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Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 2 Walsall 1

9 April 2024

Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 2 Walsall 1

9 April 2024

Rovers won a seventh straight game for the first time in 77 years as they edged past play-off chasing Walsall in a 2-1 triumph.

Goals from Joe Ironside and Hakeeb Adelakun saw Rovers through to the victory as the incredible second half of the season resurgence continued.

Isaac Hutchinson fired in a stoppage time free kick as Rovers conceded for the first time in more than eight hours.

Rovers were not as slick as they had been in recent matches but showed ruthlessness to take the victory and climb further into the top half of League Two.

Grant McCann made one change to the side that started at Morecambe four days earlier as Tommy Rowe came into the XI.

Walsall started much the more threatening and Jamille Matt tested the concentration of Thimothée Lo-Tutala two minutes in when he pounced on a mistake at the back and lashed a shot from the edge of the box which the keeper tipped wide.

Two goal line blocks in a matter of seconds from Joe Ironside prevented Walsall from taking the lead from the subsequent corner. Emmanuel Adegboyega turned the delivery onto the underside of the bar before Ironside blocked a header from Josh Gordon and threw himself in front of Matt’s effort close range effort from the rebound.

Rovers struggled for control of possession for much of the first half against strong attention from the visitors.

But they went close to taking the lead midway through the half when Luke Molyneux slid a pass into Ironside who swiped a volley narrowly wide on the turn.

Walsall continued to produce the better of the attacking play and the lively Isaac Hutchiinson fired just off target from the edge of the box before Liam Gordon lashed a shot over the bar from a tight angle.

But it was Rovers who took the lead on 40 minutes. Molyneux was sent racing away down the left with a fine ball from Hakeeb Adelakun and powered a ball into the middle where Ironside clipped home with a first time effort.

Jamie Sterry tested Walsall keeper Owen Evans from the corner of the box while Ironside saw a shot cleared off the line in first half stoppage time.

Rovers had the ball in the back of the net early in the second half through Adelakun but the offside flag was up.

Ironside and Adelakun produced a slick one-two in the box before the former fired into the sidenetting just after the hour mark.

Molyneux raced onto a through ball from substitute Harrison Biggins but saw his shot deflect wide for a corner, from which both Richard Wood and Joseph Olowu had efforts cleared off the line in another goalmouth scramble.

The lead was doubled on 77 minutes. Sterry sent a stunning ball forward from inside his own half which Adelakun controlled in the box before looping a header over Evans.

James Maxwell fired into the sidenetting after a brilliant surging run.

Walsall found a consolation effort in added time when Hutchinson drilled a free kick from a tight angle over the head of Lo-Tutala.

But Rovers held on for another excellent win.

Rovers: Lo-Tutala, Sterry, Olowu, Wood, Maxwell, Bailey, Craig (Broadbent 85), Molyneux (McGrath 90+4), Rowe (Biggins 62), Adelakun (Hurst 85), Ironside. Subs not used: Jones, Westbrooke, Waters.

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