Paul Dickov's Doncaster Rovers head to London in search of 3 Sky Bet Championship points.
Easter Monday brings a long trip south for Rovers as we head to the capital city ahead of a crucial fixture against Millwall. Both sides will naturally be vying for vital points so it promises to be quite an encounter.
Ian Holloway’s side had been away from the bottom three just a few short months ago but form hasn’t been on their side, a series of stop start performances has seen then slip agonisingly close to potential relegation to the third tier. Rovers on the other had will look to rekindle the away form which saw victory at Elland Road against Leeds United last month.
When Rovers made the long trip to The New Den back in February 2008, the home side were in a similar predicament as they looked for three points to help them survive the drop but it was from League One not the Championship. The visitors on the other hand were up at the other end of the table, chasing a deserved promotion spot.
Rovers started very brightly, with Gareth Roberts being the first to test the reflexes of home ‘keeper, Rhys Evans, who did well to beat away the piledriver of an effort from the full back with just ten minutes on the clock. Paul Green then fed the ball to Jason Price in the box, he swiveled and shot but the ball flew over the crossbar much to his dismay. It really was one way traffic and the travelling Rovers supporters may just have been wondering if there was a cricket score on the cards.
James Coppinger was next to have a shot at goal, his powerful low drive beat the despairing dive of Evans but the ball cannoned off the woodwork before rolling to relative safety. The Lion’s ‘keeper was continually in the thick of the action but his next real inclusion brought a early exit for the former Chelsea trainee who collided with Mark McCammon and he had to be replaced due to injury by sub stopper, Preston Edwards.
Edwards didn’t have the best of introductions as his first job was to pick the ball out of the net as Rovers finally broke the deadlock just before the break. Rovers won a corner and with the home side failing to clear their lines, Price swooped to thrash the ball home from around eight yards after Roberts’ initial effort had been blocked on the line.
Millwall briefly rallied and created their only real chance of the half but Gary Alexander could only nod Lewis Grabban’s cross wide of the mark with the goal gaping. After the break though normal service resumed and once again it was all about the visitors although the score remained the same until the final third of the match.
Coppinger who had impressed for much of the game netted Rover’s second goal of the game with around 15 minutes remaining, before Green netted a third goal in the final minute for the visitors who arguably could have won by a more handsome margin. The victory retained Rover’s grip on second place behind Swansea City giving the supporters hope for promotion back to the second tier for the first time in five decades.
Millwall: R Evans (P Edwards, 34), D Senda, A Frampton, P Robinson, S Barron, A Dunne (A Brkovic, 60), A Fuseini, A Forbes, J Simpson, G Alexander, L Grabban (M Laird, 46)
Rovers: N Sullivan, J O'Connor, R Wellens, A Lockwood, G Roberts, B Stock (M Wilson, 83), J Coppinger, S Roberts, J Price (P Heffernan, 86), P Green, M McCammon (M Mills, 82)
There has never been a goalless draw between the sides in matches played in the capital, so expect at least one goal on Monday, there has been an average of 2.8 goals per games scored in the last five games played at the home of the Lions when Rovers have visited.
Both sides average over a goal per game when facing each other, with the first meeting between the teams coming some eighty-four years ago in 1930.
If we look back to the 07/08 season Rovers and the Lions drew 0-0 in South Yorkshire, with the return fixture ending in a 3-0 win for the visitors. In fact Rovers have never lost the away fixture when the first home game had ended in a goalless draw.
The odds of both sides scoring in the second half are priced at 5/2 with Sky Bet.
Doncaster Rovers 14/5
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* Odds subject to change, correct as of 19/04/14
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