This weekend, as Rovers return to the comforts of home, goals should be on the menu as we face a side with whom we have only shared a goalless game twice in 55 outings.
Walsall make the trip from the Midlands and will be hoping that Brian Flynn’s men don’t replicate the stunning 3-0 victory at the Bank’s Stadium at the start of this season. But Rovers fans would also be happy with a repeat of the game back in September 2004 when Dave Penney’s side welcomed the Saddlers and their manager Paul Merson to Belle Vue.
It was the first meeting between the two sides in almost ten years in South Yorkshire, the home side being newcomers to the third tier following promotion the previous season. Arguably some may have thought that the side from the Midlands would take the spoils but they couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Rovers took control of the game in the 20th minute as Nick Fenton slotted home past Mark Paston in the Walsall goal before Michael McIndoe was given the chance to double that lead just over ten minutes later. Neil Emblen was adjudged to have handled in the box, however, Paston made a fine save from the spot kick to send the visitors in at half time just one goal behind.
In fact, if it wasn’t for the Saddlers ‘keeper the score could have been much worse. McIndoe made up for his penalty miss in the 50th minute. Walsall thought they had found a way back into the game but Jorge Laitao was flagged offside.
Matty Fryatt did halve the deficit when he found himself in the right place to pull a goal back with little under 20 minutes to go. The visitors pressed for an equaliser but found the Rovers defence in no mood to surrender their lead. With a couple of minutes left on the clock, Gregg Blundell was there to seal the deal for the home side.