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Match Reports

Match Report: Walsall 1-3 Forest Green Rovers

14 August 2021

Three first half goals saw Walsall fall to defeat in their first home league game of the 2021-22 campaign against Forest Green Rovers.

Matthew Stevens scored twice either side of Jamille Matt’s strike as Rovers took the game away from the Saddlers. 

Brendan Kiernan did score Walsall's first goal of the season in injury time but it was a mere consolation. 

Head Coach Matt Taylor made two changes to the team that started against Doncaster Rovers in midweek. 

Stephen Ward and Manny Monthé came back into the starting XI in place of Tom Leak and Rollin Menayese. 

The Saddlers started brightly and had a couple of attempts in the opening six minutes as Kieran Phillips and Joss Labadie had shots at goal. 

Despite a strong start from Walsall, it was the visitors who opened the scoring when the ball came into the area and Jamille Matt’s effort was nodded in my Stevens. 

The Saddlers responded well and came close to an equaliser almost immediately when Ash Taylor’s header was cleared off the line. 

Rovers began to wrestle control and enjoyed the majority of the possession after taking the lead. 

The hosts came close to an equaliser five minutes before half-time when Emmanuel Osadebe slipped in Phillips with a clever through ball and the striker rifled in a shot that looked destined for the top corner but McGee did brilliantly to push it away. 

Rovers hit back with a sucker punch as they went straight down the other end and doubled their lead after Kane Wilson picked out Matt who applied the finish. 

It got worse for the Saddlers on the stroke of half time when Forest Green were awarded a penalty which Stevens converted to score his second and leave the hosts with a mountain to climb at the break. 

Matt Taylor made a change at the break as Jack Earing was introduced in place of Tyrese Shade. 

Conor Wilkinson came close to reducing the arrears on 52 minutes with a lovely clipped effort but it agonisingly bounced off the post and away. 

The Saddlers Head Coach made his second change on 56 minutes and replaced Labadie with Liam Kinsella. 

Walsall tried to get back into the game created a good opportunity when Osadebe rolled the ball across to Kiernan who flicked it back to Wilkinson to shoot but his effort was blocked. 

The game started to drift from the Saddlers and Rushworth had to stay alert first to deny Regan Hendry from a free-kick and then Matt on the follow up. 

The Saddlers continued to push and did pull one back as Kiernan curled in a consolation goal deep into injury time. 

It proved to be the last significant action of the game and there was no time for the Saddlers to add another.


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