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MATCH REPORT | Doncaster Rovers 0 Walsall 3

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's League One clash between Doncaster Rovers and Walsall, which was played at a wet and windy Keepmoat Stadium.
Walsall were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they travelled to the Keepmoat Stadium and took on Doncaster Rovers in Sky Bet League One. We were in attendance, and you can read our Match Report below.

Liam Mandeville got the match underway, but both sides struggled against the strong winds of Storm Brian in the opening few minutes and neither were able to create much going forward. In the eighth minute, the Saddlers won a free-kick on the edge of the box, when Florent Cuvelier was brought down by Mathieu Baudry, but Erhun Oztumer's ball in had too much on it and sailed out of play for a goal kick. Both sides continued to struggle with the conditions as the match wore on, resulting in a rather scrappy affair largely contained within the midfield area.

Thirteen minutes in, a foul by Mandeville on Walsall 'keeper, Mark Gillespie as he came to punch the ball clear led to a free-kick for the visitors and a decent chance lost by the hosts. Rovers continued to press and moments later called Gillespie into action again, when a good cross in from Niall Mason met the head of Harry Toffolo but the Saddler's shot-stopper made light work of saving. The hosts soon had the ball back with Mason who fired a lovely long ball forward which was met by John Marquis, but the striker failed to connect cleanly and fired an effort wide of goal.

The weather continued to play a part, with little real action of note as a consequence, but twenty three minutes in, Doncaster won a corner thanks to some good work from Tommy Rowe. Toffolo played the ball in deep, finding the head of former Saddler Andy Butler, who under pressure, headed wide. The hosts enjoyed some good spells of possessions but struggled to create any real chances.

As we headed past the half hour mark, some good build-up play from Marquis and Ben Whiteman culminated in the latter curling a right-footed effort wide from twenty yards. Marquis was fouled shortly after, resulting in Jon Guthrie picking up the first yellow card of the afternoon.

The Saddlers, unimpressive to this point, won a free-kick out on the left in the thirty seventh minute as Luke Leahy was felled by Mason, giving some hope to those of us watching. Unfortunately, Amadou Bakayoko's header from Joe Edwards ball in sailed well wide of the target without troubling the man between the sticks.

Walsall continued to press, and soon had the ball back in the box, where it came to Tyler Roberts, who controlled well before curling it over the bar. Shortly after that, the Saddlers won a free-kick thanks to a foul on Oztumer who was fouled by Jordan Houghton thirty yards from goal. The Turkish midfielder picked himself up but could only find the wall with his effort, allowing Marquis to clear.

Two minutes from half-time, Doncaster almost found the breakthrough; a left-footed shot from Tommy Rowe striking the base of the post before Marquis turned the rebound wide when it was probably easier for him to score. A huge let off for the Saddlers who should have been trailing at the interval. As it was, after one additional minute was played, the sides returned to their respective dressing rooms level after a poor first half.

Doncaster 0 Walsall 0

The teams returned unchanged after a brief break, and Walsall got the game back underway. Just two minutes into the half, Doncaster won a corner when a shot from Rowe took a deflection on it's way out. The ball in was a good one, but Mandeville scuffed his volley, allowing Gillespie to claim comfortably.

Both sides continued to struggle with the stormy conditions, with much of the action again contained to the midfield area. In the fifty fourth minute, Jordan Houghton became the second player added to the referee's notebook, picking up a yellow card for a foul on Edwards.

Fifty six minutes in, the Rovers bench opted to make their first changes of the afternoon, replacing Mathieu Baudry and Liam Mandeville with Rodney Kongolo and James Coppinger as they looked to find a breakthrough.

Kongolo was quick to get involved in the action, playing in Rowe with a lovely cross just two minutes after coming on, but Rowe's goal-ward shot was well blocked by Walsall captain, Adam Chambers.

Just four minutes after their initial two changes were made, Doncaster opted to make their third and final change of the day, replacing Niall Mason with Craig Alcock for the final half hour.

Sixty two minutes in, the Saddlers opened the scoring; Roberts dispossessing Joe Wright who was looking to let the ball go out of play, to set up Oztumer, who rounded the 'keeper and slotted home.

Bouyed by their goal, the Saddlers continued to enjoy a good spell and just four minutes after they had the ball in the back of the net, a run from Edwards, scything thorugh the Rovers defences, set Oztumer away to score the Saddlers second.

Moments after their second goal went in, Walsall made their first change of the afternoon, with Kieron Morris being brought on in place Florent Cuvelier.

Rovers were awarded a free-kick with twenty minutes to go, when Liam Kinsella brought down Rowe, but Coppinger's ball could only find the wall, before Houghton saw a tame effort blocked.

In the seventy eighth minute, the Saddlers made their second substitution, replacing goalscorer, Erhun Oztumer with Shaun Donnellan.

The hosts looked for a route back into the game, and almost found one in the seventy ninth minute, but Whiteman's strike from the edge of the box was tipped away by Gillespie. Moments later, the ball was picked up by Bakayoko, who set up Kieron Morris for the Saddlers third.

With five minutes remaining, and their side three goals to the good, the Saddlers made their final change of the day as Tyler Roberts made way for Daniel Agyei.

In the eighty seventh minute, Joe Edwards picked up a yellow card for wasting time as he tried to prevent a quick Rovers free-kick.

Three additional minutes were awarded, as Kinsella cut the ball back to Morris, whose twenty five yard effort sailed high over the bar. The Saddlers held onto their clean-sheet through the final moments, as time was called with their three goal lead intact. This was certainly a game defined by the old footballing cliche, 'a game of two halves'. A dire first half performance giving way to a goal filled second for the Saddlers as they looked to make a move up the table.

Doncaster 0 Walsall 3
Oztumer (62', 66'), Morris (80')
ATT | 7,391 (329 Walsall)
REF | Kevin Johnson
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