Saddlers down Rovers at Keepmoat Stadium.
Walsall 2 (Cook 3, Hiwula 70)
Saturday 31st January 2015
Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Attendance: 6,089 (382 Walsall)
Two goals in either half secured Walsall all three points as Doncaster Rovers suffered their first league defeat since mid-December.
Walsall got off to a flying start winning an early corner and Anthony Forde’s set piece found Jordan Cook at the near post whose volley found the top left corner despite the best efforts of Rovers goalkeeper Stephen Bywater, to give the visitors the lead inside three minutes.
Rovers almost hit back through captain of the day Andy Butler. After Forrester was brought down on the right flank and awarded a free-kick, he whipped in a great ball in for the former Saddler, but he was denied by a super save from Richard O’Donnell.
Dickov’s men continued to press and inside a minute Dean Furman’s glancing header was cleared off the line by Walsall defender Ben Purkiss.
The impressive Forde then went close to extending Walsall’s lead, his 25-yard effort deflected and was only denied by the crossbar.
Rovers had another chance inside 30 minutes, Curtis Main did brilliantly to tee up Forrester on the edge of the box, but Purkiss was once again the defender to keep Walsall in the lead.
From the second ball of a cleared set piece, the ball fell to Walsall’s Ashley Grimes in the penalty area who struck at goal on the turn, but Jamie McCombe’s great block five yards from the Rovers goal denied the forward.
Half Time: Doncaster Rovers 0-2 Walsall
Manager Dickov made two substitutions at the interval, introducing Nathan Tyson and Kyle Bennett, looking to shake things up in the second half.
That move almost paid dividends as Rovers made a great start to the second period, Uche Ikpeazu was only denied by a great double save from O’Donnell.
Harry Forrester then had a good opportunity, his effort from inside the box looked to be heading for the top corner, but O’Donnell once again denied Rovers.
In the 50th minute Ikpeazu then went so close to a home debut goal, his curling effort from the edge of the box was only denied by the post.
Despite only being on the field less than four minutes, debutant Jordy Hiwula doubled Walsall’s lead, Jordan Cook whipped in a great ball from the right flank and the Manchester City loan man’s great header went in off the left post.
Ikpezu had a great chance to pull a goal back for Rovers, the ball fell kindly to him in the box, but he could only guide his shot on the turn over the crossbar.
Late on Hiwula had a great chance to seal the victory for the Saddlers, Jamie McCombe lost his balance, but the forward could only fire straight at Bywater.
Full Time: Doncaster Rovers 0-2 Walsall
Team line ups-
Rovers: Bywater, Wabara, Stevens, McCombe, Butler (c), Wellens, Keegan (Robinson 78), Furman (Bennett 46), Forrester, Ikpeazu, Main (Tyson 46).
Subs not used: Marosi, Robinson, Middleton, Evina, Lund
Cautions: Keegan 69.
Walsall: O'Donnell, Purkiss, Taylor, O'Connor, Downing, A.Chambers (C), Sawyers, Cain, Cook, Grimes (Hiwula 66), Forde
Subs not used: Baxendale, MacGillivray, Preston, Flanagan, Henry, Murphy, Hiwula
Cautions: Cooke 9, Taylor 68.