Two goals in ten minutes see’s Rovers Under 21's come from behind to seal victory against Mansfield.Mansfield- 1 (Dwyer- 38’)
Rovers- 2 (McCormick- 81’, Wakefield- 90’)
Tuesday 27th January, 2015
Final Third Development League Cup
Doncaster Rovers U21 side were in action for the first time since December as they looked to continue their impressive form in the Final Third Development League.
U21 head coach and club captain Rob Jones made his return from injury and was at the heart of the defence, partnering Liam Wakefield. It was Jones’ first appearance in a Rovers shirt since Paul Dickov’s side suffered a heavy defeat to Bristol City in September.
It was a slow start from both teams on a difficult pitch. There was an early chance for Rovers as some smart play from Billy Whitehouse kept the ball in play, before setting up Middleton on the edge of the area. The Rovers captain released his shot but was closed down well and the ball whistled over the crossbar.
There were no clear chances for either side in the opening 20 minutes, with some scrappy play in midfield. The hosts first effort on goal came from a long ball into the box that fell to Brownlie who saw his shot well blocked by Jones.
Rovers should have gone ahead as a smart dummy from Lewis Ferguson released Middleton down the middle. One on one with Adam Bishop the midfielder looked to place the ball into the bottom corner but a great save denied him.
With the game livening up, Mansfield had a chance straight down the other end as Anthony Dwyer went on a surging run from midfield. Marko Marosi was quick off his line to make a great save before Alex Head brilliantly cleared Dwyer’s follow up shot off the line.
Dwyer had a third bite at the cherry with a shot from 25 yards which clipped the outside of the post.
Just before half time the hosts broke the deadlock with Dwyer in the thick of the action again. After a mix up at the back between Jones and Marosi, the striker showed good anticipation to get ahead and was there to knock the ball into an empty net.
Mansfield almost doubled their lead just minutes later as Dan Fletcher released a volley with the outside of his boot from distance. It looked to be going in and had Marosi scrambling but somehow went inches over the bar.
Half Time Score: Mansfield 1-0 Rovers
The second half started the same as the first, both sides scrappy in midfield and neither keeper tested.
It wasn’t until the hour mark that Mansfield threatened again. A Rory Thomson free kick was whipped into the area towards the back post, it fell to Charlie Brownlie who got the ball caught between his feet before it going out for a goal kick. The hosts should have doubled their lead.
Rovers felt hard done by when Marosi’s long ball down field set Ferguson free. Beating Adam Bishop to the ball he looked set to score before the linesman raised his flag for a foul on the goalkeeper.
Rovers almost drew level as a Ferguson corner found an unmarked Michael Carberry at the back post, the youth team defender headed towards goal but his effort was well cleared off the line.
With ten minutes to go, Rovers got the goal they deserved and it was youngster Joey McCormick who found the bottom corner with a shot from 20 yards.
Despite late pressure from the visitors, it looked as though the game would finish at one a piece but in the 90th minute Liam Wakefield rose above everyone to get on the end of a Ferguson corner, and the defender wheeled away in celebration as his effort beat Bishop with seconds to play.
Seeing the game out, the referee blew for full time and Rob Jones’ side secured the victory.
Mansfield U21’s: Bishop, Thomson, Brownlie, Holmes, Shelton, Slone, Hutchinson, Dear, Blake, Fletcher (c), Dwyer
Subs not used: Hampson, Groves, L.Thomas, Holloway
Cautions: Asa Shelton, Anthony Dwyer
Rovers U21’s: Marosi, Lund, Carberry, Jones (Mbuti- 55’), Wakefield, Head, Whitehouse, Middleton (c), Ferguson, Wanless (McCormick- 65’), Gordon
Subs not used: Greasley, McLaren
Cautions: Mitchell Lund, Marko Marosi, Harry Middleton, Lewis Ferguson