Doncaster Rovers 2 Crewe 1: Wellens wonder goal puts Rovers into top six

Rovers celebrate Richie Wellens' winner. Photo: Steve Uttley
Rovers celebrate Richie Wellens' winner. Photo: Steve Uttley

Richie Wellen’s last-gasp wonder goal sent Doncaster Rovers into the top six.

An intriguing game had appeared to be heading for a draw but Wellens had other ideas and his sublime 90th minute strike secured Rovers’ third successive league win – the first time they have achieved that feat since January 2013.

Visitors Crewe tactically out-thought Doncaster before the break and led at half time thanks to defender George Ray’s close-range finish.

However, the Railwaymen were completely penned in after the break and Rovers turned the game on its head with goals from Dean Furman and Wellens.

Former Crewe loanee Ikpeazu had exchanged a hug with every visiting player in the pre-match handshakes but the welcome his new team received from Alex was far from accommodating.

Perhaps expecting Steve Davis’s side to line up with three centre backs, like they did at the weekend, Rovers instead came up against a midfield diamond four which came out on top during the early exchanges and prevented Doncaster making the sort of blistering start they had managed against Yeovil at the weekend.

It took just eight minutes for Crewe to turn that foothold into a lead too, as from Jamie Ness’s right wing corner Stephen Bywater saved excellently from Alan Tate but was powerless to prevent Ray prodding home the rebound.

It might have been two had Nicky Ajose made more of a decent opening, before Rovers finally started to get some sort of grip on proceedings.

Jamie McCombe’s half volley and Ikpeazu’s effort from distance were both comfortable for Ben Garratt in the Alex goal.

Kyle Bennett also saw his effort deflected wide after latching onto Nathan Tyson’s cross from the left and then blazed a snap-shot just over as Rovers threatened to level.

However, the hosts had Bywater to thank for preventing further damage at the other end, the experienced stopper’s double save keeping out Ajose after a lovely through ball from Alan Tate, and then denying Haber from close range.

As the half drew to a close Rovers went like-for-like and matched Crewe’s midfield diamond. It almost paid instant dividends as Bennett, now playing in the hole, slotted it through for Tyson but his shot was blocked.

Holding midfielder Tate dropped into centre back after the restart as the visitors went five at the back and were happier to let the home side have possession, inviting them on almost.

Tyson’s header from Reece Wabara’s excellent cross was saved and then another cross from the right back brought appeals for handball in the box, only for those shouts to fall on deaf ears.

Rovers were turning the screw and just after the hour mark, not long after Ikpeazu saw an effort come back off the post, they got their reward.

Bennett’s free-kick delivery was headed back across goal by McCombe and Furman was on hand to prod home from close range.

It was one-way traffic now and Tyson flashed one into the side-netting from distance, before Garratt was at full stretch to keep out a cheeky flick from substitute Curtis Main.

Crewe had out-thought Rovers in the first half but they had barely registered an attack after the interval and there seemed only to be one winner.

And, as the clock ticked onto 90 minutes, the winning goal arrived in terrific style as Wellens latched onto a square ball and fired home superbly from 25 yards.

Substitute Abdul Razak almost made it three deep into stoppage time but it made no difference and the final whistle was greeted by the loudest cheer of the season at the Keepmoat.

Rovers: Bywater, Wabara, McCombe, Butler, Stevens, Keegan, Bennett (Razak 78), Wellens, Furman, Tyson, Ikpeazu (Main 74). Subs not used: Marosi, Evina, Robinson, McCullough, Whitehouse.

Crewe: Garratt, Turton, Davis, Ray, Leigh, Tate, Jones (Nolan 73), Ness, Grant, Leigh, Haber, Ajose (Dalla Valle 73 (Cooper 82). Subs not used: Inman, Baillie, Stewart, Etheridge.

Referee: Darren Sheldrake,

Attendance: 6,164