Colchester United 0
Saturday October 15, 2016
Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Sky Bet League Two.
Rovers made it back to back home wins with a hard fought victory over Colchester United at the Keepmoat Stadium. Tommy Rowe’s clinical finish on the stroke of half-time was enough to secure the three points which closed to Darren Ferguson's sideto withing three points of leaders Plymouth Argyle.
Rovers made just one enforced change to the starting line up from the victory over Barnet, with the winning goal-scorer from that game Andy Williams missing out through injury and being replaced by John Marquis.
The opening 20 minutes proved to be quite a cagey affair, with both sides battling to gain some control of the game. The first real chance came the way of the visitors as a Luke Prosser knock down from a set piece led to a scramble with a number of ricochets before Rovers managed to eventually clear.
Almost straight after that Marko Marosi was called into action for the first time, a smart lay off from Chris Porter for the U’s set up Kurtis Guthrie whose effort on the half volley forced a smart save from the keeper.
A ball over the top then caused havoc for the Rovers defence, Colchester midfielder Sammie Szmodics latched onto it and cut inside before Andy Butler made a timely block which sent the ball out for a corner.
Colchester almost took the lead on the stroke of half time, Drey Wright produced a great in-swinging cross from the left hand side and Porter directed a downward header straight at Marosi from just six yards out.
Rovers made the visitors pay for that missed chance with the final action of the first half. A ball in from the right was followed by a sublime dummy on the edge of the box from John Marquis which left Tommy Rowe unmarked to dink a great finish over the goalkeeper.
Rovers 1 Colchester United 0.
Rovers created their first chance of the second half in the 51st minute with a chip to the back post from James Coppinger was nodded back across goal by Marquis and the stretching Liam Mandeville just failed to get a touch.
A drilled ball in from the left caused problems for Rovers, with a glancing header from Guthrie ensuring Marosi again had to be alert to keep the home side in front.
Rovers made a double change with 20 minutes to go, with Mathieu Baudry and Harry Middleton replacing Joe Wright and Liam Mandeville in an attempt to insert some energy and fresh legs for the final quarter of the game.
Marquis then had a great chance to put the game to bed. A long punt clear from Cedric Evina left the front man all alone in the Colchester half and after taking it round the Keeper and looking certain to score he was denied by a goal-line clearance from Brindley.
At that stage the game was starting to open up and it was only great alertness from Marosi as he raced out of his goal to save a side footed shot from Szmodics that denied the U’s an equaliser.
Colchester had arguably their best chance to equalise with just five minutes to go, a volleyed cross into the box was met by the head of the substitute Denny Johnstone but he could only guide his effort just wide of a post.
Szmodics had another half chance for the away side as the game edged into injury time, as the referee waved away a penalty appeal both sets of players seemed to stop before the diminutive midfielder fired over on the half volley.
Rovers managed to hold out for the three points in what may prove to be a crucial win come the end of the season, a performance which showed the character needed to ensure they stay challenging for promotion at the top of Sky Bet League Two.
Rovers | Marosi, Mason, Butler, Wright (Baudry 70), Evina, Houghton, Blair, Rowe (Calder, 57), Coppinger ©, Mandeville (Middleton, 70), Marquis. Subs not used: Etheridge, Beestin, Garratt, Longbottom.
Colchester | Walker, Brindley, Prosser ©, Eastman, Wynter, Wright, Slater, Szmodics, Vincent-Young (Sembie-Ferris, 56), Guthrie (Bonne, 66), Porter (Johnstone, 63). Subs not used: Doyley, James, Kamara, Bransgrove.
Attendance | 5007 (away 225).