Match Report: Doncaster Rovers 3 Walsall 1 Match Report: Doncaster Rovers 3 Walsall 1

Match Report: Doncaster Rovers 3 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky bet League One clash between Doncaster Rovers and Walsall.
The Saddlers arrived at this weekend' clash in desperate need of a positive result as, following three defeats in a row, they sat inside the relegation zone with several of their rivals beginning to find form.

Doncaster Rovers got the game underway, and within two minutes the hosts had won a penalty thanks to a late challenge from George Dobson on Mallik Wilks. John Marquis stepped up to take the spot-kick, which he duly converted with a low strike as Liam Roberts guessed the wrong way.

With just four minutes on the clock, Doncaster doubled their advantage, with Wilks given far too much space to race forwards, cut the ball onto his left foot and fire a curling effort into the far corner.

A shambolic start to the game for Walsall, who should have been awarded a penalty themselves in the fifth minute, as Dan Scarr played the ball into the box where pressure from Josh Gordon forced Rovers ‘keeper, Marko Marosi to fumble his catch before felling the Saddlers striker, but the referee was unmoved by the visitors appeals and waved play on.

The early pace slowed a little as the match continued, with both sides enjoying time on the ball without creating much going forwards. With twelve minutes played, the Saddlers were unlucky not to score, as Corey Blackett-Taylor picked out Zeli Ismail at the back post, but the header goal-wards was cleared off the line by the Rovers defences.

The resulting corner was played into the box by Luke Leahy, and after a game of pinball broke out, Gordon somehow managed to poke the ball home to bring the Saddlers to within a goal of their hosts.

The game calmed somewhat following the Walsall goal, with much of the action taking place in the midfield area, until, twenty minutes in, Paul Downing looked to add to the hosts tally with a headed effort from the centre of the box, but Roberts was well placed in the Saddlers goal and gathered with relative ease.

Five minutes later, Roberts was again called into action as the hosts broke forwards, but the Saddlers shot-stopper was equal to Wilks’ shot.

Blackett-Taylor forced a Walsall corner in the thirty-first minute, from which Gordon saw an effort blocked, but a clash of heads inside the Rovers box as the ball came in saw a brief pause in proceedings whilst Marquis received treatment. The striker was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

Six minutes before the break, Doncaster were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position, which Danny Andrew duly converted, putting his side two goals clear of the Saddlers once more.

The Saddlers should have reduced the gap again just a minute later, as an Ismail cross fell to Gordon yards from goal, with the striker seeing an effort blocked on the line before Isaiah Osbourne pounced on the loose ball and cannoned a header off the crossbar.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to add to their score and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with Rovers leading by three-goals-to-one.

3 - 1

The sides returned unchanged after the break and Walsall got the action back underway. The hosts started the second-half brightly, with Kieran Sadlier picking out Wilks in the area just a minute in, but the strikers effort on goal sailed wide of Roberts upright.

The Saddlers again felt they should have been awarded a penalty just three minutes into the half, as Gordon was felled in the box, but once more the referee was unmoved by their appeals and play continued.

The home side continued to look dangerous, with Sadlier going close himself in the forty-eighth minute, with a curling effort aimed at the far corner, but the ball sailed over the bar without troubling the man between the sticks. Moments later, captain, Tommy Rowe saw an effort sailed of the upright as Rovers continued to press.

With just fifty-two minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the afternoon, bringing on striker, Andy Cook in place of Isaiah Osbourne.

Cook was quick to get involved, knocking the ball down for Blackett-Taylor just a minute after entering the fray, with Corey’s low effort on goal being tipped round the post for a corner, which sadly came to nothing.

Sadlier continued to look lively for the hosts, looking to set Wilks up in the fifty-fourth minute, but the headed effort from Wilks sailed narrowly wide of the post. Back up at the other end, moments later, Ismail saw an effort from the edge of the box beaten clear by Marosi before the hosts raced back to the other end where they were awarded a free-kick as Leahy brought Wilks crashing to the ground, though nothing came of the set-piece.

Sixty-four minutes into the contest, the hosts opted to make their first change of the afternoon, replacing the lively Kieran Sadlier with Tyler Smith.

Just four minutes later, the Saddlers chose to make a second change to their line-up, introducing Morgan Ferrier in place of Zeli Ismail.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying time on the ball, whilst struggling to break forwards.

In the seventy-seventh minute, the hosts did manage to work their way into shooting range, but Rowe’s right-footed effort was well blocked before the Saddlers broke through Blackett-Taylor, with Gordon drawing a fine save from Marosi.

Nine minutes from time, Doncaster opted to make their second change of the game, with James Coppinger being replaced by Lirak Hasani.

Just two minutes passed before the Saddlers followed suit, making their third and final change of the afternoon. Corey Blackett-Taylor the man to make way as Aramide Oteh entered the fray.

The Saddlers saw a good chance go begging shortly after the change, with a lovely cross from Gordon picking out Cook, whose headed effort was deflected over the bar, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

With just three minutes of the regulation ninety remaining, Rovers chose to make their final substitution of the match, replacing Mallik Wilks with Alfie May for the run-in.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, during which time the Saddlers won a corner, which fell to Gordon whose effort from just outside the box sailed wide of the post.

Luke Leahy picked up the only yellow card of the game in the ninety-fourth minute for a foul on May. That would be the last real action of the match though as the full-time whistle was blown with the hosts three-goals-to-one lead still intact. A disappointing afternoon for the travelling Saddlers, who were always up against it after Rovers whirlwind start to the day, but who yet again failed to take their chances when presented with them.

3 - 1
Marquis [P] (3')
Wilks (4')
Andrew (39')
Gordon (14')

Attendance: 7,630 (462)
Referee: Graham Salisbury
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