(Coppinger 15, Blair 32, Williams 90)
(Dembele 61, Gambin 86)
Saturday October 8, 2016
Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Sky Bet League Two
Doncaster extended their unbeaten run at home with a last-gasp victory at the Keepmoat thanks to a poacher’s finish from Andy Williams. First half goals from James Coppinger and Matty Blair put Darren Ferguson’s side in control before they were pegged back and made to work for the three points.
Rovers made two changes from the victory over Portsmouth with top-scorer John Marquis missing out through suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the win at Fratton Park. He was replaced by Liam Mandeville, while the other alteration saw Aston Villa loanee Niall Mason come in to the back-line in place of Frazer Richardson.
The home side started off on the front foot against a Barnet side who, under Martin Allen, are always set up to be hard to beat.
Coppinger had the first meaningful effort of the game after a quarter of an hour and, what an effort it was, a cross into the box from Blair was headed back out of the area and Coppinger latched onto the ball firing a sweet first time volley into a top corner to put Rovers in front.
Barnet’s main threat came from the throwing exploits of Sam Muggleton. The midfielder created the side’s first chance as his ball into the box was not dealt with and eventually Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro tried an ambitious effort which he could only turn wide of a post.
Rovers then proved why they are the league’s top goal scorers as they doubled their lead after 32 minutes. Blair collected the ball wide on the right before driving forward and playing a one-two with Liam Mandeville. The former continued his run into the box and fired a great finish into the far corner.
The second goal saw the home side take control in possession and they were happy to keep the ball without really creating another chance on goal. Just before half- time there was a slight appeal for a penalty when Niall Mason’s effort appeared to strike the arm of Bondz N’Gala but the referee was having none of it and that was the final action of the first half.
Half-time: Rovers 2–0 Barnet
Barnet had the first chance of the second period as a whipped corner into the box was met by the head of N’Gala who forced a good save from Marko Marosi - who managed to gather at the second attempt.
The away side then halved the deficit with just over an hour on the clock, a number of Muggleton long throw ins in quick succession eventually proved too much for Rovers to handle as the ball was launched in once again and Bira Dembele glanced home past a helpless Marosi.
Doncaster almost hit back in fine style as the ball was worked out onto the left channel where Williams picked it up, he cut in side and curled a great effort which went just over. Mathieu Baudry was brought on for his home league debut shortly after as Darren Ferguson switched to a 3-5-2 formation.
Barnet substitute Justin Amaluzor had a great chance to equalise with 20 minutes to go as he made some space in behind, but Marosi was out quickly to deny the forward.
Into the final 10 minutes and Martin Allen’s men had their equaliser, Maltese international Luke Gambin swept the ball home left footed from just inside the box to bring Barnet level – again, it was a Muggleton throw, this time from inside his own half, which caused the danger.
Rovers thought they may have had to settle for a point as the game went into injury time. Bur Blair broke free down the right, curled a ball into the near post and there was Williams to steer the ball in from close range to seal the game in front of a jubilant Black Bank.
Full-time: Rovers 3 Barnet 2.
Rovers | Marosi, Mason (Baudry, 69), Butler, Wright, Evina, Houghton (Middleton, 85), Blair, Rowe, Coppinger © (Calder, 74), Mandeville, Williams. Subs not used | Etheridge, Beestin, Garratt, Longbottom.
Barnet | Vickers, Dembele, N’Gala, Nelson ©, Watson, Akinde, Campbell-Ryce (Gambin, 74), Togwell (Nicholls, 78), Muggleton, Akpa Akpro (Amaluzor, 57), Vilhete. Subs not used |Stephens, Sesay, Taylor, Payne.
Attendance: 4,861 (away 198).