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Match Reports

Match Report: Rochdale 4-2 Walsall

7 April 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: Rochdale 4-2 Walsall

7 April 2023

Rochdale came out on top as Walsall fell to a frustrating defeat in a six goal thriller at the Crown Oil Arena.

The Saddlers opened the scoring through Jamille Matt but Rochdale turned things around with goals from Ian Henderson and Danny Lloyd.

The visitors got back level early in the second half through Tom Knowles but the Dale responded quickly to restore their lead courtesy of Max Taylor before a controversial Ethan Brierley goal turned out to be the clincher for the hosts.

Michael Flynn made four changes to the team that drew with Sutton United last weekend.

Hayden White, Liam Gordon, Brandon Comley and Matt all came into the starting XI while Conor Wilkinson, Matty Stevens and Oisin McEntee dropped to the bench while Donervon Daniels missed out through injury.

There was little goalmouth action in the opening 15 minutes but it was the home side who eventually had the first opening of when Ian Henderson poked the ball wide.

The hosts came close to opening the scoring when Danny Lloyd got in behind and was through on goal but he arrowed his shot wide from close range on 21 minutes.

A minute later, the Saddlers had their first opportunity and were unfortunate not to take the lead as Tom Knowles let fly with a rocket that hit both posts and somehow didn’t go in much to his dismay.

The Saddlers were more fortunate a minute later though when a throw in came in and after a bit of head tennis in the Rochdale box, the ball eventually found its way to Matt who prodded home from close range.

Rochdale responded well and looked for a quick response. D’Mani Mellor came close when his low shot was pushed behind on the stretch by Owen Evans.

Moments later, the hosts equalised when a shot came in and Henderson turned the ball into the back of the net on 42 minutes.

Rochdale had the wind in their sails from there and turned the game on its head just two minutes later when Abraham Odoh’s shot crashed off the crossbar and Danny Lloyd reacted to stab the ball in and give the hosts the lead going into the half time break.

The Saddlers started the second half well and were back on level terms just six minutes into it when Knowles cut out a loose pass on halfway and his excellent first touch set him free. He sprinted towards goal and smartly dispatched low past Richard O’Donnell.

Flynn’s men thought they got their noses in front when Brandon Comley nodded in a header but the referee chalked it off after a Rochdale defender hit the deck in the penalty area.

It was the hosts who got the fifth goal when a corner was kept alive and the ball came out to Taylor who rifled the ball into the far corner to restore their advantage.

The goals kept coming but the sixth came in controversial circumstances. Evans’ poor clearance was collected by Brierley who shot from 40 yards out with Evans scampering back to his line. The Saddlers stopper caught the ball, fell on his line but the referee adjudged the ball to have crossed the line, sparking huge protests from the visitors.

By this point, Flynn had introduced Stevens, Wilkinson, Joss Labadie and Jacob Maddox.

Wilkinson came close when he tried to place it in the far corner with his left foot but O’Donnell made a fine save to deny him.

Walsall kept pushing but couldn’t find a way through as Rochdale defended manfully.



Evans; White, Low, Monthé; White, Kinsella, Comley, Hutchinson, Gordon; Matt, Knowles
Subs: Williams, McEntee, Songo’o

Attendance: 3090 (449 away)

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