Football

Saunders enjoys lucky break

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Dean Saunders put a smile back on the faces of Doncaster supporters as the club picked up its first npower Championship win of the season in his first game in charge with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace.

But the new manager - appointed just 24 hours earlier following the sacking of long-serving manager Sean O'Driscoll - was the first to admit he enjoyed a slice of good luck on the way. Doncaster's 65th-minute match winner from John Oster took a wicked deflection out of the reach of wrong-footed Palace keeper Julian Speroni.

Saunders, who had only half a day to train with the players before the match, said: "We were awful in the first half and I could see that players were nervous. We couldn't keep hold of the ball at all and I just told them at half-time to relax and try to pass the ball better."

He added: "We got a bit of luck with the goal but if you don't chance your arm and shoot you don't score.

"It was vital to get three points and to keep a clean sheet was a bonus but best of all was to see the supporters leaving the ground with a smile on their faces.

"It's early days for me and we've got quite a bit of work to do but we can improve no end on that performance."

Palace should have had a penalty in the 10th minute when Glenn Murray raced clean through only to be brought down by left-back George Friend.

Palace boss Dougie Freedman said: "It was frustrating because I thought we should have had at least one penalty and to concede a goal like that just made it worse.

"I thought we did enough to take something from the game but you can't do anything about refereeing decisions and it just wasn't our day."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Doncaster Rovers
John Oster
Dougie Freedman
George Friend
Football
Championship
Dean Saunders
Julian Speroni
Crystal Palace
George Friend
Glenn Murray
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