Spoils Shared as Walsall & Rochdale Remember Wayne Evans Spoils Shared as Walsall & Rochdale Remember Wayne Evans
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Spoils Shared as Walsall & Rochdale Remember Wayne Evans

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' pre-season meeting with Rochdale.
Mat Sadler's Walsall welcomed Rochdale to Poundland Bescot Stadium on Friday evening as both clubs paid tribute to former Saddlers and Dale defender Wayne Evans, who recently passed away at the age of 51.

After a minute of applause in memory of Wayne Evans, as former Saddler, Devante Rodney got the match underway. Rochdale began the encounter brightly, seeing much of the early possession, with Mikey Afuye winning a corner for his team just three minutes in, as Brandon Comley turned his early shot behind.

The flag-kick was swung into the area by Adam Clayton with the ball falling to Afuye, who saw another effort on goal turned behind. The second corner kick came to nothing as Walsall were able to clear Tyrese Sinclair's ball in.

The visiting side continued to press, with Sinclair seeing an effort on goal blocked in the eighth minute, after Harvey Gilmour combined well with Rodney to create the opening.

Walsall created their first chance of the game shortly after that, as Isaac Hutchinson found himself in space to shoot, but Clayton was on hand for the visitors to ensure the scores remained tied.

Rochdale were soon back on the attack, with Afuye playing in Kairo Mitchell, whose effort on goal was deflected wide of the post. The resulting corner saw Liam Gordon clear a Mitchell header off the line, to spare his side falling behind.

Walsall won a corner themselves, in the twenty-first minute, as Gilmour turned the ball behind, but nothing would come of the opportunity, as Donervon Daniels headed over the crossbar.

Rochdale took the lead, twenty-seven minutes into the contest, as Sinclair and Mitchell combined to work the ball to Rodney, who struck the ball sweetly and found the bottom corner of A.Trialists' goal.

The Saddlers responded by winning a corner, as Hutchinson's twenty-yard effort was turned behind by George Nevett, in the thirty-second minute. The flag-kick was played short, but ultimately nothing would come of the opportunity, as Dale 'keeper, Louie Moulden gathered the cross.

Back at the other end, just one minute later, the visiting side won a corner themselves, as Jimmy Keohane forced Trialist A into a save, with the Walsall shot-stopper tipping the ball over the bar. Nothing would come of the flag-kick though, and the Walsall hopeful continued to impress as he denied an acrobatic effort from Sinclair.

Walsall's Jamille Matt looked to test the Dale 'keeper in the thirty-eighth minute, as he got on the end of a good ball into the box, but Moulden was alert to the danger and made the save.

Rochdale sought to test Walsall's trialist 'keeper again as the game entered the closing stages of the first-half, with Sinclair firing goal-wards from distance, but the man between the sticks got to the ball and turned it behind.

The hosts saw one final chance to level the scores go begging moments before the break, as Douglas James-Taylor played in Hutchinson, but Moulden was able to make the save to keep his side ahead as the teams headed into the break.


The teams returned unchanged following the break, and Walsall got the action back underway. The Saddlers began the second-half brightly, with Gordon crossing the ball in towards the back post, in the fiftieth minute, but the ball clipped the heel of Matt and deflected away from goal.

The hosts continued to enjoy a bright spell, as they won a corner in the fifty-third minute, which Chris Hussey played towards the back post, where Daniels was waiting, but the Walsall captain headed over.

The game settled a little as it continued, and with sixty-two minutes on the clock, Walsall opted to make the first changes of the evening, with Liam Gordon, Brandon Comley and Douglas James-Taylor all making way, as Freddie Draper, Taylor Allen and Ryan Stirk were introduced in their place.

Draper looked to make an immediate impact, as just one minute after his introduction into the game, he found himself in possession of the ball, with just the 'keeper to beat, but a well timed tackle from Cameron John ensured Freddie would not get the shot away, with the resulting corner coming to nothing as Allen's effort deflected wide.

Rochdale opted to make their first change of the evening, sixty-nine minutes in, with Adam Clayton making way for Cody Johnson.

The hosts continued to seek to restore parity, with Allen firing an effort narrowly over the crossbar twenty minutes from time, moments before Draper played in Hutchinson at the back post, with Moulden able to scramble across goal to make the save.

Unperturbed, the Saddlers continued to seek to create chances to level the scores, with Matt heading wide in the seventy-first minute.

Rochdale made two further changes to their line-up in the seventy-second minute, with Jimmy Keohane and Devante Rodney making way for Kwaku Oduroh and Ian Henderson.

Walsall's persistence was finally rewarded in the seventy-sixth minute, as Hutchinson picked up the ball twenty-five yards out and fired an effort into the top corner to level the scores.

The Saddlers took the opportunity to make further changes to their line-up, with Priestley Farquharson, Tom Knowles, Joe Riley and Jamille Matt being replaced by Ronan Maher, Andy Williams, Joe Foulkes and Oisin McEntee.

Rochdale followed suit two minutes later, with Mikey Afuye and Ethan Ebanks-Landell departing in favour of Oscar Kelly and Max Taylor.

The hosts won a corner in the eighty-second minute, which Hussey played short, before Stirk crossed the ball into the danger area, where Williams glanced a headed effort narrowly wide.

Three minutes from time, the visiting side opted to make two further changes, with Kairo Mitchell and Harvey Gilmour being replaced by Darren Ehimamiegho and Trialist.

There was little further action of note, and the game ended in a draw, with both sides having secured one goal against their opposition. A good run out for the team as they look to continue building towards the upcoming campaign.

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