This match represented everything that has been wrong with Rovers over the last two years.
Lots of possession (an amazing 66%) allied to a slow tempo and too many passes sideways and backwards. The few openings created were squandered and the returning Tommy Rowe was wasted, deployed at left centre-back for two-thirds of the match.
The first half was dull with little to recommend it, and at the half-time break Rovers were clearly encouraged to get on the front. Walsall countered with a couple of sucker punches. After 52 minutes a long ball found Isaac Hutchinson on the left and he cut inside, beat Ro-Shaun Williams and drove the ball across goal for Tom Knowles to turn home from close range. On 71 minutes Williams lost possession in his own half and Danny Johnson had a free run to score past Jonathan Mitchell.
At 0-2 it was effectively game over, but Rovers stirred; Harrison Biggins’ shot was parried by Owen Evans and Kieran Agard, just on as a substitute, fired wide. In stoppage time Adam Clayton’s long free kick hit a post and that really represented Rovers’ efforts on goal for the evening.
I don’t envy Rovers Head Coach Danny Schofield in his efforts to clear up the mess left by previous managers, but in the short-term he needs to find a way to win matches. He could learn from Walsall, who were not pretty to watch but took their chances and have now won six games from seven.
by John Coyle