Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Match Reports

Match Report: Blackburn Rovers 4-3 Walsall

8 August 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: Blackburn Rovers 4-3 Walsall

8 August 2023

The Saddlers bowed out of the Carabao Cup with a 4-3 defeat against Championship side Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

It was an even contest in the opening exchanges with limited chances to report on as both sides looked to put their stamp on proceedings. Sadler’s side looked dangerous in possession and almost had a chance on goal on 15 minutes. Ross Tierney drove into space on the Saddlers right-hand side and spotted Douglas James-Taylor making a run into the box and the loanee played a low ball across the penalty area but Joe Hilton was alert in the Blackburn net and collected the ball ahead of the forward.

Moments later and there was huge shouts for a penalty for the Saddlers. Tierney, who was looking lively throughout, knocked the ball past Hilton and was brought down by the Rovers keeper but the referee waved play on, much to the disappointment of everyone from a Walsall perspective.

Sadler’s side put that disappointment to the back of the mind and took the lead on 19 minutes. A corner was swung in by Tierney and Oisin McEntee met the delivery with a powerful header which sailed over everyone and looped into the back of the net.

The jubilation was cut short as within 60 seconds of the restart, Rovers were back on level terms. A ball across the box found evaded everyone and found its way to Zak Gilesnan who struck towards goal and despite the best efforts of Joe Foulkes to block it on the line, the referee award the goal courtesy of goaline technology.

Blackburn then continued to test the Saddlers backline and had a couple of chances on goal. Niall Ennis had the first on 26 minutes when he picked up a loose ball and struck towards but Jackson Smith did well to parry away before it was eventually cleared from danger and on 32 minutes Ryan Hedges cut inside and struck fiercely towards goal but Smith yet again was on hand to deny the Rovers man.

Five minutes after and the Saddlers re-took the lead with a beautifully well-crafted passage of play. Donervon Daniels saw Foulkes free on the opposite side of the pitch and played a delightful pass into the full-back. His first-touch beat the Rovers full-back and he cut the ball back to the penalty spot where Tierney was on hand to remain composed and slot home from close range.

Jubilation was cut short yet again however as the hosts soon found another equaliser courtesy of Ennis on 39 minutes and that was the last of the action in a goal-filled first half.

The second half commenced and Blackburn took the lead for the first time in the game on 50 minutes. A cute/slick pass in between the Saddlers backline saw Jake Garrett claim and maneuver his way into a shooting position before drilling the ball past Smith into the far corner in front of the home crowd.

The Saddlers were now in search of a way back into the game and tested the Rovers backline on numerous occasions, but were left frustrated as the hosts kept them at bay.

Rovers would then claim a two-goal advantage when they added a fourth on 67 minutes through John Buckley.

Sadler turned to his bench shortly after as Aramide Oteh and Danny Johnson replaced Chris Hussey and James-Taylor as the reds looked to find their way back into the game.

On 71 minutes came a chance on the break for the Saddlers as Oteh sprayed the ball to the opposite side and Tierney was there and controlled well before taking aim at goal and Hilton parried the effort away. The ball then fell to Johnson who managed to get an instinctive effort on goal from the rebound but it sailed over the bar.

There were more changes for the visitors after as Isaac Hutchinson and Ronan Maher were introduced in place of Tierney and Joe Riley and as the game approached its conclusion Maher stepped up and cut inside on the right-hand side having received the ball from Oteh and sent a curling effort over the top of Hilton and into the back of the net (a first professional senior goal for the Walsall man) on 84 minutes to make it 4-3 and a tense ending for Rovers.

Sadler’s side pressured the opposition right until the very end but were unable to find that equaliser and take it to penalties as the Championship outfit advanced into the next round of the Carabao Cup.

Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match