Match Report: Blackburn Rovers 4 Walsall 3 Match Report: Blackburn Rovers 4 Walsall 3

Match Report: Blackburn Rovers 4 Walsall 3

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' Carabao Cup - Round One clash with Blackburn Rovers.
Walsall were back in action on Tuesday evening as they made the trip to Ewood Park where they took on Blackburn Rovers in Round One of the Carabao Cup.

Looking to bounce back from their opening-day league defeat to Morecambe, the Saddlers were faced with Championship opposition, and something of a tough task as they hope to put an end to any potential losing streak in the early stages.

The match got off to a slow start, with little to report during the opening ten minutes, although Blackburn Rovers did win a corner seven minutes into the contest, as Donervon Daniels turned the ball out of play, but nothing would come of the set-piece.

The hosts sought to test the Walsall defences again in the eleventh minute, as Adam Wharton looked to play in Callum Brittain, but Oisin McEntee was well positioned and headed clear, although the Blackburn defender was adjudged to have been offside anyway so any resulting goal would not have stood.

Walsall were soon on the attack themselves, with Joe Riley combining well with Ross Tierney, whose low cross intended for Douglas James-Taylor was gathered by Rovers 'keeper, Joe Hilton.

The Saddlers felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the sixteenth minute, as Riley played Tierney through, with Hilton appearing to fell the Motherwell loanee, but the referee was unmoved by the visitors' appeals and waved play on.

The visiting side continued to enjoy a bright spell, winning a corner in the nineteenth minute, as Scott Wharton turned the ball out of play. Tierney swung the ball into the area from the flag-kick, with McEntee rising highest to head home and gift his side a one-goal lead.

The lead, however, was short-lived, as just two minutes later, Blackburn equalised as Ryan Hedges played in Zak Gilsenan, who fired home from close range.

Walsall looked to respond quickly, winning a corner in the twenty-third minute, as Jake Garrett put the ball behind, however, the visitors were unable to make the opportunity count, and the hosts won a corner at the other end moments later, although nothing would come of that either as the ball eventually fell to Niall Ennis, whose effort from close range was well saved by Saddlers shot-stopper, Jackson Smith.

There was a brief halt to proceedings as we reached the half-hour mark, allowing Gilsenan to receive treatment for a knock, but he was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

Tierney restored the Saddlers, albeit brief, earlier advantage in the thirty-seventh minute, as he got on the end of a Joe Foulkes cross and fired home from the centre of the box.

Once again, Walsall's lead was short-lived, as just three minutes after Tierney's effort found the back of the net, Ennis hit the target from similar distance to restore parity.

Walsall sought a third goal before the break, with Tierney and Foulkes combined well in the forty-fourth minute before the former ultimately saw an effort blocked before the loose ball fell kindly for Taylor Allen who also saw a strike blocked.

The hosts were quick to work the ball up to the other end, where Gilsenan played in Brittain, but the defenders shot from outside the area was also prevented from finding the target by a well-placed defender.

Five 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 the scores level at the break.

HALF-TIME
BLACKBURN 2-2 WALSALL

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and the action got back underway. Just five minutes into the second-half, Blackburn took the lead for the first time in the match, as John Buckley played the ball into the area for Jake Garrett, who fired home from the centre of the area.

Walsall looked to respond quickly to falling a goal behind, with James-Taylor playing in Allen in the fifty-third minute, however, the defenders low struck effort was comfortably saved by Hilton.

Allen was involved again seconds later, as he looked to play in Ryan Stirk, whose shot from the centre of the box was also saved.

With fifty-eight minutes on the clock, Blackburn opted to make their first changes of the evening, with Jake Batty and Sam Barnes making way for Harry Pickering and Dominic Hyam.

The hosts almost extended their lead in the sixty-first minute, as Gilsenan played the ball into the area for Ennis, but the striker was unable to find the target as he fired wide.

Rovers had more luck six minutes later, as Gilsenan played in Buckley, who fired a right-footed effort past Smith to all but put the game to bed.

Walsall responded to the goal with a double change, their first of the evening, in the sixty-ninth minute. Douglas James-Taylor and Chris Hussey making way for Danny Johnson and Aramide Oteh.

The hosts also took the opportunity to make a change, with Niall Ennis departing in favour of Harry Leonard.

The Walsall substitutes attempted to make an immediate impact, with Oteh playing Tierney in in the seventy-second minute, with Ross seeing an effort on goal denied by Hilton, moments before Johnson fired an effort over the crossbar.

That would be Ross Tierney's final contribution of the evening, as he was replaced by Isaac Hutchinson in the seventy-fourth minute.

Three minutes later, another Walsall change followed, as Joe Riley made way for Ronan Maher.

Danny Johnson became the first player to be shown the yellow card, as he was cautioned for dissent in the eighty-first minute.

The Saddlers looked to reduce the deficit in the eighty-third minute, with Oteh firing only narrowly wide of the upright from some distance, and just one minute later, they successfully reduced Blackburn's lead to one, as Maher collected the ball on the edge of the area and picked out the top corner with the help of a slight deflection.

With eighty-eight minutes on the clock, Rovers opted to make their final changes of the evening, with Adam Wharton and Zak Gilsenan making way for Sondre Tronstad and Dilan Markanday.

Eight additional minutes were added to end the game. The Saddlers were presented with an opportunity to level the scores halfway through those added minutes, but Hutchinson's effort from outside the box sailed wide of the upright.

The hosts could have definitively put the game to bed seven minutes into added time, as Leonard lost control of the ball on the edge of the box, with Hedges collecting the loose ball, but Smith was alert to the danger and made the save to deny him.

There was little further action of note, however, and the match was brought to it's conclusion with Blackburn winning by four-goals-to-three. A disappointing final result for Walsall, who exit the Carabao Cup at the first time of asking.

FULL-TIME
BLACKBURN 4-3 WALSALL
GILSENAN (21')
ENNIS (40')
GARRETT (50')
BUCKLEY (67')
McENTEE (19')
TIERNEY (37')
MAHER (84')

AT EWOOD PARK
REFEREE BENJAMIN SPEEDIE
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