Doncaster Rovers 3 Walsall 1: Rovers strengthen grip on sixth spot with victory over Saddlers

Doncaster Rovers burst out of the blocks against Walsall to complete back-to-back home wins and strengthen their grip on sixth spot.

Sunday, 31st March 2019, 1:23 pm
Rovers v Walsall

John Marquis converted a penalty and Mallik Wilks fired home to put Rovers firmly in control with just four minutes on the clock.

Josh Gordon pulled one back for the spirited Saddlers but Danny Andrew’s freekick sealed a second win at the Keepmoat Stadium in the space of five days.

The victory moved Rovers five points clear of seventh-placed Peterborough United who do not have a game this weekend, while Coventry City and Blackpool both drew.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Rovers took three minutes to break the deadlock - just like they did on Tuesday night against Bristol Rovers.

Referee Graham Salisbury ruled that Wilks was brought down inside the box by George Dobson and Marquis sent Liam Roberts the wrong way from the spot.

Less than 60 seconds later Wilks slalomed inside from the right flank and found the far corner with a superb finish.

The visitors might have gone into their shells but responded well and halved the deficit after 14 minutes when Luke Leahy’s corner was not cleared and Gordon poked home from close range.

Rovers were far from convincing in their general play but regained their two-goal advantage six minutes on 39 minutes when Andrew fired home an angled free kick from 30 yards out.

Walsall almost responded straight away but Gordon’s effort was blocked on the line and Isaiah Osbourne saw his header come back off the bar.

The game was wide open following the re-start as Kieran Sadlier and Tommy Rowe went close for the hosts, while Marko Marosi made a smart save to deny Corey Blackett-Taylor and then parried an effort from Zeli Ismail.

Paul Downing headed just over from a corner during a more sedate period of the game.

Marosi had to make another excellent save to keep out Ismail’s snapshot, while Rowe saw a powerful hit parried by Roberts.

Rovers: Marosi, Blair, Downing, Butler, Andrew, Rowe, Crawford, Coppinger (Hasani 82), Sadlier (Smith 64), Wilks (May 87), Marquis. Subs not used: Jones, Anderson Lewis, Beestin.

Walsall: Roberts, Devlin, Scarr, Guthrie, Leahy, Kinsella, Osbourne (Cook 52), Dobson, Ismail (Ferrier 68), Blackett-Taylor (Oteh 83), Gordon. Subs not used: Slinn, Edwards, Fitzwater, Norman.

Referee: Graham Salisbury

Attendance: 7,630