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Match Reports

Match Report: Bristol Rovers 2-2 Walsall

8 September 2020

The Saddlers got their EFL Trophy campaign off to a good start as goals from defender Zak Jules and Josh Gordon earned a well deserved point before Darrell Clarke’s side earned themselves an extra point following a penalty shootout win against his former side.

Clarke made a number of changes as new signings Hayden White, Emmanuel Osadebe and Jack Rose all came into the starting 11 alongside George Nurse and Jack Nolan.

It was the home side who threatened first as good work from Rovers striker Jonah Ayunga allowed him to get a shot away from the edge of the area but it failed to trouble Rose in the Walsall goal.

Moments later and Osadebe showed his threat in the 18-yard box as his deflected effort struck the outside of the post with striker Caolan Lavery unable to turn the rebound home.

After 16 minutes the home side took the lead. Good build up play from Bristol Rovers allowed Tom Mehew some space on the edge of the area and his fierce drive found the far bottom corner.

Minutes later and the lively Ayunga went close again. After more good play on the edge of the area, the striker turned but his low effort was well held by Rose.

Just before the half an hour mark, the Saddlers equalised through Jules. Nolan whipped a delightful corner into the area and Jules met it head on and his downward header flew past Jordi Van Stappershoef.

Only a minute after the Saddlers had equalised, the home side went close to regaining the lead through their goal scorer Mehew. The advancing midfielder found himself in a one vs one situation but Rose produced a superb save with his legs.

A few minutes before the break, Nolan came close to putting the Saddlers in front as he drove towards the 18-yard box but his fizzing effort was dealt with at the second attempt by Van Stappershoef.

Into the second half and following a triple substitution, the visiting Saddlers got themselves into the lead.

Substitute Cameron Norman delivered a create cross into the box and Gordon’s brilliant header found the bottom left corner from 12-yards out.

Two minutes later and there was more good work from a Walsall sub as Rory Holden played in Lavery but his dangerous low cross was just a little out of the reach of goal scorer Gordon.

Shortly after the goal that put Clarke’s side into the lead, the home side found themselves level again.

Again following good work on the edge of the box, the ball fell to Ayunga who smashed the ball low past Rose.

With the spoils shared at full-time, we went to a penalty shootout for the second successive game.

Following five penalties for the Saddlers and four for the home side, it was Clarke’s side who walked away with the extra point winning the shootout 4-2, with Gordon scoring the winning penalty.


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