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Rovers 0 Sunderland 1

23 October 2018

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Rovers were undone by high-flying league leaders Sunderland in a thrilling encounter thanks to Chris Maguire's second half strike.

Maguire struck just two minutes after the interval to hand the Black Cats victory and, despite Grant McCann's side's best efforts, they were unable to force a leveller.

The visitors had the game's opening opportunity inside two minutes, with a former Rovers loanee the first man to go close for the Black Cats.

Lynden Gooch cut inside from the right-hand side and onto his left foot, and he aimed a low strike into the near post looking to catch Marko Marosi out, but his shot rolled past the post.

Gooch would be at the heart of the Black Cats' next chance moments later, as he got down the right-hand side past Danny Andrew to cross over for Maguire.

Maguire rose above everyone to head back across goal, but he was unable to keep his effort down, looking on as his header sailed over the crossbar.

Rovers had some good chances of their own however, with Mallik Wilks cutting inside on to his favoured left foot from the right, only to see his effort ripple against the side-netting.

Andy Butler then rose highest from a brilliantly-weighted free-kick into the area from James Coppinger, only to see his header claimed at the back post by Jon McLaughlin.

Rovers were enjoying a good period of possession in the game's opening 20 minutes, with a swift Rovers counter seeing Ben Whiteman next to test McLaughlin.

Coppinger brought the ball forward and crossed into the area, and with the ball falling to Whiteman, he looked to curl from the edge of the box and into the corner, only to guide the ball into the arms of the Sunderland stopper.

Rovers should've been in front in added on time at the end of the first period, with two massive chances for Wilks and Matty Blair.

First, Wilks raced clear one-on-one after winning a battle with Jack Baldwin, however his shot was saved by McLaughlin, before Baldwin and Tom Flanagan both got back on the line to stop the ball from trickling over.

Blair would then miss a similar chance seconds later as he burst down the middle to collect a through ball, only to see McLaughlin at his best once more to save again.

It would be those chances that Rovers would be left to rue with just little over 90 seconds of the second period played, as the Black Cats went in front.

Gooch got the better of Andrew down the right-hand side before shooting from the edge of the area, only to see his curler strike the inside of the post.

The ball bounced back out into the path of Adam Matthews who rolled the ball across the six-yard box and to the feet of Maguire who smashed the ball into the roof of the net to give the visitors the lead.

Wilks would do his best to get Rovers back level, first blazing a shot just over the bar, before curling just past the far post moments later.

McLaughlin would then have to be on his toes to deny Marquis an equaliser, as he found space in the penalty area after a ball through, but the man in the Black Cats' goal tipped the ball behind for a corner.

Marquis would have another chance late on as Rovers continued to press, with Herbie Kane's floated ball met by the striker, however his header was again claimed by McLaughlin to deny him once again.

Rovers were unable to find that equaliser and it would be the Black Cats who earned three points at the Keepmoat Stadium, despite a brave battle from the hosts.

Rovers now travel to Coventry City on Saturday as they look to bounce back with three points in Sky Bet League One.

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