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Club News


13 September 2016

Bristol Rovers 1-1 Walsall

Attendance: 7,805 (170)

Rovers came from behind to claim a point against Walsall at the Memorial Stadium.

Matty Taylor's sixth goal of the season from the penalty spot cancelled out Erhun Oztumer's first half opener.

Darrell Clarke made three changes to the side that drew with Rochdale at the weekend handing Byron Moore his first start for the club as well as recalling Daniel Leadbitter and Ellis Harrison to the starting 11 at the expense of James Clarke, Chris Lines and Jermaine Easter who all dropped to the substitutes bench.

Rovers started the game brightly, with fantastic intensity in the opening five minutes without ever really testing Neil Etheridge. The boys in blue and whites best effort came as Billy Bodin swung in a delightful ball from the Rovers right but it was just beyond Matty Taylor inside the six-yard area.

For all their early pressure it was Rovers who found themselves a goal behind thanks to Erhun Oztumer.

Andreas Makris swung an inviting cross into the Rovers penalty area but Peter Hartley was able to clear the initial danger into the path of Hiram Boateng. The Crystal Palace loanee then sliced his clearance into the path of Oztumer who made no mistake firing past Kelle Roos from just inside the penalty area.

The goal seemingly sparked Rovers into life as they quickly looked for an equalising goal. Billy Bodin's tricky footwork was causing Walsall all sorts of trouble on the right hand side when Adam Chambers chopped the Welshman down giving referee Brendan Malone no option but to point to the penalty spot.

Top goalscorer Matty Taylor stepped up to face Neil Etheridge and made no mistake thumping the ball straight down the middle of the goal to score his sixth goal of the season.

Darrell Clarke's men continued to press for a second goal when Billy Bodin's corner was glanced goalwards by Matty Taylor but a combination of Etheridge and Chambers were able to keep the ball from going over the line.

Just before the stroke of half time the visitors had a good chance to take the lead as Erhun Oztumer was able to pick out Simeon Jackson but Kelle Roos was quick off his line to smother the shot from the Canadian International.

Rovers looked the much better side in the second half and almost took the lead but Ellis Harrison was denied by the crossbar.

Lee Brown was able to whip a delightful cross into the penalty area from the Rovers right hand side where Matty Taylor flicked the ball in the air into the path of Harrison who watched his headed clip the crossbar and go behind for a goal kick.

At the other end of the field a lovely move from the visitors carved Rovers apart as Simeon Jackson's quick turn and pass found Kieron Morris in plenty of space but the Saddlers man fired both high and wide from a promising position.

However, Darrell Clarke's men did look much more dangerous in the final third of the pitch but Neil Etheridge was equal to everything Rovers were throwing his way as he denied Matty Taylor and Billy Bodin in quick succession.

Minutes later, a Rovers short corner found it's way to Billy Bodin who composed himself well on the right hand side before curling a superb effort goalwards but again, Etheridge stuck out a strong hand to deny the Welshman.

Rovers continued to throw everything they had at Neil Etheridge's goal but couldn't find a way past the Saddler's keeper who was a dead cert for an overall Man of the Match.

Up next for Rovers is the long trip North to take on Bradford City before returning to the County Ground to take on Swindon Town in the clubs rearranged fixture. 

Rovers: Roos; Leadbitter, J. Clarke, Lockyer (C), Hartley, Brown; Bodin (Colkett - 89), Sinclair, Boateng (Lines - 67), Moore; Taylor, Harrison (Gaffney - 81.

Unused Substitutes: Mildenhall (GK), J. Clarke, Easter, James.

Walsall: Etheridge, Edwards, Laird, McCarthy, Chambers (C), Jackson, Oztumer, Morris, Toner, Makris (Kouhyar - 36), Moussa (Bakayoko - 84).

Unused Substitutes: MacGillivray (GK), Dobson, Kinsella, Preston, Sangha. 

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