Tuesday, 13 February 2018

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MATCH REPORT: Walsall 4 Doncaster Rovers 2

10:00 pm Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's League One clash between Walsall and Doncaster Rovers.
Walsall were back in action on Tuesday evening as they played host to Doncaster Rovers in their latest League One fixture of the season. We were in attendance, and you can read our match report below.

With Walsall kicking towards the Tile Choice Stand in the first half, the match got underway as the Saddlers launched an early attack, which culminated in a Luke Leahy cross being deflected behind by Jordan Houghton. Doncaster Rovers 'keeper, Ian Lawlor was alert and punched the in-swinging corner kick clear.

The early positive start was soon replaced by something of a midfield battle, as the sides settled into the game, with neither side creating any real chances in the following ten minutes. The Saddlers looked the livelier side though and, in the twelfth minute, tested Lawlor again as a cross came in from the right from Nicky Devlin, but the Rovers shot-stopper was equal to it and caught with ease. Moments later, a cross from Erhun Oztumer played Kieron Morris into space, allowing him to carry the ball to the edge of the box before seeing a shot deflected behind. Oztumer swung the resulting corner into the area, but the Doncaster defences cleared the danger.

The visiting side finally created a chance of their own in the seventeenth minute, as some good work from Matty Blair down the right set up Ben Whiteman, but midfielders right-footed effort from twenty five yards cleared the crossbar without troubling Liam Roberts in the Walsall goal.

The deadlock was broken in the twenty second minute, as, seemingly out of nowhere, a cross from Devlin out on the right picked out Joe Edwards waiting at the far post, and the midfielder beat his man in the air to head a looping ball home.

Just two minutes later, Edwards struck again, extending his sides advantage as he found himself on the receiving end of a clever cut back from Justin Shaibu allowing the midfielder to side-foot the ball into the far corner.

As we reached the half-way mark, Doncaster won a corner as they hunted a route back into the game, Devlin turning the ball behind to prevent a cross from Rovers captain, Tommy Rowe being turned home. The resulting corner was swung into the area by Alfie Beestin, but the Saddlers defences did just enough to clear the danger.

As we raced towards the break, Edwards set out in search of his hat-trick, collecting the ball in the box before sending a right-footed curling effort well wide of the Rovers goal.

The Saddlers did, however, make it three before the referee's whistle blew, as Morris picked up a loose ball and drove into the box, lashing a fierce right-footed strike into the far corner to put his side three goals ahead at the interval.

3 - 0

Beestin got the second half underway, with both sides returning to the field unchanged after the break. Doncaster won a corner mere moments into the half as they sought a route back into the game, prompting Leahy to put the ball behind, but Beestin's ball in was easily dealt with by the Walsall defences.

There was a brief halt to proceedings as Leahy went down requiring treatment in the fiftieth minute, but he was soon up and able to continue.

With fifty two minutes on the clock, Rovers opted to make their first change of the evening, replacing Rodney Kongolo with James Coppinger.

Moments after the Doncaster substitution was completed, George Dobson floated a corner kick into the area, which was met by the head of Jack Fitzwater, but the West Bromwich Albion loannee guided his effort narrowly wide of the mark.

As we reached the hour mark, the Saddlers made their first substitution, introducing Amadou Bakayoko into the fray in place of Justin Shaibu. Doncaster also took the opportunity to make a double change to their line-up, as Niall Mason and Alex Kiwomya took the places of Luke McCullough and Matty Blair for the final half hour.

The Saddlers continued to press when the mood took them, though the urgency was gone from the game, and in the sixty eighth minute were unlucky not to find their fourth as Oztumer lifted the ball over the top for Devlin who raced into the box and took aim, but the full-back was unable to keep his effort down and the ball sailed high over the bar.

Three minutes later, had more luck as Oztumer played Bakayoko through one-on-on and the big striker didn't disappoint as he calmly slid the ball past Lawlor and into the back of the net to put his side four goals ahead.

In the seventy eighth minute, the Saddlers opted to make their second change of the evening, with Julien Ngoy taking the place of Erhun Oztumer for the run-in.

Four minutes later, after a spell of Doncaster possession in-front of the Walsall goal, the Saddlers opted to make their third and final change of the night, as Flo Cuvelier was introduced in place of Joe Edwards.

Walsall continued to press as time ebbed away, but Lawlor did well to deny Morris in the eighty fourth minute, holding his low effort, moments after Ngoy saw a shot blocked.

Doncaster finally found a way through the Walsall defences in the eighty seventh minute, ensuring that, once again, the Saddlers would not enjoy a clean-sheet, as Roberts was beaten by Tommy Rowe at close range.

In the ninetieth minute, Doncaster were awarded a penalty as Andy Boyle was pulled down in the box. Mason stepped up and slotted the ball home to put his side to within two goals of the Saddlers.

The visiting side continued to press as four additional minutes were played out, but they were unable to convert any further chances and it all proved to be too little, too late for Rovers. Disappointing for the home side to concede two late goals after going four goals to the good earlier in the game, but a superb result in any case, and one which sees the Saddlers climb to fifteenth position in the League One table.

4 - 2
Edwards (22')
Edwards (24')
Morris (45+1)
Bakayoko (71')
Rowe (87')
Mason PEN (90+1')

Attendance: 3,514 (282)
Referee: John Brooks

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