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Rovers 1 Mansfield 0

8 April 2017

Tommy Rowe’s goal clinched Rovers’ immediate return to Sky Bet League One

Doncaster Rovers 1 Rowe (74) Mansfield Town 0
Saturday 8 April 2017
Keepmoat Stadium
Sky Bet League Two

Tommy Rowe’s goal clinched Rovers’ immediate return to Sky Bet League One

Rovers were unchanged after the 5-1 win at Grimsby Town last week, with James Copping returning to the bench after struggling with an ankle injury. This was to prove crucial.

The first half passed without much to shout about for either side. Steve Evans’ well drilled outfit set up effectively to stifle the Rovers’ attacking flair.

The visiting keeper Jake Kean was the first called into action, stopping John Marquis’ early header with his legs.The best Rovers chance of the half came when Tommy Rowe got a bit of space eight yards out, shot, was blocked, then shot again, then the keeper saved, before another shot was blocked and the Stags eventually scrambled it away.

Ian Lawlor comfortably held the Stags’ best chance when he held Alex MacDonald’s shot after a corner - which started with six away players lining up on the byline beyond the goal before running back into the six-yard box - was cleared into his path.

The 40th minute saw two successive free-kicks, increasingly closer to the Rovers goal. The second, an inswinger from Joel Byrom from near the corner flag forced Lawlor into a punch. The resultant corner managed to sail straight through the six-yard box, evading everyone.

HALF-TIME | Rovers 0 Mansfield Town 0

There were no changes at the break and early in the second half a fiercely driven corner from Gary McSheffrey was headed on at the near post by Rowe, though Matt Green and MacDonald combined to get it away. 

Mansfield went straight up the other end, where Rhys Bennett blazed over from 30 yards.

A double substitution on the hour mark saw an increase in intensity from Rovers’ attacks, with Coppinger and Alfie May coming off the bench. The home captain  promptly went down the left and won himself a corner making Kean parry at his near post.

When Luke McCullough opted to not shoot 20 yards out, dead centre, he shifted it a couple of yards left to Rowe whose fierce left-footed strike needed Kean to dive to his right.

Just two minutes later, the deadlock was finally broken when substitute Coppinger won a corner which he delivered himself, right on a six-pence for Rowe to head in at the near post.

This punctured the tension in the stadium, with results elsewhere meaning a draw would secure promotion.

Mansfield did then have an attack of their own, but Danny Rose saw his overhead kick cleared off the line by Andy Butler.

But Ferguson’s men were soon right back down the other end with Blair netting what he thought was the second of the game , only for the linesman’s flag to halt the Rovers’ celebrations.

Ben Whiteman curled a shot just wide of Lawlor’s upright, but Rovers held firm and can now start dreaming of finishing the season with a title. 

FULL-TIME | Rovers 1 Mansfield 0
ROVERS | Lawlor, Alcock, Butler ©, Baudry, Mason (Wright), Blair, McCullough, McSheffrey (Coppinger), Rowe, Williams (May), Marquis. UNUSED SUBS | Marosi, Taylor-Sinclair, Grant, Middleton.
MANSFIELD | Kean, Bennett, Pearce ©, Taft, Benning, Green, Byrom, Whiteman, MacDonald (Hamilton), Coulthirst, Rose (Potter). UNUSED SUBS | Jensen, Collins, Howkins, Arquin, McGuire
BOOKED | Green
Attendance | 9,903 (2010 away)

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