Match Report: Walsall 1 Rochdale 0 Match Report: Walsall 1 Rochdale 0

Match Report: Walsall 1 Rochdale 0

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Rochdale.
Walsall returned to action on Saturday afternoon as they welcomed Rochdale to Poundland Bescot Stadium for a Sky Bet League Two clash.

Looking to build upon their midweek drubbing of Harrogate Town, which saw them put three first-half goals past their visitors on the way to a 3-1 win, Michael Flynn's side were in confident mood heading into kick-off.

Following an impeccably observed minutes silence to remember the fallen, Walsall got the action underway.

The Saddlers saw plenty of the ball during the opening moments, but it was Rochdale who created the first chance on goal, as four minutes in, as former red, Devante Rodney fired an effort goal-wards from the edge of the area, but nothing would come of the opening as the ball sailed wide of the upright.

The game settled a little as it continued, but eleven minutes in, Walsall created their first chance of note, as Tom Knowles crossed the ball in for Liam Kinsella, whose shot from a tight angle was blocked.

Walsall continued to enjoy a bright spell, with Liam Gordon combining with Isaac Hutchinson in the fifteenth minute, to create another chance to open the scoring, but the latter's effort from the left of the box was blocked.

Rochdale had soon worked the ball up to the other end, where Rodney looked to set up Tyrese Sinclair, whose effort on goal was deflected over the crossbar, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

With nineteen minutes on the clock, an argument between Devante Rodney and Owen Evans saw both booked.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying time on the ball, without creating anything to test their opposition defences.

As we reached the half hour mark, Liam Bennett found himself in shooting range, but his low effort from outside the area was saved by Rochdale shot-stopper, Richard O'Donnell.

With thirty-five minutes on the clock, Walsall found the breakthrough, as Knowles and Manny Monthe combined to tee up Danny Johnson, whose effort on goal was blocked, with Hayden White turning the rebound home from close range.

Five minutes from time, Rochdale went close to levelling the scores,  as Liam Kelly fired goal-wards from inside the area, but his shot took a deflection on it's way through, allowing Evans to make the save.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but there was little further action of note and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with Walsall leading by one-goal-to-nil.

HALF-TIME SCORE
WALSALL 1-0 ROCHDALE

The teams returned unchanged following the break, and Rochdale got the action back underway. The visiting side began the second-half brightly, with Sinclair collecting the ball inside the area, before firing goal-wards, but his effort sailed well wide of the target.

Walsall had soon worked the ball up to the other end, where Gordon crossed the ball in for Knowles, who saw an effort from outside the box sail wide of the target.

Rochdale almost restored parity in the fifty-fourth minute, as Sinclair crossed the ball onto the head of Rodney, whose looping header from the right of the box was saved by Evans.

The visiting side continued to press, with Rodney looking to play in  Jimmy Keohane, two minutes later, but the defenders effort on goal was blocked.

Walsall won a corner as we reached the hour mark, as the ball was worked to Hutchinson, who saw his effort from the edge of the area blocked behind by Cameron John, but the flag-kick would come to nothing.

The Saddlers continued to press, with Knowles seeing an effort blocked just three minutes later, after some superb play from Jacob Maddox to work the ball to him.

With sixty-seven minutes on the clock, Rochdale opted to make a double change to their line-up, with Tyrese Sinclair and Toumani Diagouraga making way for Abraham Odoh  and Ethan Brierley.

Walsall opted to make their first change of the afternoon just three minutes later, as Danny Johnson was replaced by Andy Williams.

Rochdale went close in the seventy-third minute, as the recently introduced Odoh crossed the ball in for Kelly, whose effort on goal sailed inches wide of the near post.

Fifteen minutes from time, the Saddlers chose to make their second change of the afternoon, with Jacob Maddox making way for Brandon Comley.

With eighty-one minutes on the clock, Tom Knowles became the third player to see yellow as he was cautioned for time wasting. Just one minute later, Liam Bennett added to the tally of yellows as he too received a caution for time wasting.

The visiting side set about looking for a late equaliser, with Brierley seeing an effort sail wide in the eighty-third minute.

Three minutes later, Walsall chose to make two further changes to their team, with Liam Gordon and Tom Knowles making way for Taylor Allen and Douglas James-Taylor.

Rochdale continued to search for a late goal to restore parity, with Rodney curling an effort wide of the far post in the eighty-eighth minute, before Jimmy Ball fired wide moments later.

Five additional minutes were added to end the match, but there was little further action of note, and the game was brought to it's conclusion with Walsall taking all three points as they secured victory, winning by one-goal-to-nil.

FULL-TIME SCORE
WALSALL 1-0 ROCHDALE
WHITE (35') GOALSCORER
AT POUNDLAND BESCOT STADIUM
ATTENDANCE 5,050 (347 AWAY)
REFEREE TOM NIELD
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