny him.

The Saddlers found a route through on goal in the seventy-ninth minute, as Osadebe picked out George Miller with a neat cross, but the striker, who had had very little to do to this point, guided his header over the crossbar.

With eighty-two minutes on the clock, Rovers opted to make their second change of the afternoon, with Luke Thomas being replaced by Harvey Saunders for the run in.

Just two minutes later, the home side chose to make their third and final change of the game, as Joshua Grant made way for Glenn Whelan.

As we reached the ninetieth minute, Rovers found the breakthrough. A mix-up at the back between Daniels and Rushworth allowing Collins the space to head home a Saunders cross.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, during which time Walsall won a late corner as Miller saw an effort saved, however, nothing would come of the flag-kick and after a brief pause in proceedings whilst the Rovers shot-stopper received treatment for an injury to his knee, the game ended with Bristol.

Rovers winning by one-goal-to-nil, though not before Emmanuel Osadebe became the fifth Walsall player to see his name taken by the referee, as he received a caution for a foul on Coutts.

A thoroughly disappointing display from the Saddlers, who were a man to the good for fifty minute of the contest, but failed to capitalise.

Collins (90')
Keith Stroud
The Memorial Stadium
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