Saturday, 9th February 2013 at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Npower League 1
DONCASTER ROVERS 1 Walsall 2
Referee – Mr James Adcock
Attendance – 7,013 (450 visitors)
A fine but cold afternoon greeted Walsall when they arrived to play on a pitch showing signs of wear and rugby lines. The Rovers made two changes from last Saturday, James Harper replacing the injured David Syers and Billy Paynter coming in for Kyle Bennett, who drops to the bench. The visitors were unchanged from their home win over Oldham Athletic last Saturday. The Rovers defended the North Stand end in the first half.
The Rovers kicked off but were immediately pushed back into their own half, where the referee awarded Walsall a free kick near their right corner flag. Taylor placed a good left foot cross into the six-yard box where BUTLER headed in from close range. The Rovers set about putting things right and put pressure on the visiting defence in a good spell that won the first corner of the game. Further pressure before the quarter hour brought another corner to the Rovers but they had not troubled the keeper so far. Then, on the quarter hour, a good cross from Quinn, on the right, was half cleared by a defender against Paynter and bounced off him and wide. The 16th minute, however, brought an equaliser for the Rovers. Cotterill crossed from the left for Brown, at the far post, to head back into the middle where PAYNTER bundled the ball into the net. A minute later and Cotterill was booked for diving in the penalty area. The Rovers continued to enjoy the better of the game but in a rare foray upfield in the 25th minute the visitors won a free kick about 25yards out in a central position. Taylor put it just wide of a post. Two minutes later and a free kick from the Rovers right by Cotterill went through the packed middle to Brown, who headed back and past the far post. As the last ten minutes came up the game evened out, with the Rovers looking the more dangerous on the attack. As the break came up the visitors had another free kick from the edge of the D, which Taylor put past the other post.
Half Time – Doncaster Rovers 1 Walsall 1
The visitors got the second half underway, with Baxendale going on a good run down the left but firing way past the far post. In the 49th minute the Rovers won a free kick on the far left of the 18yard line. Cotterill’s kick was palmed away by McLoughlin, Brown got a foot to it but the ball was blocked and from the rebound Brown’s header was saved by the keeper. Five minutes on and Paterson cut in from the Walsall left to shoot from the edge of the penalty area but put well wide of the far post. Just past the hour and a cross from the left by Spurr was met with a header from Brown that was deflected for a corner. Another corner followed but nothing came from them. A corner to the Saddlers came to nothing and straight to the other end where Coppinger got in a cross from the right that was headed wide by Brown under challenge by two defenders. Cotterill then got in a shot from 30yards on the right that thudded against the bar but a reflex header by Jones went wide. Back to the Rovers end and a stinging shot from 25yards by Mantom was beaten down and collected by Gary Woods. A couple of corners to Walsall were successfully defended before a good build-up between Spurr and Cotterill ended with the latter shooting wide from 25yards. In the 73rd minute a low drive from Mantom on the Walsall left was tipped round a post by a diving Woods. A corner to the Rovers came to nothing before Paterson hit a low shot that Woods saved diving to his right. Walsall were looking increasingly dangerous as the last ten minutes came up. In the 81st minute BRANDY cut in from the right past a couple of Rovers defenders and from 15yards drilled a low shot just inside the near post to put the Saddlers in the lead. A free kick on the Rovers left from Cotterill was deflected by the head of Brown but McLoughlin managed to get his left hand to it and put round the post. Following the corner to the Rovers the ball was cleared out to Paterson, who ran half the length of the pitch before winning a corner. Despite four minutes of added time the Rovers could not break free and were pushed on to the defensive leaving the Saddlers to collect all three points.
Result – Doncaster Rovers 1 (Paynter 16) Walsall 2 (Butler 2 Brandy 81)
Teams – ROVERS – Gary Woods; Paul Quinn, Jamie McCombe, Rob Jones ©, Tommy Spurr; David Cotterill, Paul Keegan, James Harper, James Coppinger; Chris Brown, Billy Paynter
Subs used – Lee Fowler for Keegan 65 mins; Kyle Bennett for Paynter 76 mins;
Subs not used – James Husband, Martin Woods, Emile Sinclair, Andy Griffin, Jon Maxted gk
Cautions – Cotterill 17 mins; Fowler 89 mins;
Walsall – Ian McLoughlin; Ben Purkiss, Paul Downing, Andy Butler ©, Andy Taylor; Febian Brandy, James Baxendale, Jamie Paterson, Adam Chambers; Will Grigg, Sam Mantom
Subs used – James Chambers for Purkiss 43 mins; Craig Westcarr for Baxendale 68 mins; Nicky Featherstone for Brandy 90 mins;
Subs not used – Dean Holden, Ashley Hemmings, George Bowerman, David Groff gk