Typical. You spend time crafting a reasoned, balanced fanzine editorial on how managers need time and things aren’t really that bad, then on the day it gets read your team forgets what football is.
Abject. That’s what this was. In a first half that offered up the lesser part of very little, Rovers crafted its only real chance, and then spectacularly wasted it. Neat interplay from John Marquis and Tommy Rowe gave the latter room to hit a low shot from twenty yards that struck the face of the post. The ball ricocheted back to the feet of Marquis, ten yards out, but somehow he contrived to side-foot it wide of the other upright.
Early in the similarly stodgy second-half Darren Ferguson chose to change formation in an attempt to open the game up. Objective duly achieved, though not as he would have hoped, as within ten minutes Walsall were two up.
First Joe Wright was robbed by Tyler Roberts when trying to see a long ball out of play and Erhun Otzumer calmly slotted home his team-mate’s cut-back. And the diminutive midfielder was there again moments later, calmly rounding Ian Lawlor after Joe Edwards’ break.
Walsall wrapped things up with their third, ten minutes from time. Rodney Kongolo completing the sort of cameo that Ali Dia would’ve scoffed at by under-hitting a pass as last man and Kieron Morris finished the resulting break.
Those were the only shots Walsall had on target… tellingly it was all they’d ever need.
by Glen Wilson