Match Report: Walsall 2 Doncaster Rovers 1 Match Report: Walsall 2 Doncaster Rovers 1
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Walsall 2 Doncaster Rovers 1

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' season-ending clash with Doncaster Rovers.
Walsall's final game of the 2022/23 campaign saw them play host to Doncaster Rovers, with the Saddlers looking to earn their first win in ten league games.

With several contracts set to expire, and a potential new manager to impress, the players were tasked with ending the season with a positive performance ahead of what will be a busy summer in WS1.

Walsall began the game brightly, but it was Doncaster who created the first chance on goal of the afternoon, as three minutes into the contest, Zain Westbrooke found space to shoot from twenty-five yards out, with Saddlers shot-stopper, Jackson Smith fumbling the save before gathering at the second time of asking.

The Saddlers had soon worked the ball back to the other end though, with Tom Knowles setting up Matt Stevens in the seventh minute, but the strikers effort from close range sailed wide of the target. The Saddlers continued to press, with Knowles going close himself just two minutes later.

The hosts continued to enjoy a bright spell, with Conor Wilkinson playing in Knowles in the eleventh minute, but Rovers 'keeper, Louis Jones was alert to the danger and ushered his effort out for a corner, which came to nothing.

Jones had more to do, in the fourteenth minute, as Isaac Hutchinson cut the ball back for Stevens, whose powerful strike from close range was well blocked by the alert 'keeper.

The game settled a little as it continued, but twenty minutes into the contest, Doncaster's Kyle Hurst found a way through on goal, but after some good work to get into the box, his effort on goal sailed wide of the target.

Things settled again after that effort, with little action of note until the game was paused in the twenty-seventh minute, to allow Liam Gordon to receive attention from the medical personnel. Fortunately for the Saddlers, he was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

Doncaster were presented with a chance to open the scoring in the thirty-third minute, as Westbrooke played in Charlie Seaman, but the midfielder's effort from the edge of the area was blocked.

There was another brief halt to proceedings ten minutes before the break, allowing Joe Low to receive treatment, but it was quickly determined he would be fine to continue, and play resumed.

There was little action of note during the final ten minutes of the half, though with forty-three minutes on the clock, Hutchinson worked himself into space, before firing over from twenty yards out.

The Saddlers continued to enjoy a brighter spell, as they looked to take a lead into the break, with Gordon crossing the ball in for Knowles in the forty-fifth minute, but the midfielder's headed effort was easily saved by Jones.

Three additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but there was little further action of note, and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

HALF-TIME
WALSALL 0-0 DONCASTER

The teams returned unchanged after the break and the game got back underway. Walsall began the second-half brightly, with Knowles doing well to bring the ball down in the forty-ninth minute, but his effort on goal from fifteen yards out sailed wide of the target.

Walsall continued to press, with Hutchinson playing in Stevens in the fifty-first minute, but the strikers effort from inside the area hit the side-netting.

A brief pause in proceedings followed, whilst Harrison Biggins received attention from the Rovers medical team, but he was eventually able to get to his feet and rejoin the action.

Ten minutes into the second period, Walsall went close to opening the scoring, but Hutchinson's deflected effort was well saved by Jones, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

With fifty-seven minutes on the clock, Walsall found the breakthrough, as Gordon crossed the ball to Wilkinson, who fired home from the centre of the box, to secure his third goal of the season.

Doncaster looked to respond quickly to falling behind, but Aidan Barlow was unable to beat Smith in the Walsall goal as he chested a Jack Degruchy cross goal-wards on the hour mark.

Rovers opted to make their first change of the afternoon in the sixty-fifth minute, with Todd Miller making way for Jack Goodman.

Three minutes later, a second Rovers substitution followed, as Jack Degruchy was replaced by James Maxwell.

Harrison Biggins received the first yellow card of the game, twenty minutes from time, as he was cautioned after getting involved in an argument.

Rovers won a corner in the seventy-first minute, as Manny Monthe blocked a shot from Biggins, but nothing would come of the flag-kick, as the ball eventually fell to Seaman, whose effort from outside the area was well blocked by a Walsall defender.

Walsall extended their lead in the seventy-fourth minute, as Stevens played in Hutchinson, who duly fired home.

As we neared the final ten minutes of the season, Doncaster chose to make their third and final change of the afternoon, with Adam Long making way for Joseph Olowu. Walsall also opted to introduce some fresh legs, as Matty Stevens made way for Jamille Matt.

The visiting side felt they should have been awarded a penalty nine minutes from time, as Goodman was felled inside the area, but the referee was unmoved by their appeals and waved play on.

Doncaster pulled a goal back in the eighty-fourth minute, as Smith turned a Tommy Rowe effort behind for a corner, which eventually fell to Bobby Faulkner who fired home from the edge of the area.

Five minutes from time, Walsall chose to make their second change of the afternoon, with Conor Wilkinson making way for Liam Kinsella.

Rovers continued to press, as they looked to level the scores, with Barlow firing an effort wide from twenty-five yards in the eighty-seventh minute.

With eighty-nine minutes on the clock, Walsall opted to make their final two changes of the season, with Oisin McEntee and Tom Knowles being replaced by Donervon Daniels and Ronan Maher.

Seven additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time Hurst saw an effort sail wide of the target. There was little further action of note though, and the game was brought to it's conclusion with the Saddlers winning by two-goals-to-one.

FULL-TIME
WALSALL 2-1 DONCASTER
WILKINSON (57')
HUTCHINSON (74')
FAULKNER (84')

AT POUNDLAND BESCOT STADIUM
REFEREE FARAI HALLAM
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