The departure of Richie Wellens during the week before this FA Cup second round tie meant Gary McSheffrey, Rovers Under-18 coach, was in charge of his first senior match. The signs, though, were positive early on at a rain-lashed Keepmoat Stadium.
On seven minutes, Rovers took the lead. Lirak Hasani’s pass found Jordy Hiwula who sent Aidan Barlow away. Barlow pulled the ball across the visitors’ area for Branden Horton to slot in his first senior goal. Rovers held on to their lead until the interval.
The second half was a completely different affair. The introduction of former Rovers loanee Jordan Bowery sparked Mansfield into life and three minutes into the half they were level. A corner was flicked on at the near post and Will Forrester was free at the back post to equalise. On the hour mark Bowery’s pass found George Lapslie and the League Two team went ahead for the first time. On 71 minutes a fine passing move pulled the Rovers defence out of position and Stephen Quinn found Lapslie, who made it 3-1 from close range.
Rovers were floored but not quite finished: on 84 minutes they won a free-kick just outside the Mansfield box. Matt Smith tapped the ball to Joe Dodoo who fed Tommy Rowe, the latter scoring with a precise, left foot shot into the bottom corner. That was to be all the scoring, and Rovers were left to literally concentrate on the league, where 27 very important games remain.
by John Coyle