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Match Reports

Rochdale 1-1 Walsall

23 December 2017

Maz Kouhyar came off the bench to score his first league goal and rescue the Saddlers a hard-earned point at relegation-threated Rochdale.

On boss Jon Whitney’s 47th birthday, his Saddlers team started brightly and forced four corners in quick succession, from one of which Joe Edwards saw a 25-yard half-volley deflected wide.

Kieron Morris scuffed a long-range attempt off target on 14 minutes and Edwards pulled a right-footed wide after good play from Zeli Ismail down the right.

In a good spell for the visitors, the recalled Dan Agyei skipped inside Donervon Daniels before curling well wide of the far post.

Dale were kept largely at arm’s length, although they very nearly took the lead in first-half stoppage time when Callum Camps’ miss-hit cross looped over Mark Gillespie and bounced back off the bar.

The second half started with a bang, Erhun Oztumer firing home at the near post from Agyei’s back-heel but the goal was disallowed for offside.

The Saddlers were in the ascendancy and went close again on 62 minutes when Morris’ close-range header from Edwards’ pinpoint cross was expertly tipped over by Dale keeper Josh Lillis.

From almost scoring at one end, Walsall then conceded almost immediately at the other.

Calvin Andrew’s initial drive was blocked by Luke Leahy but the ball ricocheted favourably back to the striker, who squeezed a first-time left-footed shot beyond Gillespie.

Dale improved following their goal and should made it 2-0 on 78 minutes but neither Andrew nor Joseph Thompson were able to force home Ian Henderson’s low cross from point-blank range.

Whitney used all three of his substitutes in an attempt to get his side back in the game, with Simeon Jackson, Kouhyar and Reece Flanagan those to come on.

A stretching Agyei fired wide from the edge of the box as Walsall began to exert some pressure on the Rochdale goal in the closing stages.

And an equaliser arrived in the final minute of the 90, Kouhyar expertly sweeping home Oztumer’s cut-back from 12 yards for his first league goal.

 

Attendance: 2,702 (171 Walsall supporters).


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