Liam Mandeville's early free-kick settles clash
Doncaster Rovers 1 (Mandeville 3)
Grimsby Town 0
Saturday December `7
Sky Bet League Two
Rovers returned to the top of Sky Bet League Two with a win over rivals Grimsby Town, after a solitary goal from forward Liam Mandeville.
The 10,084 fans inside the Keepmoat were treated to a sublime piece of individual brilliance inside three minutes, Rovers were awarded a free-kick 30-yards from goal after forward John Marquis was chopped down.
After much deliberation between Tommy Rowe and Liam Mandveille, the latter of the pair took charge and what a decision it turned out to be, as the EFL Young Player of the Month for November smashed his right-footed free-kick into the top left corner.
As the feisty contested game went on the visitors had a fantastic chance to draw level, an out-swinging free-kick from Luke Summerfield was met by the towering head of Danny Collins but thankfully for Rovers it was wide of the mark.
The visitors began to step up their play after that and on the 22nd minute they squandered another opportunity.
A quick burst of pace from Tom Bolarinwa saw the winger shrug of the covering Andy Butler, Bolarinwa then fired the ball across the box in the direction of Summerfield, but a covering Matty Blair sniffed out the danger.
Blair’s clearance found Scott Vernon on the edge of the box, the former Aberdeen man could not angle his effort on target with the ball ending up in the sea of black and white behind Marko Marosi’s goal.
Just past the half an hour mark Rovers had a claim for a penalty, a chipped cross from Mandeville was heading in the direction of Marquis who took a tumble as he was about to apply the finish.
The man in the middle, Richard Clark, waved away the hosts protests, claiming that Zak Mills had done nothing wrong.
With two minutes of the first period remaining Rovers had the final chance of the half, a well-worked move down the Mariners left hand side by Andy Williams and Rowe saw the ball eventually fall to young Mandeville.
Unfortunately he could not repeat his earlier heroics, as this time his shot was collected by goalkeeper James McKeown.
Half-time: Rovers 1-0 Grimsby Town
Rovers began the second half exactly how they started the first, on top, some silky footwork by Rowe took him into the visitors penalty area but he could not direct his right-footed attempt on target.
Darren Ferguson’s men continued to assert their dominance on proceedings and were close to doubling their lead.
A short corner into the path of Mandeville was eventually cleared by the Grimsby defence, the ball was hit on the half volley by Williams and whistled just past McKeown’s left post.
Mandeville was not finished there and was unlucky not to see the back of the net bulge for the second time in the affair.
Another free-kick in a similar position as he broke the deadlock from, was this time hit in direction of McKeown who palmed away the set piece from any onrushing danger.
Marcus Bignot’s men could have stolen a point in the final minute of stoppage time, a teasing in-swinging ball from substitute Dan Jones was narrowly missed by Summerfield at the back post.
Rovers | Marosi, Baudry, Butler (C), Mason, Houghton, Blair, Rowe, Middleton (Wright 87’), Mandeville, Marquis, Williams (Calder 72’).
Rovers Subs | Jones, Beestin, Longbottom, Garratt, Keegan.
Grimsby | McKeown, Andrew, Pearson (C) (Jones 83’), Mills, Jackson (Tuton 76’) , Berrett, Bolarinwa, Summerfield, Vernon, Collins, Comley.
Grimsby Subs | Davies, Gowling, Chambers, Disley, Henderson
ATTENDANCE | 10,084 (4,012 away)