Match report: Doncaster Rovers 2 Cheltenham Town 0

Rovers came through a tricky test against resurgent Cheltenham Town to maintain their unbeaten home record.

Saturday, 11th March 2017, 3:56 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:43 am
Doncaster Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Goals from Andy Butler and John Marquis saw Rovers through a relatively uncomfortable afternoon against the Robins, who had Will Boyle sent off in the second half.

The visitors played a superb high press and alert defence, demonstrating why they had not conceded in their previous four games, a spell where they claimed ten points.

But Rovers were the more dominant attacking force and ran out deserved winners.

Darren Ferguson kept faith with the side that battled out a goalless draw with Crawley Town the previous week, though Marko Marosi and Mitchell Lund returned to the bench.

Rovers almost opened the scoring after seven minutes with a superb piece of skill from Alfie May. Matty Blair drilled in a low ball with May producing a superb backheel flick which deflected just wide.

But any thoughts of Rovers mounting constant threat against their low lying visitors quick dissipated.

Cheltenham pressed superbly from front to back, causing all sorts of problems for Rovers. Attempts to play their way out of trouble only resulted in further pressure.

Yet, Cheltenham struggled to threaten Ian Lawlor's goal.

They went close to taking the lead in rather calamatous fashion. Lawlor called for Mathieu Baudry to leave a ball into the box but it allowed Kyle Wooton in to flick on goal, but his connection was poor.

It was clear it would be an afternoon for Rovers that demanded a clinical touch in front of goal and it came on 23 minutes, and through an unlikely source.

A quick free kick sent Blair scarpering down the right. His early ball was turned on goal by Marquis but was blocked, only for Butler to slam home the rebound for his third goal of the season.

Rovers continued to look the more threatening and should arguably have added to their tally.

A Conor Grant free kick dropped to May who smashed a volley which Cheltenham keeper Scott Brown palmed away. Again it fell to May whose shot was blocked only for the same sequence to repeat itself.

The hosts should certainly have had a second as half time approached.

Coppinger broke from half way and slid in May whose first touch was heavy, allowing Brown to rush out to block. Arguably more guilty was Coppinger, who could not find a gap with his follow up which was comfortably cleared off the line.

They had another strong chance just after the break. Grant carried the ball from the edge of his own box in a swift break but his ball into May was a little too heavy and the striker's shot was charged down by Tom Plavotic.

Threat from the visitors was rare but Wooton headed a Billy Waters cross on goal which required Lawlor's attention.

Rovers' afternoon became a lot more comfortable on 71 minutes when Boyle was dismissed, picking up a second yellow after a late challenge on May.

They had the ball in the back of the net again when Rowe headed home from a free kick but was given offside.

And Rovers continued to be denied when Brown spectacularly tipped over a rasping shot from Marquis that seemed destined for the top corner.

Just when it seemed as though Rovers would have to make do with one, they struck again, nine minutes from time.

More to follow

Rovers: Lawlor, Blair, Baudry, Butler, Alcock, Mason, Grant (McSheffrey 85), Rowe, Coppinger (Middleton 76), Marquis, May (Williams 85). Subs not used: Marosi, Lund, Evina, Longbottom.

Cheltenham: Brown, Onariase, Boyle, Platovic, Parthram, Pell (Dayton 68), Rowe, Winchester (Holman 82), Davies (Cranston 46), Wooton, Waters. Subs not used: Lovett, Wright, Munns, O'Shaughnessy, Holman.

Referee: Kevin Johnson (Somerset)

Attendance: 5,373 (183 away)