Match Report: Walsall 1 Tranmere Rovers 0 Match Report: Walsall 1 Tranmere Rovers 0
By: Bescot Banter •

Match Report: Walsall 1 Tranmere Rovers 0

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with title-chasing Tranmere Rovers.
After Head Coach Matthew Taylor was dismissed in midweek, the manager-less Saddlers played host to second-placed Tranmere on Saturday afternoon as interim manager's Neil McDonald and Mat Sadler looked to reverse a run of dismal form.

The match got off to a slow start, with both sides taking time to settle in, with little early action of note, though Calum MacDonald did require treatment for a knock in the fifth minute, as Tyrese Shade caught him with an accidental boot to the face, but he was soon able to continue.

With thirteen minutes on the clock, Tranmere Rovers won the first corner of the game, as Manny Monthe turned the ball out of play, but the visiting side were unable to make use of the opportunity, as Tom Davies failed to control the ball to get a shot away.

Both teams continued to struggle to create any chances of note as the match continued, though twenty minutes in, Walsall were awarded a free-kick in a promising position, as Liam Kinsella was fouled by Lee O'Connor, however the opportunity went begging as Donervon Daniels headed wide.

Liam Kinsella became the first player to see his name noted by the referee, in the twenty-fourth minute, as he received his fourth caution of the season for a foul on Charlie Jolley.

From the resulting free-kick, Tranmere won a corner, which was swung into the box for Kane Hemmings, but the strikers' effort failed to test Walsall shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth as it sailed high and wide.

George Miller joined Kinsella in the referee's notebook in the twenty-eighth minute, as he was shown the yellow card for the second time this season, for a foul on Davies.

Rovers continued to press, as they sought an opening goal, but they struggled to break through the Saddlers defences, with their best opportunity resulting in a corner in the thirty-fifth minute, as Daniels turned the ball out of play to prevent Josh Hawkes crossing the ball into the danger zone. However, nothing would come of the flag-kick.

Two minutes later, Hawkes was presented with a chance to shoot himself, but his low, long-range effort sailed well wide of the mark.

Walsall created one last opportunity to open the scoring before the break in the forty-fourth minute, but Conor Wilkinson's effort from the centre of the box sailed wide, and after two uneventful additional minutes were played, the teams trudged off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and the action got back underway. Just two minutes into the second-half, Lewis Warrington became the first Rovers player to be cautioned, as he picked up a yellow card for a sliding tackle on Hayden White.

With forty-nine minutes on the clock, Tranmere won a corner kick, which was swung in from the left, but easily headed away by Daniels, before another flag-kick was won three minutes later, which the Saddlers were also able to clear.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the fifty-second minute, whilst Donervon Daniels received treatment following a clash of heads, but he was eventually able to re-join the action as play resumed.

Tranmere continued to look the brighter of the two sides as the second-half continued, though they struggled to create much to really test the Walsall defences.

Possibly their best chance coming in the fifty-seventh minute, as Hemmings picked out Charlie Jolley in space, but after working his way into the box, the striker failed to test Rushworth with an effort which sailed high over the crossbar.

Walsall were quick to work the ball up to the other end following that opening, winning a corner for their troubles as Peter Clarke was forced to turn the ball out of play. However, nothing would come of the flag-kick as Wilkinson's headed effort was tipped behind by Rovers shot-stopper, Ross Doohan, with that corner kick also amounting to nothing as Tranmere came away with the free-kick.

With sixty-one minutes on the clock, Tranmere opted to make a double change to their line-up, as they looked to liven things up; Charlie Jolley and Josh Hawkes the two men to make way, as Elliott Nevitt and Josh McPake took their places.

Four minutes after the change, the Saddlers were presented with a chance to open the scoring as Davies turned the ball out of play, gifting them another corner kick, but nothing would come of the opportunity as the ball fell to Brendan Kiernan, whose effort from outside the box flew over the crossbar.

Rovers soon had the ball back at the other end, where a cross from Hemmings picked out O'Connor in good position, but the midfielders effort on goal was well saved by Rushworth. Unperturbed, the visiting side continued to press, with Nevitt seeing an effort blocked, seventy-one minutes in.

There was another pause in proceedings in the seventy-sixth minute, as Sam Perry received treatment. However, it was soon determined that he would be unable to continue, and Jack Earing took his place.

The visiting side also took the opportunity to make a change to their team, with Lewis Warrington departing in favour of Sam Foley.

With just five minutes of the game remaining, Walsall were awarded a penalty, as Clarke felled Wilkinson inside the area. Conor stepped forth to take the spot-kick, and duly converted, gifting his side a one-goal lead, and sending the Saddlers faithful into raptures.

The Walsall bench responded to going a goal to the good, by making their second change of the afternoon, with George Miller making way for Emmanuel Osadebe in the eighty-sixth minute.

Tranmere looked to get back on level terms, working the ball up to the other end quickly, but Davies eighty-seventh minute effort was blocked inside the box.

A third, and final, substitution followed for the Saddlers, in the eighty-ninth minute, as the bench opted to replace Tyrese Shade with Rollin Menayese for the final few moments of the match.

Five additional minutes were added to end the game, but there was little further action of note, as the Saddlers held on firmly to their one-goal lead to win their first game after putting together a string of seven defeats. A bit of good fortune falling Walsall's way for a change.

Wilkinson [P] (85')
Sam Allison
5,440 (1,441) - Banks's Stadium
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