Match Report: Walsall 3 Doncaster Rovers 1 Match Report: Walsall 3 Doncaster Rovers 1
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Walsall 3 Doncaster Rovers 1

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Doncaster Rovers.
Walsall's 2023/24 Sky Bet League Two season continued on Saturday afternoon as they opened the month of March with a home clash against Doncaster Rovers.

Both teams took some time to settle into the game, with neither side able to trouble their opposition defences during the opening minutes of the contest. 
Walsall won the first corner of the match in the ninth minute, as a Tom Knowles effort was turned behind by Doncaster defender, James Maxwell, however, nothing would come of the flag-kick.

The first real chance of the game came in the eighteenth minute, and resulted in a goal, as Liam Gordon delivered a cross onto the head of Josh Gordon, who nodded past Doncaster 'keeper, Thimothee Lo-Tutala, into the bottom corner to open the scoring.

Things settled again following the goal, with both sides enjoying spells on the ball, without troubling either goalkeeper.

The Saddlers could have doubled their advantage in the twenty-sixth minute, as a mix up between Lo-Tutala and Tom Anderson almost allowed Jamille Matt in, with the defender heading the ball towards goal, but the 'keeper was able to scramble backwards and get a hand to it just in time to deny the striker an almost certain goal.

Walsall continued to grow into the game, creating another chance to double their lead in the thirty-fourth minute, as Brandon Comley threaded the ball through to Jack Earing, who did well to create space for himself before firing an effort in from close range, but Lo-Tutala was well positioned to gather.

Saddlers shot-stopper, Jackson Smith was brought into action for the first time in the thirty-sixth minute, as Maxwell lofted a cross into towards the back post for Harrison Biggins, but the midfielder's effort on goal was ultimately an easy save for the Walsall 'keeper.

The hosts were quick to work the ball back up to the other end, as Knowles looked to cross the ball into the box for Matt in the thirty-seventh minute, but the striker was just unable to get a foot to the ball and the chance went begging.

Doncaster almost levelled the scores in the thirty-eighth minute, as the ball fell kindly for Owen Bailey, who curled an effort goal-wards from the edge of the area, but Smith was alert to the danger and made the save.

The visiting side went close again just three minutes later, but after a scramble inside the area the Saddlers ultimately managed to somehow get the ball away to clear the danger.

Up at the other end, the Saddlers looked to extend their lead, but Emmanuel Adegboyega's forty-third minute shot from distance sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

One additional minute was 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 Walsall leading by one-goal-to-nil.


The teams returned unchanged after the break, and the action got back underway. Doncaster saw much of the ball early in the second-half, but they were unable to make the pressure pay, as the Saddlers defences stood firm, preventing them from getting a shot away.

Nine minutes after the re-start, Walsall opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with Josh Gordon making way for Mo Faal.

Walsall were presented with a chance to extend their lead in the fifty-sixth minute, with Isaac Hutchinson finding himself through one-on-one with the Rovers 'keeper, but Lo-Tutala managed to get the ball away to keep his side just one goal behind.

Unperturbed, the hosts continued to press, with Knowles and Hutchinson combining well in the fifty-eighth minute, to work the ball to Matt, who picked up the ball close to the penalty spot and fired goal-wards. Unfortunately the forward was unable to keep the ball down and it sailed over the crossbar.

With sixty-two minutes on the clock, Doncaster levelled the scores, as Jamie Sterry crossed the ball into the area for Kyle Hurst, who fired past Smith from close range.

James Maxwell was shown the first yellow card of the game in the sixty-third minute, as he was cautioned after arguing with the officials.

Walsall almost restored their earlier lead in the sixty-sixth minute, winning a corner kick which was swung into the area for Hutchinson, but the Walsall number eight saw his effort deflected narrowly wide of the target by Maxwell.

The hosts had more luck from the resulting flag-kick as Hutchinson delivered the ball to Earing, who fired a powerful effort into the top corner to restore his sides earlier advantage.

Tom Anderson became the second player to see yellow, as he was cautioned following a foul on Matt, in the seventy-first minute.

Fifteen minutes from time, Rovers made their first changes of the afternoon, with Kyle Hurst, Owen Bailey and James Maxwell making way for Billy Waters, Zain Westbrooke and Tommy Rowe.

Walsall extended their advantage again in the eightieth minute, as Taylor Allen swung the ball into the area from a corner kick, finding former Rovers man, Faal, who picked out the bottom corner with a headed effort from close range.

Doncaster responded to the goal by making two further changes to their line-up, with Harrison Biggins and Richard Wood making way for Maxime Biamou and Joe Olowu, in the eighty-second minute.

Joe Olowu became the third player to see yellow, just three minutes after his introduction into the game, as he was cautioned following a foul on Faal.

Walsall thought they had secured a fourth goal in the eighty-sixth minute, as David Okagbue found the back of the net, but he was adjudged to have been in an offside position and the goal was chalked off.

Two minutes from time, the Saddlers chose to make their second change of the afternoon, with Jamille Matt making way for Douglas James-Taylor.

Billy Waters joined those having seen their names taken by the referee, as he was cautioned for a foul on Adegboyega in the ninetieth minute.

Five additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time, Rovers picked up their fifth booking of the afternoon, as Jamie Sterry was cautioned following a foul on Liam Gordon.

Walsall chose to make two late changes to their line-up, four minutes into added time, with Jack Earing and Isaac Hutchinson departing in favour of Ryan Stirk and Ross Tierney.

That would be the final action of note, and the game was brought to it's conclusion with Walsall winning by three-goals-to-one. Another good display from the Saddlers, who took their chances well and defended stoically.

J.GORDON (18')
EARING (67')
FAAL (80')
HURST (62')

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