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Rovers 3 Peterborough United 1

9 February 2019

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Rovers climbed back into the Sky Bet League One play-off places after goals from Kieran Sadlier, John Marquis and an own goal by Peterborough United's Ben White saw them run-out 3-1 victors over the Posh.

Peterborough took the lead in the opening five minutes, but an impressive second half comeback by Rovers meant the home side leapfrogged Posh into the play-off places with two games in hand over them.

Grant McCann made two changes to the side that drew with Portsmouth at Fratton Park. Matty Blair and Tyler Smith dropped to the bench to be replaced by James Coppinger and Ali Crawford. In the opposite dugout, former Rovers' manager Darren Ferguson made three changes from his side that suffered home defeat to Plymouth Argyle. Lee Tomlin was serving a ban after picking up a red card against the Pilgrims and Daniel Lafferty and Siriki Dembele also missed out. Marcus Maddison, Tyler Denton and George Cooper were the replacements.

Cooper made an immediate impact on his return for Posh as he bagged a goal just five-minutes in. Rovers were caught in possession as they looked to play the ball out of the back, it fell kindly to Cooper on the edge of the 18-yard box, but it still took some considerable technique from the forward to bend the effort just inside Marko Marosi's left post.

Rovers reacted well to the set-back and moved the ball effectively as they searched for an opening. The combination of Aaron Lewis and Mallik Wilks was finding joy on the Rovers right-hand side and it was that combination which won the first corner for the home side. Danny Andrew's corner kick tested Posh 'keeper Conor O'Malley even his follow-up effort did not.

John Marquis would be provided the next opportunity. Ben Whiteman's sublime pass found Lewis in acres of space and some more clever interplay between Wilks and Lewis gave the Leeds United loanee chance to cross to Marquis who had lost his marker at the far post. The number 9 couldn't quite sort his feet quickly enough to connect properly with the effort.

Despite the increased pressure from Rovers, it was actually defender Tyler Denton who came closest to equalising for the home side within the first half hour. His header back to the 'keeper seemed to be on target but jagged right at the last second to connect with the woodwork.

That seemed to scare Peterborough back into action and within minutes, the visitors had seen one hit the woodwork at the other end. Rhys Bennett's header from a corner was inches away from doubling Posh's lead.

Peterborough seemed happy to slow the match down which was evident as Denton picked up a yellow card for persistent time-wasting on the 35th minute. Rovers continued to fly forward in numbers and pepper O'Malley's box with crosses without really creating any clear-cut chances.

The best Rovers chance of the half fell to Wilks who did fantastically well to dance past Rhys Bennett and set up a one-on-one with O'Malley but couldn't find a way past the Posh 'keeper.

Wilks' pace and power continued to cause problems for the visitors. He was scythed down by Denton on the 44th minute which earned the Posh player his second yellow of the match and an early shower. Shortly after, Bennett was booked for a similar challenge on Wilks whilst the Rovers forward picked up a card for his involvement in the aftermath. That incident brought an end to a feisty first half.

The second half looked as though it was going to pick up where the first had left off. A strong challenge from Jason Naismith on John Marquis within seconds of the restart drew penalty shouts from supporters in the Black Bank but referee Carl Boyeson wasn't interested.

Marquis was involved in the action just seconds later. James Coppinger drew on his years of experience play a perfectly weighted pass into the path of the striker. Marquis' driven effort from distance forced another good save from Connor O'Malley.

If one good save returns another, at the other end, Marko Marosi responded with an equally good reaction stop to deny Ivan Toney from point blank range.

Rovers continued to press for an equaliser. Efforts from Marquis, Paul Downing, Ben Whiteman and James Coppinger all went begging. The best chance fell to the Rovers' number nine, some excellent one-touch passing between Whiteman and Coppinger seemed to have set Marquis up for a one-on-one, but Naismith made a second perfectly-timed challenge of the half to deny him.

The breakthrough finally came just after the hour mark when a Danny Andrew corner dropped awkwardly at the far post and was bundled in by Posh defender Ben White. If the young centre-back hadn't put the ball in, Paul Downing certainly would have.

Rovers weren't done yet and less than five minutes later had taken the lead through John Marquis. Wilks did brilliantly to sprint away from the Posh defence and round 'keeper O'Malley but his thunderbolt of an effort found the post. The ball ricocheted back onto Naismith who could only watch as the ball bounced off his chest and connected with the opposite post. It was Marquis who reacted quickest to loose ball. He buried his shot into the roof of the net from close range to put Rovers ahead.

Rovers were certainly in the ascendancy and Matty Blair – who replaced Aaron Lewis – almost headed a third from a Danny Andrew cross straight after.

The third goal came from a bit of quick thinking by Rovers. Peterborough players seemed distracted, asking for a break in play to deal with an injury to Joe Ward who was already receiving treatment off the pitch. A quick throw-in was taken towards Kieran Sadlier – who replaced Coppinger on the 68th minute. The Ireland youth international was alert, held off the challenge of Naismith and buried the effort into the top corner.

Rovers showed their ruthlessness and looked the most likely to go on and get another with Marquis and Sadlier both seeing shots blocked. Grant McCann didn't show any interest in defending either as he replaced Mallik Wilks with another hungry striker Tyler Smith.

The Sheffield United loanee was quickly in on the action. He brushed passed Cooper – who had been forced into a wing-back position following the dismissal of Denton in the first half - and had a firebolt effort saved by O'Malley who was having a good game in between the sticks for Peterborough.

Peterborough didn't give up and Ivan Toney had two opportunities late on for the visitors but it was Rovers who finished the match with the points.


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