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Match Reports

Match Report: Forest Green Rovers 2-0 Walsall

9 March 2024

Match Reports

Match Report: Forest Green Rovers 2-0 Walsall

9 March 2024

The Saddlers suffered defeat on the road as goals from Emmanuel Osadebe and Kyle McAllister saw Forest Green Rovers claim victory in Gloucestershire.

Mat Sadler once again named an unchanged XI from the victory against Doncaster Rovers last Saturday at the Poundland Bescot Stadium. The bench also remained the same as the Saddlers came into the tie looking to make it six wins on the bounce in the league.

The visitors started the game the brighter of the two in the opening exchanges as the hosts had to defend their goal and withstand the early pressure.

Sadler was forced into an early change as Tom Knowles was unable to continue a few minutes after a challenge from Harvey Bunker and he was replaced by Joe Foulkes.

The first opportunity of note fell on 21 minutes when Charlie McCann found some space before striking at goal, but the effort did little to trouble Jackson Smith. McAllister then had his own opportunity moments later but he dragged his effort wide of the mark.

The first chance for the Saddlers fell on 32 minutes when Foulkes’ cross was met on the bounce by Jack Earing but he looped his effort wide of the mark.

There was a glorious opportunity for the visitors to open the scoring when J.Gordon and Emmanuel Adegboyega combined well and the defender’s cross evaded the Rovers defence and found the Saddlers striker in yards of space but his touch let him down as Vicente Reyes collected the ball as the first-half came to a close.

Into the second half and Sadler made another alteration as Mo Faal was introduced in place of Jamille Matt. On 49 minutes, the Saddlers rued a glorious opportunity – Smith’s pass from the back saw Faal flick the ball on in behind the hosts’ defence and J.Gordon was on hand to control and flick towards goal but Reyes made a great save low to his left to deny the visitors.

The Saddlers continued to pile the pressure but on 63 minutes the hosts took the lead. A ball over the top towards Christian Doidge saw the Rovers forward cut inside before rifling an effort on his weak foot against the post and the ball fell kindly to Osadebe who tapped in from close range against his former club.

The visitors continued to plug away and were rewarded for their efforts on 69 minutes as they were awarded a penalty – Foulkes being bundled down in the box having got his boot to the loose ball before the Rovers man. Up stepped Isaac Hutchinson and despite Reyes making the save from the penalty, the ball rebounded back towards the Saddlers man but he leaned back under pressure and put the next effort over the bar.

Things became more difficult for the visitors as they were reduced to ten men shortly after the penalty miss – David Okagbue tackling Doidge just inside the Saddlers half and thus being shown a second yellow card by referee Thomas Kirk.

On 79 minutes, the hosts were awarded a penalty and a chance to give themselves breathing space as Smith came out on the wrong side of a challenge with a Rovers man. McAllister took on the responsibility and fired home to all but seal the points.

There were two more changes as we approached added time – Douglas James-Taylor and Ross Tierney introduced in place of Hutchinson and Earing and that was the last of the action as Forest Green Rovers claimed all three points at the New Lawn Stadium.

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