Walsall 3-0 Doncaster Rovers - Report
27/09/2014 - 15:00
A dominant second half display, accompanied by some clinical finishing, saw the Saddlers record back to back home wins for the first time since January, and record the first time we`ve scored three goals in consecutive home games since February 2013.
It wasn`t just the quantity of goals that will please the home faithful, but the intelligence and quality of them too. The Saddlers took the lead right on the stroke of half time after what had been a mostly forgettable first half, mainly down to the fact neither side had mustered a shot on target prior to the 4th officials board going up. I had my half time Facebook status ready to post - "HT: 0-0. Who ever could have predicted that?" - when the Saddlers were awarded a free kick. Let`s just wait, I thought, and avoid looking silly if we actually score.
It was a wise decision as a well worked training ground routine saw Forde thread a ball down the outside of the visitors wall for Sawyers to run on to. His one touch centre found Baxendale who jinked, beat his man, and fired left footed into the corner of the Doncaster net giving the visiting goalkeeper no chance. The half time whistle almost immediately followed meaning we went into the break in front for the first time this season.
The second half however saw a much more dominant display. Bradshaw, returning to the starting line-up after his hamstring injury sustained against Preston, was unlucky not to win a penalty in the opening moments after he nipped in to dispossess Rovers left back Cedric Ovina and was brought down. It looked a nailed on penalty but referee Scott Mathieson, who to be fair may have been unsighted, waved away the appeals. It could have been a pivotal moment however as Ovina had already been booked, and could consider himself lucky to still be on the pitch.
As it turned out it didn`t really matter as just five minutes later Bradshaw doubled the Saddlers lead, stabbing home from eight yards from another low Sawyers cross for his 5th goal of the season.
Just seven minutes later the game was as good as over, as another intelligent free kick saw us go three goals to the good. Bradshaw won a free kick just outside the box and, with both Butler and Baxendale causing havoc on the left hand side of the visitors wall, Forde stepped up and slammed it the other side, the ball bouncing in off the post.
It saw the end to the scoring, and the end of the chances really, as we kept possession for the final 20 minutes and saw the game out professionally and with a fifth clean sheet in ten games. It`s difficult to say if we really have turned the corner, but with 8pts from 5 games in September, our only defeat in the month being the Rochdale debacle, and the majority of our injured players returning to fitness, things do seem a lot rosier than they did a few weeks ago.