Remind me never again to use the word ‘comfortable’ in a half-time update regarding Rovers. Three goals to the good with Stevenage having threatened only once, what could possibly go wrong?
It took half an hour for this game to come to life; an inch-perfect James Coppinger free-kick headed home by Andy Butler the catalyst for a swash-buckling 11 minute spell that brought two further goals and seemingly had Rovers out of sight.
On 35 minutes Tommy Rowe ran onto a bouncing ball, skipped through two tackles before feeding Liam Mandeville and the inform forward made no mistake; driving low into the bottom corner. Moments later Rowe was provider again; chesting Niall Mason’s chip into the path of Matty Blair, who let the ball bounce once before smashing it into the top corner.
But in the second half Stevenage were resurgent and Rovers wasteful; leading to a nervy conclusion. Tom Pett started the fight-back, wrong-footing Marko Marosi after a pitch-length Borough break. Then – after Mandeville and John Marquis missed chances for Rovers – the tallest left-back in football, Fraser Franks, narrowed the gap further with a fine volley.
Crucially, Doncaster struck a fourth goal instantly; another perfect Coppinger free-kick swung into the path of a team-mate; this time Marquis, who’s header was turned onto the bar by Jamie Jones only for it to squeeze in off the keeper.
To keep heart-rates soaring Rowan Liburd bundled in a corner in injury time, but mercifully Rovers’ first half performance proved to be enough.
by Glen Wilson