Saddlers win at Rochdale...THE SADDLERS’ involvement in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy got underway in the second round at Rochdale.
The action started with Mathieu Manset’s strike being deflected for a corner which caused concern for the home ‘keeper but was eventually cleared.
There were shouts for a penalty from the home side when Andy Taylor challenged for a header just inside the area but the referee waved play on.
After a neat passage of Walsall play, Mal Benning put a low ball into the area but it was cleared as Dale launched a raid that ended with a free-kick in a promising position. Henderson’s effort was good and tipped onto the crossbar by O’Donnell.
Adam Chambers blocked bravely to deny Dale who were starting to get a hold of the game.
The Saddlers took the lead on 22 minutes when Grimes threaded the ball through to Manset who coolly slotted home under the ‘keeper to open the scoring.
There was an important block from in front of goal by Andy Taylor as MattyDone got in a header at the far post from a Vincenti cross.
As half-time approached, a neat touch from Baxendale on the edge of the area set up Grimes whose effort was deflected wide and then at the other end, Jack O’Connell saw his strike fly just wide.
There was a booking for Grimes right at the end of the opening period as Walsall went in at the break a goal to the good.
The second period saw a free-kick from Benning delivered invitingly and scrambled clear as far as Adam Chambers who fired wide.
At the other end, Henderson dragged a low drive just wide as neither ‘keeper was seriously tested in the opening exchanges.
A free-kick in a dangerous position for Dale saw Henderson hit the defensive wall as Allen’s follow-up was well over.
There was a booking for Purkiss for a foul just before Jordan Cook replaced Manset.
After a foul on Cook by Vincenti there was a bit of a flashpoint involving the Dale man and Baxendale which was soon brought under control by the referee.
A slick Walsall break spearheaded by Clifford ends with him firing wide of the target.
On 81 minutes former Dale man, Ashley Grimes is replaced by Anthony Forde.
Shortly afterwards, Clifford was replaced by Flanagan.
The Saddlers defended a couple of home corners well as Dale pushed for a leveller.
A late Henderson strike was well pushed out by O’Donnell.
Despite a bit of late pressure, The Saddlers held firm to win 1-0 and progress into the next round.