Despite a second half brace from Harry Middleton, Rovers are defeated at Gateshead.Gateshead - 3 (Orrell 24’, 41’ , Saint-Luce 51’)
Rovers - 2 (Middleton 64’, 67')
Gateshead International Stadium
Wednesday 25th March
Final Third Development League
There were three new faces in the Doncaster Rovers eleven as they looked to keep up their good run of form and challenge for the top spot in the Final Third Development League.
However, the home side were on the front foot from the word go and instantly put pressure on what was an experienced Rovers side.
With fifteen minutes gone, Marko Marosi was called into action as Kevin Saint-Luce made a great run through the Rovers defence before putting Matty Briggs through on goal. Shooting from 6 yards, his show was wonderfully saved by the legs of Marosi.
Rovers first chance came through first team player Cedric Evina, as he broke down the left. Putting through Jonathyn Quinn, Alex Baird was forced to make a good save to deny the visitors.
Having lasted only 25 minutes, Rob Jones limped off the field and was replaced by Paul McKay.
With Rovers not quite set up after the substitution, a good run from Briggs saw him put Orrell through on goal. A mix up in the defence made it easy for Orrell to slot the ball past a very unhappy Marosi.
Rovers almost pulled level after a lay off from Evina set up Ryan Brobbel in the box. After a goalmouth scramble the ball was eventually cleared.
Just before half time the home side doubled their lead. Saint-Luce again made a great run through the defence. Finding themselves two on one with Marosi, he squared the ball to Orrell who made no mistake in scoring.
Half Time: Gateshead U21’s 2-0 Doncaster Rovers U21’s
Things went from bad to worse for Rovers after coming out for the second half.
Just six minutes in, Saint-Luce made it three for the home side. It was a fantastic run as he danced his way through the defence before cutting inside and picking his spot in the bottom corner, Marosi with no chance.
Rovers got a goal back through a Harry Middleton penalty as Brobbel was bought down in the box before releasing his shot on goal. The skipper sent Baird the wrong way to make it 3-1.
Minutes later Middleton got his second. Rovers broke from a Gateshead corner and a brilliant run from Brobbel allowed him to cut the ball back for an unmarked Middleton on the edge of the area, who finished superbly.
The visitors came close to equalising as Mitchell Lund brilliantly dispossessed the Gateshead defence before driving towards goal and laying the ball off to Jonathyn Quinn, unfortunately the striker couldn't make good enough contact with the ball to test Baird.
Since Rovers second goal, chances were few and far between for both sides and neither goalkeeper was tested. Sainte-Luce came the closest after another run from midfield, however he couldn't find the target with his shot.
The referee blew for full time and despite a good second half comeback from Rovers, Gatesheaed took the points.
Full Time: Gateshead U21's 3-2 Doncaster Rovers U21's
Gatetshead XI: Alex Baird, Ryan Lamb, Ryan Wilson, Dean Briggs, Tom Allan, Dillon Morse, Mechack Kanda, Matty Briggs, Kevin Sainte-Luce, Jake Orrell, Liam Thear
Gateshead Subs: Andrew White, Jack Wilson, John Ackroyd, Davis Keillor, Micky Cummins
Doncaster Rovers XI: Marko Marosi, Mitchell Lund, Cedric Evina, Jamie McCombe (Ben Greasley 77’), Rob Jones (Paul McKay 24’), Alex Head, Jordan Linley (Matty Parkin 64’), Harry Middleton, Jonathyn Quinn, Ryan Brobbel, Joe Kerridge
Doncaster Rovers Subs: Joseph Pugh, Michael Carberry