Match Report: Walsall 1 Tranmere Rovers 0 Match Report: Walsall 1 Tranmere Rovers 0

Match Report: Walsall 1 Tranmere Rovers 0

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Tranmere Rovers.
Walsall were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they took on fellow strugglers Tranmere Rovers in their latest outing of the 2023/24 League Two campaign.

Looking to build upon last weekend's win over title-chasing Notts County, the Saddlers had an opportunity to add to their advantage over teams in the relegation zone.

Tranmere began the game brightly, seeing plenty of the early ball, before Donervon Daniels gave the ball to them cheaply in the sixth minute, allowing the visiting side to launch a promising attack, though the move was ultimately thwarted by Daniels who did well to get back to clear the danger.

Walsall grew into the game as it continued, and created their first chance of the afternoon, just ten minutes in, as Tom Knowles collected a loose ball thirty yards from goal and fired a low shot goal-wards, though he was unable to find the target as his effort was blocked.

The Saddlers continued to test their opposition defences, with Isaac Hutchinson and Brandon Comley combining in the twelfth minute to work the ball back to Knowles, but the number ten was unable to beat the Tranmere backline, who managed to scramble the ball clear.

The hosts went on to win the first corner of the match just two minutes later, as Connor Wood deflected the ball behind. Ryan Stirk crossed a dangerous looking ball in from the flag-kick, but Rovers shot-stopper, Luke McGee was alert to the danger and got a hand to the ball to keep it out, with the resulting corner coming to nothing as the 'keeper again made the save.

Walsall continued to press, with Priestley Farquarson combining with Comley to work the ball to Stirk in the twentieth minute, but the midfielders cross into the box was then headed wide.

Unperturbed, the hosts pressed again, with Knowles looking to play in Oisin McEntee in the twenty-third minute, but McGee was alert to the danger and got enough on the ball to turn the cross away from goal, allowing his teammates to clear the danger.

At the other end, David Okagbue gave the ball away in the twenty-fourth minute, allowing former Saddler, Kieron Morris to tee up Kristian Dennis, but Walsall shot-stopper, Jackson Smith denied the Tranmere man a goal.

Walsall could have opened the scoring twenty-eight minutes into the contest, as Liam Gordon saw a delivery into the box headed clear but only as far as his captain, who unmarked, fired wide from close range when he really should have scored.

Tranmere were presented with an opportunity to open the scoring at the other end five minutes later, as Morris found himself through on goal, but Smith managed to get one hand to the ball to prevent the goal.

The home side were quick to work the ball back up to the other end, where McEntee looked to play in Gordon whose effort on goal was well blocked by Lee O'Connor.

Daniels lost the ball to Robert Apter in the thirty-eighth minute, causing problems for his defences but the winger ultimately dragged his effort wide of the far post, with Dennis unable to get a touch on the ball to turn it home.

The hosts created one final chance to open the scoring, as the board was raised to indicate that one additional minute would be played, but Gordon's curling effort aimed at the top corner was well saved by McGee to ensure the sides would head off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

HALF-TIME
WALSALL 0-0 TRANMERE

Walsall opted to make a change to their line-up as the sides returned, with Isaac Hutchinson sitting out the second-half, as Jamille Matt took his place as the team got the action back underway.

Donervon Daniels became the first player to see yellow, as he was booked in the fiftieth minute following a foul on O'Connor.

The Saddlers created a chance to open the scoring in the fifty-third minute, as Matt worked the ball out wide to Stirk, but the midfielder was unable to make the most of the opportunity as he fired high over the crossbar.

Walsall went on to win a free-kick on the edge of the area just three minutes later, as Knowles was fouled by Morris. Stirk took aim, but McGee made light work of the save to deny him.

Comley won another free-kick for his side in the sixty-first minute, which Stirk floated towards the back post, where Farquarson was waiting to head home, but a foul on Wood ensured nothing would come of the opportunity.

Walsall finally found the breakthrough in the sixty-fourth minute, as Daniels picked out Matt with a cross from inside his own half, sending the striker racing away to open the scoring as he beat the onrushing McGee.

The visiting side looked to respond quickly, with Apter finding space to shoot from just outside the area in the sixty-sixth minute, but Smith was alert to the danger and got down well to get a hand to it and clear.

Oisin McEntee became the second player to see his name added to the referee's notebook, as he was cautioned for a foul on Dennis in the sixty-ninth minute.

The hosts went close to doubling their advantage in the seventieth minute, as Freddie Draper played the ball out wide for Gordon, whose cross into the box found Stirk, but the midfielders headed effort sailed wide of the target.

Brandon Comley picked up the third yellow card of the match in the seventy-third minute, as he was cautioned following a foul on Apter.

Tranmere opted to make their first substitutions of the afternoon in the seventy-sixth minute, as Lee O'Connor and Kristian Dennis made way for Dan Pike and Harvey Saunders.

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

In the eighty-first minute, Rovers chose to make a third change to their line-up, with Brad Walker departing in favour of Reece McAlear.

Jamille Matt became the fourth Saddler to see yellow, as he was cautioned following a foul on the Tranmere 'keeper in the eighty-third minute.

Jean Belehouan was shown Tranmere's first card of the game in the eighty-fourth minute, as he was added to the referee's notebook following a foul on Draper.

With eighty-seven minutes on the clock, Tranmere chose to make their final two changes of the afternoon, with Connor Wood and Robert Apter making way for James Norris and Josh Hawkes.

The visiting side went close to levelling the scores moments after the changes were completed, as the recently introduced Hawkes worked the ball to Connor Jennings, but the Tranmere captain was unable to beat Smith, who got down well to make the save.

As we reached the ninetieth minute, a change in official was called for, as it became apparent that referee Alan Young would be unable to continue, with fourth official, Daniel Flynn taking his place.

Eight additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time, Tranmere won a free-kick in a dangerous position, which McAlear played into the area, only to see the ball headed clear, before the visiting side regained possession allowing Hawkes a shot on goal, though Matt was on hand to ensure the Saddlers remained ahead.

Tranmere went on to win a corner ten minutes into added time, which Saunders looked to fire home, only to see the ball deflected into the hands of Smith.

Unperturbed, the visiting side continued to seek a late goal, but Morris was unable to find the target with his late strike, and the match was eventually brought to it's conclusion with Walsall winning by one-goal-to-nil.

FULL-TIME
WALSALL 1-0 TRANMERE
MATT (64')
AT POUNDLAND BESCOT STADIUM
REFEREE ALAN YOUNG
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