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Match Reports

Match Report: Rochdale 1-0 Walsall

9 April 2022

Walsall suffered a narrow defeat on the road as Conor Grant’s strike was enough to see Rochdale claim all three points.

After a goalless first half, the deciding goal came 10 minutes into the second half on what proved to be a frustrating afternoon for the Saddlers. 

Michael Flynn initially made three changes to the team that started against Leyton Orient last weekend. 

Reece Devine made his return from injury at left wing-back in place of Tyrese Shade who was missing from the squad. 

Stephen Ward and Brendan Kiernan also came into the team, replacing Rollin Menayese and Devante Rodney who dropped to the bench. 

The Saddlers were forced into a late change just minutes before kick-off as Carl Rushworth suffered an injury in the warm up and was replaced by Jack Rose. 

After a quiet start, both sides fashioned their first openings around the quarter of an hour mark. 

Conor Wilkinson had a go from distance but his effort sailed over the bar before Luke Charman fired a shot straight at Rose from close range. 

The hosts almost opened the scoring after 19 minutes when Charman’s header bounced off the post and fell to Conor Grant whose shot on the rebound was superbly saved by Rose who reacted brilliantly. 

Walsall were dealt another injury blow on 25 minutes as Liam Kinsella was forced off and replaced by Sam Perry. 

There was little to report in the way of clear cut chances in the final 20 minutes of the half and it ended goalless at the break. 

Rochdale started the second half well and opened the scoring on 55 minutes when Grant was sent through by Liam Kelly and slotted the ball past Rose from close range. 

Flynn made a change five minutes later as he introduced George Miller in place of Ward. 

Rodney also came on with just under 20 minutes to go as the Saddlers tried to get back on level terms. 

The hosts continued to push forward though and had a decent opportunity when Corey O’Keeffe found Abraham Odoh in space but his deflected shot was turned behind by Rose. 

Labadie had a chance late on but his shot was straight at Jay Lynch. 

The Saddlers couldn’t find a way through and Rochdale emerged victorious. 

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