Rovers - 1 (Marquis 75’)
Cambridge - 0
Tuesday 16th August, 2016
Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
SkyBet English Football League 2
Rovers were looking to notch their first win in the fourth tier since May 2004 and ignite their campaign when they welcomed Cambridge United to Keepmoat Stadium for their first ever visit.
A disjointed draw against Crawley at the weekend was salvaged by a sweet James Coppinger strike but Darren Ferguson is eager for Rovers to earn three points against the similarly winless Shaun Derry side.
It’s not too long since Doncaster faced Cambridge; back in December Ferguson’s then League 1 side triumphed over the Amber and Golds in the second round of the FA Cup at Abbey Stadium thanks mainly to Conor Grants long range brace.
Rovers started the game very much on the front foot with John Marquis picking up where he left off at the weekend. The forward started brightly and caused a lot of problems early on for the visiting defence.
Just 8 minutes in Marquis was set free by James Coppinger and as he burst into the area was taken down from behind by the Cambridge defender winning a spot kick for Darren Ferguson’s side.
After winning the penalty, Marquis stepped up and drilled the spot kick at goal, only to see it saved by Will Norris who guessed the right way.
Despite the penalty miss Rovers continued to dominate possession and look a threat going forward. Mitchell Lund put in a brilliant cross for Andy Williams to flick a header goal-wards but Norris was quick down to his right to make a good save and deny the home side.
Shortly after, Marquis danced his way through the defence again before getting his shot off in the area, but again Norris made a smart save to keep it goalless.
Next up to test Norris was Tommy Rowe who won the ball in the area before firing a snapshot at goal, another very good save from the Cambridge goalkeeper.
The visitors rarely had a sniff at the Rovers goal in the opening half and excellent pressing from the home side often saw Shaun Derry’s men go back to their goalkeeper. The score remained 0-0 at half time.
HALF TIME: Rovers 0-0 Cambridge
The second half started very much as the first did, Rovers on top and pressuring from the off. There were three chances in one as excellent work from Andy Williams allowed him to cross low for Marquis. His first time shot was denied by Norris on the line before his follow up effort was cleared off the line by the defender. Coppinger’s goal-wards volley was then saved.
There was a long delay in the game as the assistant referee, Helen Byrne, went off injured and had to be replaced by a qualified official but eventually the game was back up and running as Rovers looked to get a deserved goal.
Williams continued to work hard up top and presented Marquis with a chance as his cross in from the left provided a first time shot, but it was deflected behind.
With 15 minutes to play the home side got the goal they deserved and took the lead. A brilliant cross in from Matty Blair on the right was met by Marquis whose powerful downwards header beat Norris making up for his earlier penalty miss.
Rovers felt they should have been awarded a penalty, as did everyone in the crowd, when a one-two between Rowe and Coppinger set the number 10 through into the area. As he looked to get his shot away, Rowe was dragged down from behind but the referee gave nothing.
There was a late, late scare for Rovers as Andy Butler superbly cleared the ball off the line as the goal was gaping for the Cambridge striker.
Rovers held on though and got the three points they deserved in a thoroughly exciting match at the Keepmoat.
FULL TIME: Rovers 1-0 Cambridge
Rovers: Marosi, Lund, Wright, Butler, Garratt (Evina 45’), Houghton, Blair, Rowe, Coppinger (c), Marquis, Williams
Unused Subs: Etheridge, Mandeville, Middleton, Calder, Pugh, Fielding
Cautions: Butler 54’ , Coppinger 55’ , Wright 88'
Cambridge: Norris; Long, Williamson, Berry, Dunne (Pigott 79’), Coulson, Elito, Clark, Dallison, Keane (Newton 75’), Mingoia
Unused Subs: Gregory, Roberts, Legge, Adams, Taylor
Cautions: Norris 2’, Pigott 88'
Attendance: 4,768 (393)