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Development Squad

Development Squad: Walsall 0-1 Doncaster Rovers

13 March 2018

The Saddlers suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at Ray Hall Lane this afternoon as Issam Ben-Khemis's long-range strike proved the difference in this Central League game.

Both sides went with strong line-ups - The Saddlers starting with Flo Cuvelier, Justin Shaibu and Maz Kouhyar, while Rovers opted to start with forwards Alfie May and Andy Williams, as well as defender Tyler Garrett.

The Saddlers nearly took the lead through on-loan Brentford striker Shaibu, who rose highest in the box to meet Liam Kinsella's right-wing cross but could only direct his header straight at keeper Louis Jones.

That effort came in the 10th minute and in the 11th, Rovers would take the lead. There looked nothing on for BEN-KHEMIS when he took the ball down 30 yards from goal - but the Tunisian forward unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot that nestled in the top-right corner, giving keeper Brandon Ganley no chance.

Rovers increased the pressure having taken the lead, with May seeing a similar long-range effort cannon back off the crossbar before Williams struck the post from a tight angle.

The Saddlers improved after the break, with captain Will Shorrock taking the ball in the box after good build-up play, firing from close range and hitting the base of the post via a deflection. 

Tobias Hayles-Docherty received the ball from a loose clearance thereafter, and his cross from the right byline curled over Jones and hit the woodwork for the second time in 20 seconds.

Ganley had to be alert on 66 minutes, getting down low to his right to save a long-range drive from Morgan James, minutes before Kouhyar curled a 25-yard effort at goal with Jones right behind it.

Milan Butterfield replaced the injured Cody Fisher midway through the second half and impressed, coming close twice from Kouhyar corners to heading in an equaliser - nodding wide in the first instance and then finding the gloves of Jones.

The Saddlers could not make the breakthrough and Rovers ran out 1-0 winners, despite the best efforts of Ward's men.

SADDLERS: Ganley, Kinsella, Kendrick, Cockerill-Mollett, Fisher (Butterfield 59), Hayles-Docherty, Cuvelier (Sangha 67), Flanagan, Shorrock, Kouhyar, Shaibu (Candlin 67). Subs not used: Dawe, Peters.

ROVERS: Jones, James, Horton, Fletcher, Garratt, Foulkes, Kongolo (Townrow), Prior (C), May, Ben-Khemis (Morris), Williams (Scattergood). Subs not used: Baldock-Smith, Boocock.

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