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Match Report


Posted Sat 10 Apr 10 at 16:54 PM

Walsall 2 Tranmere 1

A first half own goal wasn't enough for Rovers as they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Walsall at the Banks's Stadium. Les Parry's side took the lead midway through the first half but strikes from Manny Smith and Darren Byfield turned the game in the home side's favour and Rovers were unable to find a leveller. There was one change to the side that started at Swindon with the suspended Terry Gornell replaced by Bas Savage in attack. Craig Curran volleyed wide from a looping Ben Gordon cross on five minutes and Ian Thomas-Moore turned just inches over the bar five minutes later after Savage went past Jamie Vincent into the area and rolled the ball across the penalty spot to his strike partner. A free kick awarded against Bas Savage gave the home side a set piece in a dangerous position on 12 minutes but Luke Daniels got both hands on the cross and held on before clearing. At the other end Curran volleyed straight at Rene Gilmartin from outside the area and Ash Taylor forced the keeper to palm over with a powerful effort from 30 yards that was on target for the top left corner. Moments later Curran almost beat the keeper with a header from close range but Gilmartin's trailing arm blocked the ball. The Saddlers should have taken the lead on 24 minutes when a cross from the left went over the head of Ian Goodison but Steve Jones' close range effort went away from the target. On 27 minutes Rovers took the lead. After an attack down the left, the ball was crossed in by Gareth Edds and Manny Smith could only stretch out a leg and turn it past his own keeper. Taylor send another long range effort wide on 29 minutes while Thomas-Moore and Edds produced clearances at the right time as Walsall looked for an equaliser. However, their next attack did bring them level. After Darren Byfield and Julian Gray combined to win a corner, Smith headed in Jones' cross from 12 yards out. Jones fired wide from 25 yards after racing into the Tranmere half on 39 minutes, the last chance of the first 45.  A tackle from Curran on Gilmartin won Rovers a corner in the fourth minute of the second half but McCready's volley from Edds' cross was blocked by a defender. Rovers dominated the early stages of the second half, spending most of the first seven minutes in Walsall territory but without reward for their efforts. Alex Nicholls fired just past Luke Daniels' far post after Goodison missed his clearance on 56 minutes while Byfield sliced an effort well wide of the target. A cut to Taylor's head meant he had to be replaced by Joss Labadie on 65 minutes, moments before Daniels punched a free kick away from his top corner. Thomas-Moore volleyed over on 73 minutes after Gilmartin's punch only reached the edge of the area and Edds sent a shot wide from outside the area soon after.   Kithson Bain replaced Curran with just over ten minutes remaining, the striker taking up the central role in the front three. Labadie poked a shot straight at Gilmartin from Broomes' low ball into the box on 89 minutes while Jones wasted a chance to end the contest in the first minute of injury time as Walsall had a two on one counter attack. All eleven men went deep into the Walsall half for a Rovers corner late in the final minute of the match but they were unable to find a way past the home defence Walsall: Gilmartin, Hughes, Smith, Jones, Mattis, Nicholls (Till 82), Taundry, Westlake, Vincent, Gray, Byfield (Parkin 86). Substitutes not used: Bradley, O'Keefe, Richards, McDonald, Ince. Tranmere: Daniels, Broomes, McCready, Goodison, Gordon, Edds, Taylor (Labadie 65), Welsh, Curran (Bain 79), Savage, Thomas-Moore. Substitutes not used: Collister, Bakayogo, Mahon, Barnett, Shuker. Referee: Jock Waugh Yellow cards: Gordon (43) Away attendance: 624

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