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Stevenage 3 Rovers 4

3 December 2016

Rovers moved to the top of Sky Bet League Two with victory at Stevenage.

Stevenage 3
(Pett 63, Franks 71, Liburd 90)
Doncaster Rovers 4
(Butler 27, Mandeville 36, Blair 39, Marquis 73)
Saturday, November 26
Lamex Stadium
Sky Bet League Two

Rovers moved to the top of Sky Bet League Two with victory at Stevenage.

Goals from Andy Butler, Liam Mandeville and Matty Blair had Rovers 3-0 up at the break.

Stevenage threatened a comeback through Tom Pett and Fraser Franks, but John Marquis halted that with a powerful header to restore Rovers' two-goal advantage.

Darren Ferguson named an unchanged starting XI for the third game in a row, with the only change being the return of Andy Williams to the bench after injury.

The first period of the first half saw few chances, with shouts for a penalty coming to nothing after 18 minutes.

Rovers took the lead after 27 minutes after they were awarded a free-kick mid-way into the Boro half. 

James Coppinger played in a free-kick to the near post where it was met by Andy Butler, who had got free and headed into the bottom right corner.

This really sparked the game into life, with Rovers taking the game by the scruff of the neck with two goals in quick succession.

The first came from the in-form Liam Mandeville, his sixth strike in as many games. The ball ran through to him after an attack down the left, and he smashed home with a powerful drive.

Rovers' third strike of the game was a polished volley from Matty Blair after another slick move.

Goalkeeper Marko Marosi had needed to be at his best to deny Boro a goal with the score at 2-0, getting down quickly to palm away a Charlie Lee header which had hit a psot.

HALF-TIME: Stevenage 0 Rovers 3

The home side made two changes at the break, with Michael Tonge and Tom Pett coming on in place of Charlie Lee and Dale Gorman.

The first chance of the second period fell to Tommy Rowe, whose shot from the left of the area went wide of the far post.

Rovers also went close with a counter attack from Mandeville and Marquis, though the final shot from the latter was straight at Jones.

Marosi had to be alert to collect a long-range shot from substitute Pett, as Rovers tried to take the sting out of the match.

That limited the home side to half chances, with Wells landing a volley on the roof of Marosi's net as we closed on the hour mark.

Stevenage did get back in the game after 63 minutes. Substitute Pett fired the ball past Marosi to finish off a neat move down the right.

Rovers almost restored their three-goal lead, though. Coppinger immediately broke down the right, but his pull-back was just in front of the two forwards.

Then, less than a minute later, Marquis found himself put through by Mandeville, but pulled his effort wide of the far post.

Fraser Franks smashed home an impressive volley to make it 3-2, but Rovers responded immediately with Marquis smashing home a header from a Coppinger free-kick to make it 4-2.

That seemed to knock the stuffing out of the home side. There was late drama when Liburd poked home in the 90th minute, but Rovers held on.

FULL-TIME: Stevenage 3 Rovers 4

ROVERS | Marosi, Alcock, Baudry, Butler, Mason, Houghton, Blair, Rowe, Coppinger (c) (Williams), Marquis,  Mandeville (Keegan). ROVERS SUBS | Jones,  Beestin, Evina, Calder, Wright. BOOKED | Marquis
BORO XI | Jones, King, Francis, Schumacher (Liburd), McKirdy, Kennedy, Gorman (Pett), Wells, Lee (Tonge), Cowans, Henry (c) BORO SUBS | Day,  Kerr, Slater, Wilmott. BOOKED | Gorman
ATTENDANCE | 2,705 (542 away)

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