Doncaster Rovers impressive cup run came to an end at Craven Cottage as Paul Dickov’s men narrowly lost out to ex-Premier League side Fulham.
Fulham 2 (Ruiz, 16. Burn 32)
Doncaster Rovers 1 (Coppinger, 60)
Craven Cottage, Fulham
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Capital One Cup
It took just 31 seconds for Fulham to state their intent in this Capital One Cup tie. Ross McCormack was through on goal thanks to a slip from Luke McCullough. One on one with Jed Steer, the striker looked to slide the ball into the bottom corner but a great save from the feet of the Rovers keeper denied the home side from going ahead.
Just five minutes later Rodallega broke free from McCullough finding space in the box. The striker looked certain to score but he blasted his shot over the bar.
A minute later Nathan Tyson was put through down the right hand side. Using his pace well, Tyson beat defender Bodurov to the ball. Bettinelli was quick off his line as Tyson looked to round him and apply the finish. However, the keeper was shown a yellow card by the referee for clearly handling the ball outside his area.
On 15 minutes the home side went ahead through Bryan Ruiz. Rodallega rose to knock the ball down for Ruiz who smashed the ball in to the top corner, leaving Steer with no chance.
Fulham were very much on top and continued to create chances and cause problems for the Rovers defence.
On 31 minutes the home side struck again through captain Dan Burn. Ross McCormack delivered a good ball in to the back post leaving Burn with an easy header to double Fulham’s lead.
There was no denying that Rovers worked hard in the first half and grew into the game, but they were out played by the former Premier League side.
The referee blew for half time and Fulham led 2-0.
Paul Dickov’s men came out in the second half a different team, Harry Forrester having a big impact for the away side.
Tyson went close on 54 minutes. Picking up the ball in his own half, he sprinted through the Fulham defence but he dragged his shot just wide of the post.
On the hour mark Rovers got the goal they deserved. Forrester played a neat pass for Coppinger down the left hand side. As he looked to cross the ball, the midfielder cut inside and fired a shot with his right foot into the top corner to stun the home side.
From here Rovers looked a threat as Forrester went close minutes later. Skipping through three defenders he released a shot from the edge of the area only to be denied by the fingertips of Bettinelli.
Rovers should have equalised with 12 minutes to go when they were awarded a penalty after Theo Robinson’s header struck the arm of Tim Hoogland. Robinson took the spot kick himself but Bettinelli guessed correctly diving low to his left to keep the shot out.
5 minutes of injury time were added and not through lack of effort, Rovers were unable to find an equaliser to send the game to extra time.
Fulham: Bettinelli, Hoogland, Stafylidis (Parker 71), Amorebieta (Kavanagh 69), Bodurov, Ruiz (Williams 80), Rodallega, Christensen, Hyndman, Burn, McCormack
Subs not used – Kiraly, Roberts, Woodrow, David,
Cautions – Bettinelli, Bodurov, Burn
Rovers: Steer, Evina, Furman, McCullough, Tyson, Wakefield (McCombe 88), Keegan, Wellens (Robinson 46), Wabara, Bennett (Forrester 46), Coppinger (c)
Subs not used – Marosi, De Val Fernandez, Askins, Ferguson
Attendance – 8,070