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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:45 12th September 2015
By  Daniel Briggs

WALSALL 2-0 DONCASTER

Tom Bradshaw’s stunning late double gave Walsall a hard-fought victory over managerless Doncaster.

The Saddlers’ top-scorer broke the deadlock with five minutes remaining when he rifled a right-foot volley into the top corner.

He then secured the win in the second minute of stoppage time, with an exquisite lob over Doncaster keeper Thorsten Stuckmann.

Bradshaw’s brace – his sixth and seventh goals of the campaign – moved Walsall back up to second in League One.

Dean Smith made three changes to the side that lost 1-0 against Bury last weekend.

Milan Lalkovic came in, along with returning internationals, Neil Etheridge and Jason Demetriou, while Reece Flanagan, Anthony Forde and Craig MacGillivray dropped to the bench.

And it was Cyprus left-back Demetriou who had the game’s first opportunity on eight minutes.

Andy Taylor delivered a menacing first-time cross from the left, Demetriou nipped in ahead of his man but, stretching, he could only divert his volley over the bar.

Doncaster almost took the lead two minutes later, but Etheridge produced a superb save low to his right to keep out James Coppinger’s acrobatic bicycle kick.

The Philippines international then made a more routine stop to hold Cameron Stewart’s low attempt from outside the box.

On 18 minutes, Romaine Sawyers threaded a precise pass through the visitors’ defence for Bradshaw to chase, but Stuckmann raced off his line to gather at the striker's feet.

Shortly after, Curtis Main drove purposefully at the Saddlers’ backline before firing inches wide with a fierce shot from 20 yards.

Doncaster, who had Rob Jones in caretaker charge following Paul Dickov's sacking on Tuesday, looked the more likely to open the scoring.

Stewart cut inside and saw a shot deflected for Etheridge to claim comfortably.

And seven minutes before the break, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair struck a powerful 20-yard free-kick which Etheridge did well to push over.

HALF-TIME: WALSALL 0-0 DONCASTER

The excellent Etheridge had to be alert to keep the match scoreless at the start of the second period - making a fine finger-tip stop from Andy Williams’ venomous half-volley.

At the other end, Stuckmann made an impressive save of his own, diving full length to push away Taylor’s bending 25-yard drive.

With the match seemingly heading for a draw, Walsall broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion on 85 minutes.

Kieron Morris’ low drive was blocked by a defender, with the ball sitting up invitingly for Bradshaw to volley into the top corner from an acute angle.

It was almost 2-0 moments later.

Sawyers’ long pass over the defence found Bradshaw, but the 23-year-old dragged a low angled drive narrowly wide of the far post.

Doncaster pushed for an equaliser but again they were repelled by Etheridge – the sponsors' Man of the Match – as he dived to his left to push away Taylor-Sinclair's rocket.

In the second minute of added time, Walsall wrapped up the points.

Bradshaw raced clear after being played in by Jordan Cook and, coolness personified, lifted an exquisite right-footed lob over the advancing Stuckmann.

FULL-TIME: WALSALL 2-0 DONCASTER

Team: Etheridge, Demetriou, Taylor, O’Connor, Downing, Chambers ©, Mantom, Bradshaw, Sawyers, Henry (Morris 66'), Lalkovic (Cook 73').

Subs not used: Baxendale, Forde, MacGillivray, Preston, Flanagan.

Attendance: 4,127 (392 Doncaster supporters).

    QUICK FACTS

    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.