Goals from Andy Butler and John Marquis gave Darren Ferguson’s men a comfortable 2-0 victory over Cheltenham Town.
Doncaster Rovers 2
(Butler 23, Marquis 81)
Cheltenham Town 0
Sky Bet League Two
Saturday 11 March 2017
Attendance: 5,737 (183 away)
Rovers continued their search for the Sky Bet League Two title as goals from Andy Butler and John Marquis gave Darren Ferguson’s men a comfortable 2-0 victory over Cheltenham Town.
Butler found the back of the net in the first period, after Matty Blair’s cross from a quick free-kick found the defender, who tapped the ball home.
The visitors were reduced to 10-men in the second half as defender Will Boyle was sent off for two bookable offences, and Marquis wrapped the game up with nine minutes remaining to grab his 21st league goal of the season.
The first chance of the half fell to the home side after seven minutes, a low cross from right wing-back Matty Blair was smartly flicked towards goal by Alfie May, but goalkeeper Scott Brown thwarted the forward.
Gary Johnson’s men were next to register their first attempt on target, as a cross from James Rowe was sliced towards goal by Kyle Wooton, thankfully for Ian lawlor in the Rovers goal, there was not enough contact on the ball to cause any trouble.
But it was Rovers who would take the lead in this game, as quick free-kick from James Coppinger found Blair, who fired a low ball into the box which found Marquis, his shot was blocked but there was Butler to follow in and fire home.
With a minute remaining in the first period Rovers really should have made it two, Marquis won the ball on half way and poked the ball through to Coppinger to run with, with men either side of him the captain squared it to May.
The former Hythe Town striker forced Brown in the Cheltenham goal to make a brilliant 1-on-1 save, the ball popped out to Coppinger who had his left-footed striker cleared off the line by Boyle, who was well placed on the goal-line.
HALF-TIME | Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Cheltenham Town
Cheltenham made a half time substitution with Jordan Cranston replacing Liam Davies, it took until the 65th minute for either side to have a notable shot on target and it came from the visitors.
A looping cross from the right-hand side from Billy Waters was headed into the grateful hands of Lawlor by Scunthorpe United loanne Wooton.
With 20 minutes of the game remaining Johnson’s men were down to 10, after centre back Boyle was given his marching orders by referee Johnson, for two bookable offences.
From the resulting free-kick by Coppinger, Rowe thought he has doubled Rovers’ lead with his head but the linesman thought otherwise as his flagged was raised on the far side.
Rovers began to dominate after that, a lovely interchange of passing by May and Rowe, saw the latter take control of the ball and lay off to striker Marquis, his effort looked to be nestling in the top right corner of Brown’s goal but the Robins keeper pulled off a tremendous save.
The scoreline soon showed that as Darren Ferguson’s men doubled their lead, May did well to hustle the ball back from the Cheltenham defence before laying Marquis up to do the rest and smash home his 21st league goal of the season.
On the 88th minute a through ball from substitute Gary McSheffrey set away fellow substitute Andy Williams on goal, but a big save from Brown kept the score at 2-0 with minutes remaining.
Williams had the final effort of the game, a floated ball over the top of the Cheltenham defence was picked up by the forward before unleashing a thunderous effort towards Brown’s goal, but the keeper was equal to it on this occasion.
FULL-TIME | Doncaster Rovers 2-0 Cheltenham Town
ROVERS XI | Lawlor, Mason, Alcock, Butler, Baudry, Blair, Rowe, Grant (McSheffrey 84’), Coppinger (C) (Middleton 75’), May (Williams 84’), Marquis.
ROVERS SUBS | Marosi, Evina, Lund, Longbottom.
CHELTENHAM XI | Brown, Barthram, Pell (C) (Dayton 67’), Waters, Boyle, Rowe, Wootton, Onaraise, Winchester, Plavotic, Davis (Cranston 45’).
CHELTENHAM SUBS | Lovett, Wright, Munns, O’Shaughnessy, Holman.