The Saddlers unbeaten start to the league season ended with a whimper yesterday as Doncaster hammered us 4-1 and ended their poor record against us.
Dean Keates surprisingly reverted back to 4-4-2, a weird choice given Doncaster had three men in the middle and it was this decision you feel that cost us anything from the game – even with the incompetent performance of the referee Anthony Coggins.
If you felt Andy Haines or Trevor Kettle were the worst referees in the Football League well Anthony Coggins has just become enemy number one. A referee is meant to keep control of the game, however by sixty minutes the game had descended into chaos and ruined a good game between two decent sides.
The Saddlers took the lead just before twenty minutes as Ginnelly’s cross found the head of former Saddler Andy Butler and at that moment he must have forgotten what side he played for as his superb assist found Morgan Ferrier who nodded it into the net.
On first reflection Doncaster’s penalty shouldn’t have been given but watching the highlights back it’s clear to see that Leahy shouldn’t have his hands in that position – Marquis converted the penalty.
Most would have expected Anthony Coggins to take a half time breather, come out and stamp his authority on the game – he got worse.
Just after half time Isaiah Osbourne seemed to be struggling with his stomach so Keates replaced him with Connor Ronan – safe to say Ronan was far to lightweight for the aggressive Doncaster midfield. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but Kinsella should have come on. Kinsella has far more about him than Ronan does and I’m still left scratching my head to what Ronan brings to this side.
Time and time again Doncaster would foul a Saddlers player like a petulant child but Coggins would wait until we went on the attack bring play back and just speak to the player. Only time he got his book out was for a Walsall player. That booking for George Dobson was an absolute joke when he won the ball but was punished for it.
Doncaster’s second goal was poor defending from us. A ball which should have been dealt with wasn’t and it carved us open like Moses and the Red Sea. Wilks despatched it but there has to be questions over Roberts positioning.
Doncaster’s third was an absolute farce. Morgan Ferrier was fouled near the edge of the Doncaster box but somehow the referee allowed play to continue – Ferrier strolled back to win the ball (probably still annoyed the referee didn’t give the free kick) and Coppinger curled it beautifully into the top corner.
What happened after the goal was unsavoury. Leahy rightfully had a go at Ferrier for losing the ball and then Ferrier ran half the length of the pitch to have a confrontation which saw the former Boreham Wood striker grab Luke Leahy like he was ready to choke slam him.
Its good to see players annoyed with conceding a goal and it’s good to see emotion however there is a time and a place – Dean Keates says the issue is dealt with so let’s leave it there for now.
Doncaster scored their fourth with the Saddlers chasing the game. It wasn’t a 4-1 scoreline but shows that our inability to defend the basics will cost us a lot of points this season.
Take nothing away from Doncaster – they are a very good side and will there or thereabouts at the end of the season.
For the first time this season we lost our plan, our organisation and our heads.
As long as we learn from it we wont dwell on it and hope to get back to winning ways – three league games and counting since our last win.
We still remain in sixth place – let’s not let yesterday’s game take anything away from our fantastic start.
We will bounce back I’m sure. Onwards and upwards.