Match Report: Walsall 1 Forest Green Rovers 1 Match Report: Walsall 1 Forest Green Rovers 1
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Walsall 1 Forest Green Rovers 1

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' EFL Trophy clash with Forest Green Rovers.
After suffering a disappointing four-nil defeat to Sutton United at the weekend, the Saddlers' attentions turned to a midweek EFL Trophy clash at home to Forest Green Rovers. 

With the tournament now a shell of its former self, the match served as nothing more than a distraction from the task in hand - rebounding from the aforementioned reverse by struggling Sutton.

The visitors began the game brightly, as the ball was fed to Callum Morton, who found space to fire an effort goal-wards, forcing Joe Foulkes to get back and clear the ball off the line just one minute into the contest.

The visiting side continued to press, with Morton crossing the ball into the area in the fourth minute, but Saddlers shot-stopper, Jackson Smith was alert to the danger and made the save.

Rovers 'keeper, Jamie Searle was called into action at the other in in the seventh minute, as Isaac Hutchinson worked the ball to Ross Tierney, whose effort was easily saved.

Walsall continued to enjoy a brighter spell, with Foulkes crossing the ball into the box for Douglas James-Taylor in the thirteenth minute, but the striker was unable to find the target with his headed effort.

The visiting side were soon on the attack again, with Morton picking up the ball from Teddy Jenkins in the eighteenth minute, but the strikers' effort on goal sailed wide of the mark.

Things settled a little as they continued, but twenty-six minutes into the contest, the visiting side created another chance to open the scoring, as some nice teamwork eventually saw the ball fall to Tyrese Omotoye, who fired a promising effort goal-wards, forcing another good save from Smith.

Former Saddler, Jacob Maddox became the first player to see yellow, as he was cautioned following a foul on Ryan Stirk, in the twenty-ninth minute.

Things settled again as play continued, with both sides struggling to create much to trouble their opposition defences, but after a good spell of possession, the Saddlers did create a chance to open the scoring in the thirty-eighth minute, as the ball was worked to Harvey Griffiths, whose effort from distance ultimately failed to test Searle, as the ball sailed wide of the upright.

Walsall continued to press, with Foulkes crossing the ball in for Tierney in the forty-second minute, but Ross' headed effort failed to find the target.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time Hutchinson found himself in position to shoot, but Searle was alert to the danger and got down well to make the save. There was little further action of note, and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.


Forest Green opted to make a double change as the sides returned, with Matty Taylor and Jacob Maddox sitting out the second-half, as Callum Morton and Harvey Bunker took their places.

Reece Welch became the second player to see yellow, within one minute of the action resuming, as he was cautioned for a foul.

With fifty-one minutes on the clock, Rovers found the breakthrough, as Jenks delivered a low cross into the box for Omotoye, who beat Oisin McEntee to the ball and fired a low effort past Smith to open the scoring.

Six minutes later, Walsall were gifted an opportunity to level the scores, as Tom Knowles was felled inside the area by Welch. Ross Tierney stepped forth to take the spot-kick, but Searle went the right way and got a hand to the ball to deny the hosts a leveller.

That would be Reece Welch's final contribution of the evening, as he was replaced by Dominic Bernard in the sixty-first minute.

Three minutes later, Walsall chose to make a double change to their line-up, as Ross Tierney and Harvey Griffiths were replaced by Danny Johnson and Brandon Comley.

Walsall restored parity in the sixty-seventh minute, as Knowles and Johnson combined well to work the ball to Hutchinson, who struck the ball well from the edge of the area and found the target.

The hosts soon had a chance to take the lead, after winning a corner, which was taken short, with the ball eventually falling to Knowles who cut inside and fired an effort goal-wards, but the effort had too much height on it and cleared the crossbar.

The Saddlers continued to press, with Stirk creating space for himself to fire an effort in on goal from the edge of the area in the seventy-eighth minute, but his deflected shot was well saved by Searle to keep the scores level.

Forest Green chose to make a fourth substitution in the eighty-second minute, with Tyrese Omotoye making way for Sean Robertson.

After a quiet final ten minutes, the board went up to indicate that six more would be added to end the match. Walsall were presented with an opportunity to secure victory in the ninety-third minute, as they were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position, but Knowles delivery was poor and the ball went out for a goal kick.

Unperturbed, the Saddlers continued to seek a late winner, with Hutchinson working the ball to Knowles in a good position, five minutes into those added, but the midfielder was unable to find the target with a strike that sailed over the crossbar.

Marcel Lavinier received a yellow card, six minutes into those added, as he was cautioned following a foul on James-Taylor.

There was little further action of note, and the game was brought to it's conclusion with the scores still level, forcing the teams to enter into a penalty shoot-out to determine who would receive a bonus point.

Ultimately Forest Green would take the bonus point, as Mathew Stevens, Taylor, Robson, and Bunker all scored their penalties, whilst only James-Taylor and McEntee converted for the Saddlers, whilst both Stirk and Johnson saw their strikes saved.

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