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25 September 2021 Venue Banks's Stadium Attendance

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Match Preview - Walsall v Rovers

24 September 2021

Rovers head into Saturday's encounter against Walsall looking to bounce back after defeat against Leyton Orient.

Rovers are back on the road this weekend as they make the journey up the M5 to face Matt Taylor's Walsall. The last meeting between the two teams came in 2020 in a FA Cup tie in which Rovers were the victors, winning 1-2 and knocking out The Saddlers as a result. Below is all you need to know ahead of Saturday's fixture. 

Manager's Preview

Joey Barton spoke to local press on Friday morning at The Quarters, ahead of Saturday's encounter in Walsall. The Rovers manager was keen to highlight the need to pay back the the Gasheads with a return to winning ways this weekend. 

'The players are all aware of the numbers we've got travelling to the game on Saturday. I think the players owe the travelling faithful a performance. We've been well, well supported by our fanbase and I think the players have felt that. There has been a little bit of an edge in the training ground this week and it's eight games now (in the league) so you've got to put up or shut up as a group, we can't talk about wanting to be promoted without the results profile. With 38 games to go we've got to start showing some consistency of performance, especially on the road, we have got to be a lot more difficult to beat.

The boss also shared his views on how Rovers will approach the encounter against Walsall on Saturday.

'It's going to be a scrap. We're going to have to do stuff that we haven't done before which is score goals and be solid on the road and we haven't done that for a while. We need to turn up and perform and it's time for the talking to stop.'

Opposition View

Speaking ahead of welcoming Rovers to the Banks's stadium on Saturday, Walsall head coach Matt Taylor has said that he expects a reaction from Bristol Rovers and Joey Barton.

Speaking to Walsall FC, Taylor said, 

'I’m expecting a reaction (from Rovers) from their result last weekend. I know Joey well and I’ve played with Joey. I know he will demand his players to turn up and give a performance. They’re going to be well supported; they’ll have a lot of fans in our stadium and they’ll look at this as an opportunity to get a positive result but what’s important is that the focus has to remain on our team.

'I think we’re a good team, we just need to tidy up in areas where we’re not conceding goals and that’s the challenge for the players. We know that we’ll create opportunities on Saturday. Can we take those opportunities? Can we be more ruthless? We have to defend better in our box and it needs to mean more to the players.

'I would say our players are 100 per cent ready for the fixture coming up and if they go out there and perform, we’ve got every chance of taking three points.'

Form Guide

Matt Taylor's side currently sits 19th in the Sky Bet League Two with eight points from eight games so far this season. In their previous league fixture, The Saddlers fell to a late 2-1 away defeat to Newport County courtesy of a winning goal from former Rovers and Walsall defender, James Clarke.

In their last six league games, Walsall have won two games against Mansfield Town and Stevenage. Both of those victories came at their home, Banks's Stadium. Last season, our hosts played 23 home games in the Sky Bet League Two, winning seven of those fixtures. 

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View From the Press Bench

Joe Edwards, Walsall correspondent for the Express & Star, gives us a deeper look into what Saturday's opponents might offer...

'Matt Taylor has admitted Walsall have not been as consistent as he would have liked, but there is optimism among supporters.
 
'Walsall have a clear way of playing - a 4-2-3-1 formation used in all their games - and are determined to impress after a tough couple of years for the club. No fewer than 13 signings were made over the summer and while they have not taken the league by storm as of yet, they have settled in pretty well.
 
'Carl Rushworth, between the sticks, has been a revelation on loan from Brighton while George Miller, on loan from Barnsley, could be the goalscorer fans have been craving. Liam Kinsella has joined Conor Wilkinson and Rory Holden out injured, which is a big blow. Walsall, though, will hope they still have enough to make it four wins a row at the Banks's Stadium across all competitions. They have been moving in the right direction over the past month or so and appear to be growing in confidence. Another performance like the ones seen at home recently should stand them in good stead.'

Familiar Faces

Rolin Menayese now plys his trade for The Saddlers on loan from Mansfield Town whom he departed Rovers for in 2020. 

Menayese made 16 appearances for Rovers from 2017-2020. The defender, who has represented Wales to U17 level, had a number of loans during his time with the Gas including a short stint at local rivals Swindon Town. The defender has made five appearances this season since joining on a season-long loan from Nigel Clough's Mansfield Town. 

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Past Encounters

Our last meeting against The Saddlers came last season in the First Round of the Emirates FA Cup. On that occasion, goals first-half goals from Brandon Hanlan and Jack Baldwin helped the Gas to a 2-1 win.

The sides also met in group stages of the EFL Trophy last term, playing out a 2-2 draw at the Mem. Tom Mehew and Jonah Ayunga grabbed the goals for Rovers, which ended with Walsall taking the bonus point on offer in the penalty shootout. 

The last league meetings between the sides took place on Boxing Day 2018. Tom Lockyer opened the scoring, meeting a low cross from Alex Rodman to grab the game's first goal inside the opening ten minutes. Rodman was on the scoresheet himself moments later, connecting with a sweet volley at the far post. The scoring for Rovers was completed in the second half, as Tareiq Holmes-Dennis showed great composure to find the net after being picked out by Alex Jakubiak. 

Ref Watch

Seb Stockbridge has been appointed as the referee for Saturday's contest. The Tyne based official has been in charge of 7 games this season to date, handing out 23 yellow cards and one red card. His last game in charge of Rovers was our 0-0 draw on the road at Fleetwood back in February. In total, Stockbridge has officiated 25 Sky Bet League Two encounters, averaging 27.40 fouls per game and 3.40 yellow cards per fixture. 

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Betting Preview

EFL sponsors Sky Bet have Rovers priced at 15/8 for the win on Saturday. On the goal scorer markets, Brett Pitman is offered at 11/2 to be on the scoresheet at any time, while Aaron Collins is at 13/2 to open the scoring on Saturday. On the scoreline front , a 1-3 in favour of the Gas can be backed at 25/1. 

To bet with Sky Bet please click HERE. Please bet responsibly. 

Matchday Tickets

Rovers will wear their green and yellow away kit on Saturday. 

Over 1,100 advance tickets have been purchased for Saturday's game. Full ticket details can be found HERE.

How to Follow the Match 

Overseas fans can watch Saturday’s game live on iFollow – with a match pass costing the equivalent of £10. Supporters based in the UK can purchase an audio match pass for £2.50. To find out more about iFollow, please click HERE.

 

 

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Match Reports

Match Report - Walsall 1 - 2 Rovers

25 September 2021

Rovers come from behind to defeat Walsall at the Banks's Stadium

Second half goals from Connor Taylor and Sion Spence secured Rovers' first away win of the season after Kieran Phillips had put the hosts ahead in the first half. 

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Heading into the game, Rovers made four changes. The quartet of switches saw Paul Coutts, Harry Anderson, Cian Harries and Harvey Saunders all return to the starting XI.

The home side registered the first half-chance of the game inside what was a lively opening five minutes. The opportunity saw Kieran Phillips drag a low effort wide from the edge of the box, an effort that never looked like troubling Belshaw.

Rovers, backed by the vocal support of over 1,000 Gasheads, had two great chances to grab the opening goal as the game surpassed the ten-minute mark. First, a move down the left from Saunders sparked a swift Rovers counter. The ball was passed quickly across the box, where Harry Anderson saw his effort deflected wide. From the resulting corner, a training routine saw Cian Harries advanced into the box unmarked, with the defender launching a fierce left-footed volley that climbed just over the target.

It was the home side that went ahead on the half-hour mark. After a spell of the game where Rovers were called upon to defend, Phillips broke free down the left and continued into the Rovers area. The lively forward was tracked by Connor Taylor, who blocked the initial effort, but the Walsall forward poked home the rebound from a tight angle.

Rovers very nearly got back on level terms in the minutes before the interval. Finishing the half on a strong note, Sam Finley saw a powerful effort from the edge of the area take a deflection that diverted the ball over the crossbar. Moments later, Harry Anderson launched a long-range effort that flew inches wide of the upright.

After the break, Rovers carried forward their commitment to attacking play - attacking the end housing the travelling supporters. A lot of joy for the Gas was found down the right, with Harry Anderson enjoying the opportunity to make inroads down the wing. It was a cross from the right that led to Antony Evans blasting over a first-time shot, as Rovers kept applying pressure. 

When called upon to defend, Rovers were able to ensure Walsall's lead wasn't doubled. Cian Harries was alert to block a Kieran Phillips attempt after the forward was picked out by a central through ball. 

With 15 minutes to play, Rovers forced the majority the games into the Walsall final third, despite the best attempts of the home side to run down the clock. 

As the final ten minutes approached, Rovers did find the equalising goal, that their play on a whole deserved. It was a corner from the right that undid the Walsall defence, with a flick from Pitman flicking the delivery into the path of Connor Taylor at the far-post. The defender won the battle to force the ball home from yards out, sharing the joy of his first professional goal with the Gasheads behind the goal. 

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Rovers kept up the pressure following the equaliser and the pressure paid off towards the end of the match, after a corner kick was sent towards the front post where the ball ricocheted out to Brett Pitman who fired it across the goal mouth to fall at the feet of Sion Spence who fired home the winner and his first professional goal only minutes after coming onto the pitch sending the travelling Gasheads wild. 

JMP_Walsall_v_Bristol_Rovers_CA8Q4941.jpgRovers head back to the Mem next Saturday, hosting Swindon Town at the Mem in Sky Bet League Two.

Walsall: Carl Rushworth, Hayden White, Stephen Ward (C), Ash Taylor, Manny Monthé, Brendan Kiernan (60' Emmanuel Osadebe), George Miller, Kieran Phillips (69' Zak Mills), Jack Earing, Sam Perry, Tyrese Shade

Subs: Jack Rose,  Alfie Bates, Tom Leak, Joe Willis, Zak Mills, Rolin Menayese

Bristol Rovers: James Belshaw, Alfie Kilgour, Sam Finley, Paul Coutts (C), Connor Taylor, Harry Anderson, Harvey Saunders (89' Sion Spence), Antony Evans (73' Junior Brown), Cian Harries, Glenn Whelan (68' Aaron Collins), Brett Pitman

Subs: Jed Ward, Nick Anderton, Zain Westbrooke, Luca Hoole.

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Ticket News

Ticket Info - Walsall

22 September 2021

Tickets for our Sky Bet League Two fixture against Walsall are now on sale.

Rovers make the journey to the Banks's Stadium on Saturday, 25th September (3pm KO)

Advance tickets for this fixture are now off sale. Over 1,100 advance tickets have been sold. 

On the day sales will be available from the Walsall ticket office. 

Supporters heading to the game should be aware of planned roadworks that will see the closure of junction 10 on the M6 across the weekend of the fixture that could lead to congested traffic on the M5. 

You can log onto your online ticketing account and purchase tickets HERE

Ticket Prices are listed below;

Adults £20
Over 60's £16
U21 £15
U18 £10

 

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