DONCASTER ROVERS 0 Crawley Town 1
Referee – Mr T Kettle
Attendance – 6,403 (225 visitors)
After a lot of overnight rain it was warm and sunny for the game against newcomers Crawley Town. This was the first ever meeting between the two teams so it would be an interesting game. The Rovers defended the South Stand end in the first half.
The first ten minutes or so was spent by each team sussing each other out, with a poor effort from Akpan going well wide for Crawley and Martin Woods having a twenty-five yard effort being easily saved by Jones in the Crawley goal. Then, in the 13th minute, a low cross by Cotterill from the right byline was met at the near post by Paynter, who sidefooted goalwards from close range but the keeper was there to block it on the line. Midfield play dominated in equal measure as the half progressed. In the 18th minute a weak Martin Woods effort was well wide and ten minutes later a corner to the Rovers was punched away by the keeper. Just past the half hour and a free kick from the Crawley left was well punched away by Gary Woods. This put the Rovers on the attack, the ball reaching Paynter to the right of goal. His shot went across the face of goal begging for a touch but Spurr just couldn’t reach it. At the other end Gary Woods was not being troubled overmuch. In the 37th minute, Martin Woods put Paynter away on goal but he fired just wide of a post from the edge of the area. A couple of minutes later and a corner to the Rovers was well caught by Paul Jones. The last five minutes of the half was mainly Crawley pressing the Rovers defence. Adams was just over the bar from 25yards then Alexander tried a shot from the right that was just wide of the far post and finally Ajose ‘beat’ the offside halfway in the Rovers half but was then well held up as the Rovers defence regrouped.
Half Time – Doncaster Rovers 0 Crawley Town 0
Crawley kicked off for the second half and spent the early minutes on the attack, with only Hunt’s thirty yarder to show for it and this was high and wide. Five minutes in and Bennett had a go from 25yards but put it over the bar. Minutes later the same player was well wide with a left foot effort from 25yards. Past the hour and Coppinger was introduced for Brown, who had taken a knock a few minutes earlier. Crawley then won a corner, which McFadzean headed over at the near post. A corner to the Rovers came to nothing and at the other end Simpson fired wide from just outside of the penalty area. In the 76th minute a corner to the Rovers was swung way over to the other side where Martin Woods returned it to the middle for Rob Jones to head over. Cotterill then shot high and wide from the left. In the 84th minute a corner to Crawley came out of the Rovers defence to Cooper, who fired high and wide from 30yards. Gary Woods, diving to his left, then saved well from Ajose. Keeping up the pressure, Akpan got into the Rovers penalty area on the right before giving to Adams on the edge of the area. His drive goalwards was deflected wide of Gary Woods by AJOSE to give the visitors the lead in the 87th minute. This spurred the Rovers into frantic action but it proved to be too little too late. The Crawley defence in the last few minutes defended desperately to hang on to the points and in the third minute of added time could have added to their lead when Adams hit a good low shot that Woods had to dive full length to save.
Result – Doncaster Rovers 0 Crawley Town 1
Teams – ROVERS – Gary Woods; Paul Quinn, Jamie McCombe, Rob Jones, Tommy Spurr; David Cotterill, David Syers, Martin Woods, Kyle Bennett; Billy Paynter, Chris Brown
Subs used – James Coppinger for Brown 64 mins;
Subs not used – James Husband, Robbie Blake, James Harper, Paul Keegan, Neil Sullivan gk
Crawley Town – Paul Jones; David Hunt, Claude Davis, Kyle McFadzean, Matt Sadler; Nicky Adams, Shaun Cooper, Hope Akpan, Sergio Torres; Gary Alexander, Nicky Ajose
Subs used – Josh Simpson for Davis 69 mins; Dannie Bulman for Ajose 90 mins;
Subs not used – Mark Connolly, Billy Clarke, Jonathan Forte, Scott Neilson, Michel Kuipers gk
Caution – Torres 90+2 mins;