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Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 0 Walsall 2

2 December 2022

Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 0 Walsall 2

2 December 2022

Two second-half goals from Walsall sent Rovers to defeat on Friday night at the Eco-Power Stadium.

Tom Knowles and Danny Johnson both found the net to hand the Saddlers all three points.

Rovers returned to home soil for the first time in a month looking to bounce back from the disappointing 3-0 defeat to Colchester United two weeks ago in Sky Bet League Two.

Rovers made three changes to the side that lost to Colchester with Adam Clayton returning to the starting XI and taking the captain’s armband. Tommy Rowe returned from his injury to slot into the backline with Tom Anderson and Ro-Shaun Williams while Max Woltman and Harrison Biggins supported George Miller up top.

The match started off as a cagey affair with both sides exchanging possession in the middle of the pitch and having no exposure on either goal. 

From the 20-minute mark Rovers had an impressive 10 minute spell where they retained the ball well and got into advanced positions but struggled to force Owen Evans into any saves.

Only one Walsall player caused Rovers any real problems and that was frontman Tom Knowles. He forced Jonathan Mitchell into one save in the first-half from a low long range effort, but it was an easy stop for the Rovers number one. 

With neither side mustering any serious chances the game remained goalless at the interval. 

Rovers came out in the second-half looking like the side most likely to score with an off-target header from Tom Anderson and half chances on goal from Kyle Knoyle and Ben Close.

But Rovers were dealt a blow as Walsall hit Danny Schofield’s side on the counter and a low crossed ball from Isaac Hutchinson found Knowles who slotted past Mitchell. 10 minutes after giving his side the lead, Knowles was substituted through injury with Douglas James-Taylor replacing him.

A fantastic chance came Rovers’ way to equalise three minutes after going behind when Max Woltman played a fantastic ball into the feet of Harrison Biggins, who was in the centre of the box, but Biggins’ effort was off target. 

From that point onwards Walsall took control and in the 71st minute they doubled their lead. A mistake invited Danny Johnson to go one-on-one with Mitchell and the Saddlers’ top-scorer went round the keeper to double the visitors’ lead.

Their second goal brought about Danny Schofield’s first change of the evening with Kyle Hurst replacing Close. Jon Taylor and Kieran Agard quickly followed off the bench at the expense of James Maxwell and Woltman.

Chances came for Rovers’ substitutes but they struggled to put their efforts away with the most notable one coming for Agard. He scooped an effort over the bar after Owen Evans saved from Biggins. 

The final chance for Rovers saw Clayton hit the inside of the post directly from a long range free-kick but it wasn’t meant to be for Schofield’s side as Walsall hung onto their lead and the cleansheet to head back to the Midlands with three points.

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