Saturday, August 18, 2012 at the Bescot Stadium, Walsall
Football League 1
Walsall 0 DONCASTER ROVERS 3
Attendance – 4,205 (1,000 visitors)
Referee – Mr Mark Heywood
It was warm and cloudy, with the odd shower and a breeze blowing at the opening game in League 1 for the Rovers, their first game in that Division for four years. There were changes from the York game, with new players Jamie McCombe and Billy Paynter starting the game as well as David Syers. The Rovers defended the home end in the first half.
The Rovers started brightly, with Bennett crossing from the left for Syers at the far post to head back to the middle where Brown was nudged off the ball. Then, a good run by Hemmings through the middle for the home teambut his shot from 25yards was weak. In the 5th minute, Jones was cautioned for a tackle on Cuvelier but the home attack fizzled. The rovers went straight down the field for Paynter to get in a shot from the left edge of the area. Grof, the keeper could only dive to his left and palm it away for BROWN, under challenge, to force into the net from close range. This affront to Walsall put them on their mettle to attack Successive corners to the home team brought no reward. Then a sustained attack was ended by Gary Woods punching the ball away to Paterson, who fired into the sidenet. Hemmings went on another run before passing to Paterson, who again fired wide. Holden then headed over from a corner and Paterson had a twenty-five yarder saved. The Rovers had seen the ball during this period but they had been mostly on the defensive. In the 24th minute, a shot from Paterson on the home left was going for the far top corner of the net before Gary Woods tipped it away for another corner. Then, two minutes later the Rovers went two-up when COTTERILL, on the Rovers right about 40yards outsaw his lofted shot go over the keeper, who was off his line and drop just under the bar. Past the half hour and a corner to the Rovers was headed over the bar by Jones. The match had evened out now in regard to possession. Syers had a twenty-five yard effort deflected for a corner and five minutes later Bennett, on the Rovers left, fed Syers in the middle but he fired wide, Although Walsall played some neat football but the Rovers defence kept them at bay and their only real effort at this stage followed a free kick which Gary Woods punched out for corner. The break came with the Rovers leading by two clear goals.
Half Time – Walsall 0 Doncaster Rovers 2
The Rovers set the second half going but it was the home team who had first sight of goal in the 50th minute when Adam Chambers had a go from the right but put wide of the near post. A few minutes later and a corner to Walsall came to nothing. Then, in the 56th minute another wonderful goal extended the Rovers lead. Brown held up the ball from a long pass before feeding BENNETT on the left. He cut in and from the left edge of the penalty area lifted the ball into the far corner of the net. At the Rovers end, a cross from Purkiss on the home right was met with a volley by Adam Chambers but Gary Woods caught and held it well. Just after the hour both teams made substitutions. Walsall were still playing their good football but the Rovers were matching them. In the 70th minute Cuvelier shot over from a twenty-five yard free kick. The match was now being played out mostly in midfield, with the occasional effort on goal. A corner to the home team in the 75th minute had Gary Woods saving a header at the far post from Butler. Then Baxendale shot over from the right. The 79th minute saw a good cross from Cotterill on the Rovers left met with a firm header from Brown but Grof caught it well. Walsall tried hard to the final whistle but the Rovers were in the driving seat and took the spoils home with them.
An excellent performance from the Rovers, with some good football but most of all with some clinical finishing and goals to remember.
Result – Walsall 0 Doncaster Rovers 3
Teams – Walsall – David Grof; Ben Purkiss, Andy Butler, Dean Holden, James Chambers; Jamie Paterson, Adam Chambers, Nicky Featherstone, Ashley Hemmings; Florent Cuvelier, Will Grigg,
Subs used - Febien Brandy for Paterson 62 mins; James Baxendale for Hemmings 62 mins; George Bowerman for Brandy 68 mins;
Subs not used - Jake Jones, Malvind Benning, Paul Downing, James Walker gk
ROVERS – Gary Woods; Paul Quinn, Rob Jones, Jamie McCombe, Tommy Spurr; David Cotterill, David Syers, Martin Woods, Kyle Bennett; Billy Paynter, Chris Brown
Subs used - James Harper for Paynter 61 mins; James Coppinger for Bennett 71 mins;
Subs not used - James Husband, Jon Maxted gk
Caution – Jones 5 mins; Brown 41 mins; Cotterill 54 mins; Robbie Blake for Brown 81 mins;