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Doncaster 0-2 Walsall - Report

Walsall continued their outstanding form and answered manager Michael Flynn's call for more away wins with a second half super show at the Eco-Power Stadium.

Tom Knowles celebrates his goal (Owen Russell)
Tom Knowles celebrates his goal (Owen Russell)

Goals from Tom Knowles and Danny Johnson gave them a deserved win against an albeit poor Doncaster side whose fans were leaving well before the end after their side barely managed a shot all game.

Knowles converted a pinpoint cross from Isaac Hutchinson and Johnson stole the ball just inside the opposition half, took it on and round the goalkeeper and scored to effectively finish the game off

It was a perfect start to the weekend for the Saddlers fans who can now enjoy the World Cup action knowing their team are above Rovers in the table and on a great run of form which sees them increasingly getting closer to the play off positions.

This game was too close to call at the start, with Walsall one point behind Doncaster on 27, eleventh in the table and both clubs looking for the win to push on for the play offs.

Liam Kinsella battles for the ball (Owen Russell)

But Walsall were unbeaten in five league games, seven including the FA Cup, and have shown great quality in those. Doncaster had won two and drew two of the last four but coming off the back of a 3-0 defeat in their last outing, at Colchester.

That may have told as Walsall never looked in danger, and shaded a poor first half with Knowles outstanding and the defence looking rock solid the few times they were called upon

Boss Michael Flynn had called for his men to win more games away, on the back of a great run at home and this is probably one he would have been looking at for them to get three points, even with Doncaster one place above,

Knowles had the first shot of the game on 14 minutes which goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell was equal to.

Mitchell's opposite number Owen Evans was only called into action once on 24 minutes when blocking a shot from Kyle Knoyle after a clever lofted pass by Doncaster captain Adam Clayton had split the Walsall defence and found him at the near post.

Jack Earing goes in for the ball (Owen Russell)

Just before that, Tom Knowles and Danny Johnson had combined well in the box with a neat one two, Johnson setting up Knowles who put it wide under pressure from Mitchell.

It was no surprise though when the half ended goalless and Walsall had to defend in the early stages after the break, Doncaster forcing two corners with captain Adam Clayton taking both and from the second when the ball came back to him he produced a cross which was just headed over by George Miller.

But if Knowles was outstanding in the first half he got his rewards on 52 minutes when he crashed the ball home from close range. The increasingly impressive Isaac Hutchinson beat his marker down the left and put a pinpoint low cross to the edge of the area which was easily converted to warm the Saddlers fans behind the goal who had made the trip north.

Danny Johnson celebrates in front of the travelling fans after grabbing a second (Owen Russell)

Knowles, who had received treatment in the first half, was taken off shortly after for FA Cup match winner Douglas James-Taylor to come off the bench and he slotted in well with some good early touches.

Jack Earing, making his first start since recovering from injury, had a chance on 52 minutes but it went wide of the left hand post. Liam Bennett, Another player back in the starting line up after missing the FA Cup game altogether, became the creative force when Knowles went off - Doncaster in contrast were struggling to get anything going, though the Walsall defence was strong.

And Walsall continued to look dangerous going forward but it was a defensive error which led to their second goal. Ro Shaun Williams was caught dithering just in his own half by Johnson who took it off him and kept his cool to round Mitchell and despatch his 13th goal of the season to effectively seal the game for The Saddlers.

Walsall players celebrate netting a second (Owen Russell)

That was pretty much game over for Doncaster, though Owen Evans had to make three good saves towards the end, including one which was parried out to substitute Kieran Agard who should have finished at the near post.


Doncaster Rovers: (3-4-3) Mitchell; Knoyle; Maxwell (Taylor 78) ; Anderson; Williams; Clayton (c); Miller; Rowe; Biggins; Woltman (Agard 78); Close

Subs not used: Jones (GK)' Olowu; Taylor; Long; Seaman

Walsall (3-4-1-2)

Evans; White; Gordon; Daniels (c); Monthe; Kinsella; Knowles (James-Taylor 60); Earing (Comley 84) ; Hutchinson; Bennett; Johnson (Williams 84)

Subs not used@: Maddox;McEntee; Cashman; Williams

Att: 6,110

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