A winner in added time from former Tranmere striker Iain Hume seals the points for Rovers.
It was cool but dry on Merseyside as the Rovers set to pit themselves against the League leaders, who have had such a good start to the season. The Rovers of Doncaster made three changes to their starting line-up of Saturday last, with James Husband and Paul Keegan replacing the injured duo Shelton Martis and Martin Woods and Billy Paynter starting in place of Chris Brown, who drops to the bench. The home team made one change from the team that lost their first game of the season at Bournemouth on Saturday, with Andy Robinson replacing Jake Jervis. The Rovers defended the end where their fans were housed, in the Cowshed Stand.
The first five minutes were spent getting the measure of one another. Then, following a Tranmere attack, Robinson, from the left, fired just wide of the far post. Then the visitors were awarded a free kick on the right of the halfway line, which was headed on by Jones for Paynter to head goalwards but Fon Williams saved. Two minutes later and a free kick to the home team on the left angle of the penalty area by Robinson was saved comfortably by Woods. A couple of corners to Tranmere were then dealt with easily by the Doncaster defence. Then, following another Tranmere attack, Holmes had a go from 30yards and was only just over the bar in the 13th minute. Three minutes later and a corner to Tranmere was headed away by Jones but hit Gibson in the face and bounced back but out for a goal kick. Doncaster came more into the game and in the 24th minute were unlucky not to take the lead when a powerful header by Paynter to a cross from Husband hit the underside of the bar but bounced away and cleared. Three corners to Tranmere either side of the half hour came to nothing but then another corner in the 35th minute was taken short to Robinson who curled a shot from the angle of the area for the far top corner but Woods got to it and tipped it out. Minutes later and following a good move upfield by the home team, Robinson received on the home left and a fierce drive under pressure scraped the top of the bar. In the 41st minute a free kick to Doncaster on their left was placed to the far post for Jones to sidefoot into the net from the six-yard line but he pushed it wide. Then Bakayogo put wide following a Tranmere corner and on the stroke of half time Keegan fired wide from 25yards after a throw-in had been helped on. In two minutes of added time two successive corners to Tranmere brought their total to ten but they had not gained any advantage from them.
Half Time – Tranmere Rovers 0 Doncaster Rovers 0
The home team got the second half underway but Doncaster gained possession and won a corner.This came to nothing but in the 47th minute good work on the Doncaster left gave Spurr the chance to cross to the middle where PAYNTER got a second chance off a rebound to put the ball into the net for the opening goal. Tranmere tried to hit back and won a corner. Nothing came from it but minutes later Wallace fired high and wide from 25yards. In the 59th minute Husband went on a run down the left and into the penalty area where he had a good shout for a penalty but the referee wasn’t interested when he went down. Doncaster had to make a substitution on the hour when Cotterill went down with an injury, with Syers replacing him. In the 63rd minute, Robinson, for Tranmere had a go from 20yards but it took a deflection and went out for a corner. The home team continued to press but good defending by Doncaster kept them out. In the 71st minute Quinn got forward and tried his luck from 30yards but he was wide with his effort. Then, in the 78th minute, a header by Wallace to a Tranmere corner was cleared off the line by Jones, but it came back in again and was cleared again. Thompson then cut in from the Tranmere left but shot wildly high and wide. Wave after wave of Tranmere attacks came up against a Doncaster wall of defenders but in the 86th minute the home side equalised when good work by Bell-Baggie on the right led to CASSIDY rifling into the net through a crowd of players. Doncaster restarted the game and Syers was just wide from 25 yards. As the 90th minute came up Tranmere won three successive corners but gained nothing from them. Four minutes of added time was signalled by the fourth official and in the first of them the inexplicable happened. Doncaster attacked, Bennett to Paynter, who fed HUME to the left of goal. He fired for goal and somehow the ball finished in the back of the net to put the Rovers back in front. Back came Tranmere with attack after attack that broke on the Doncaster defence. Into the fifth minute of added time and the home team had three successive corners that were all dealt with by the Doncaster defence and then the referee blew for time to bring an end to an exciting game.
Result – Tranmere Rovers 1 (Cassidy 86) Doncaster Rovers 2 (Paynter 47 Hume 90+1)
Teams – Tranmere Rovers – Owain Fon Williams; Danny Holmes, Ash Taylor, Ben Gibson, Zoumana Bakayogo; Abdulai Bell-Baggie, Liam Palmer, James Wallace ©, Adam McGurk; Jake Cassidy, Andy Robinson
Subs used – Joe Thompson for Robinson 63 mins; Cole Stockton for McGurk 77 mins;
Subs not used – Paul Black, Ian Goodison, Danny Harrison, Michael Kay, Jason Mooney gk
Caution – Wallace 44 mins;
DONCASTER ROVERS – Gary Woods; Paul Quinn, Rob Jones ©, Tommy Spurr, James Husband; David Cotterill, Paul Keegan, James Harper, Kyle Bennett; Iain Hume, Billy Paynter
Subs used – David Syers for Cotterill 60 mins; Andy Griffin for Husband 77 mins; Robbie Blake for Paynter 90+2 mins;
Subs not used –Chris Brown, Michael Woods, Liam Wakefield, Neil Sullivan gk