Doncaster Rovers took all three points in a tight game in South Yorkshire this afternoon. Darren Moore’s men snatching the victory with a late winner from close range from substitute Jon Taylor.
The home side had taken the lead in the first half when Wolves’ loanee Niall Ennis blasted home from the edge of the area. City fought back and levelled in the second half as Jorge Grant scored his first goal for The Imps but with City looking likely to take a point back to Sincil Bank the home side scored the winner with just eight minutes to go.
City went into the clash at the Keepmoat Stadium against Darren Moore’s side unchanged from the team that took on MK Dons in midweek, however there was a change on the bench with youngster Ben Sault coming in for Alex Bradley who moved on loan to Harrogate Town for the season.
Doncaster Rovers: Lawlor, Halliday, James, Anderson, Sadlier, Whiteman, Gomes, May, Coppinger, Ennis, John
Substitutes: Dieng, Taylor, Crawford, Sterling, Blair, Blaney, Longbottom
The Imps were backed by over 3,000 travelling supporters as the game got underway and they were in fine form, urging on their side and within the opening five minutes there was plenty to be positive about as Tyler Walker twice got into good positions to ping a dangerous ball into the box. On both occasions however, the Rover’s defence just managed to clear but the pressure continued to come from Danny Cowley’s side who were having much of the possession.
Harry Toffolo and Jorge Grant were close to creating an opening for Jack Payne on the edge of the Rover’s box but Cameron John was there just ahead of the City number ten with the travelling Imps’ fans in fine voice. But the home side were to strike a hammer blow with their first purposeful attack moments later, a long ball forward was aimed at Niall ENNIS who held off the attentions of Michael Bostwick to strike a spectacular arrowing effort right into the top corner, giving Josh Vickers no chance.
The goal naturally roused the home supporters and players into being a little more forceful in possession, Alfie May making the next burst into City territory but his cross couldn’t be turned home as Jason Shackell made a wonderful interception on the edge of the six yard box. May then fired low and hard on target only to find Vickers right behind the effort, saving comfortably.
City were finding it difficult to unlock the Rover’s defence but when Grant and Toffolo showed fantastic understanding on half way it gave the away side a gimpse of a way forward despite the home side still managing to keep out The Imps. Joe Morrell was then to hit a low drive wide of the mark as the Imps began to get onto the front foot, heading towards half time play was increasingly all about the visitors with Michael O’Connor smashing a shot just wide. But much like the early throes of proceedings Rover’s almost hit back with devastating effect, a corner in found Cameron John who directed his header goalwards, it took a wicked deflection and somehow Vickers managed to readjust his footing to save, tipping over the crossbar.
Doncaster Rovers 1 The Imps 0
Kicking towards the bank of City fans in the second half The Imps looked more composed in possession, playing the ball round nicely and after a sustained period with the ball Grant found space to shoot but unfortunately his effort didn’t test Ian Lawlor in the Rover’s goal.
Rovers were trying their best to get back on the attack with a number of crosses coming in from their left flank but Bostwick was commanding, throwing himself in the way of everything in his vicinity with a renewed vigour.
The Imps moved ten yards higher up the pitch and kept plugging away and the equaliser was to come with just over ten minutes of the second half gone. Walker did well out in the right channel, holding the ball up with Anderson helping him out wide and the run of the winger distracted the Rover’s defence leaving Walker to cross and GRANT was there to sweep home the sidefoot volley, unmarked at the back post for his first in City colours.
Danny Cowley’s side were looking increasingly dangerous and when Morrell was brought down on the left hand side of the box it gave The Imps a chance to get their noses in front. Grant fooled the home defence by playing a low ball across the box to Morrell who elected to shoot low, but Lawlor was there to save.
The confidence was now flowing and a flowing move down the right between Anderson, Eardley and Payne created a half chance in the direction of Grant but good defending from Brad Halliday at the back post denied the visitors. Rovers settled and slowed the game down somewhat, but they weren’t fashioning chances and the game became a little disjointed but it was The Imps who were looking the more likely to score for the second time with around fifteen minutes to go. Payne and Grant combined on the edge of the area before setting up Bostwick for a low drive but he couldn’t hit the target as the home supporters began to appear a little restless.
When Payne found sub, Bruno Andrade wide on the right the winger appeared to have got beyond his marker but Cameron John hauled him back just outside the area. Payne floated in the free kick and Andrade was there but his header just squirted wide of goal with Lawlor beaten. Just when it appeared that City would leave South Yorkshire with a point, the home side struck again. Sub, Jon TAYLOR scored with the second bite of the cherry after Vickers had denied the striker from close range, the ball rebounded back to Kazaiah Sterling who was too denied by the City ‘keeper, the ball fell back to Sterling and he squared for Taylor to sweep the ball home.
The officials announced five minutes of stoppage time, giving the visitors hope of a second leveller and it almost came from the head of John Akinde who found space to get onto a Morrell free kick but the ball flashed over the top.
Doncaster Rovers 2 The Imps 1
1 Ian LAWLOR
2 Brad HALLIDAY
3 Reece JAMES
4 Tom ANDERSON
7 Kieran SADLIER
8 Ben WHITEMAN
12 Madger GOMES
19 Alfie MAY
26 James COPPINGER
31 Niall ENNIS
32 Cameron JOHN
24 Seny DIENG
10 Jon TAYLOR (72’ for May)
11 Ali CRAWFORD
14 Kazaiah STERLING (72’ for Coppinger)
17 Matty BLAIR (87’ for Gomes)
20 Shane BLANEY
21 Will LONGBOTTOM
Goal: Ennis 13’, Taylor 83’
Booked: Gomes 33’, Ennis 45’, John 80’
1 Josh VICKERS
3 Harry TOFFOLO
4 Michael O’Connor
5 Jason SHACKELL
10 Jack PAYNE
16 Michael BOSTWICK
17 Tyler WALKER
18 Jorge GRANT
19 Joe MORRELL
23 Neal EARDLEY
26 Harry ANDERSON
21 Grant SMITH
6 Cian BOLGER
11 Bruno ANDRADE (67’ for Anderson)
12 Ellis CHAPMAN (86’ for O’Connor)
22 Aaron LEWIS
29 John AKINDE (69’ for Walker)
31 Ben SAULT
GOAL: Grant 57’
Booked: Anderson 36’
Referee: Craig Hicks
Assistant Referees: Gareth Mellor & Barry Gordon
4th Official: Joseph Johnson
Attendance: 10,177 (3,120 Imps’ supporters)