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Rovers 3 Southend United 0

12 February 2019

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Rovers warmed up nicely for Sunday's Emirates FA Cup showdown with a comfortable win over Southend United at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Goals from John Marquis, Mallik Wilks and Herbie Kane saw Rovers cruise to a vital three points that saw them go four points clear of seventh placed Peterborough United ahead of their break away from league action at the weekend.

Rovers manager Grant McCann named an unchanged line-up from the team that started Saturday's 3-1 win over Peterborough for the visit of the Shrimpers.

Southend boss Chris Powell, meanwhile, had to make one enforced change, bringing in Stephen McLaughlin for the suspended Dru Yearwood, whilst Michael Klass replaced Michael Kightly who dropped to the bench.

It would be Rovers who enjoyed much of the early play, with Wilks causing trouble down the right-hand side, cutting back onto his left and putting a teasing cross in that Shrimpers' stopper Nathan Bishop had to be alert to.

From Rovers' next real attack, they grabbed the opening goal, with a corner routine Southend's undoing.
Ali Crawford played it short to Marquis before getting the return ball, with a cross then being floated over to Ben Whiteman.


He played the ball out to his right where James Coppinger was waiting to chop and turn his way out of trouble and dink a lovely ball into the path of Marquis, and the skipper was on hand to head the ball past Bishop for the opener.

Wilks would be in the thick of things once again as he freed up space to tee up Whiteman from the edge of the box, though even a flick off a boot in the area wasn't enough to prevent Bishop from claiming the midfielder's well-struck shot.

Tom Anderson would be next to go close as he headed just over from another Crawford corner, with Rovers looking to extend their advantage over the visitors.

Wilks would then have a chance of his own to shoot after a brilliant through ball by Kane, however the man on loan from Leeds United could only fire straight at Bishop.

Crawford, creator for so many of Rovers' best chances, then had a pop at goal himself with a free-kick from distance that almost caught Bishop out, but the Shrimpers' stopper once again got across to tip the ball behind for another Rovers corner.

Rovers would have one last chance to extend their lead as the first half ticked towards a conclusion, with the resulting corner from Crawford seeing John White get a boot to the ball on, but luckily for the Southend man, the ball crashed off the underside of the crossbar.

Straight after the interval, Rovers looked to be on the front foot with Kane finding Marquis in the box once again just 90 seconds into the second period.

Marquis spun his marker before looking to fire into the corner, but Bishop got down well to save before claiming the ball before it could bounce out for a corner.

Southend's first real chance of the game came not long afterwards with Simon Cox finding plenty of space inside the Rovers' box, only to find his shot on goal directed straight at Aaron Lewis who blocked well.

Rovers did get their second goal 10 minutes after the restart though, and it was one they would need with the Shrimpers starting to edge their way back into the game.
Kane was able to slip his marker and feed Wilks down the right, who in turn fended off the challenge from Sam

Hart, and the forward kept his cool to slot home into the near post and double the home side's lead.
Marquis would then go close to making it three after a superb ball in from the right by Danny Andrew.

The left-back's free-kick evaded everyone but the Rovers number nine, but his brilliant diving header would strike the upright rather than nestle in the back of Bishop's net.

Rovers were looking very dangerous going forward as the game headed towards the final 20 minutes, with another through ball from Kane finding Wilks.

He looked to fire past Bishop once more, only to find the Southend goalkeeper on hand to save, before the rebound from Marquis was blocked on the line very well by Elvis Bwomono.

It would not be long before Rovers got the third goal they deserved, with a superb bit of play to make it three.

Substitute Kieran Sadlier and Crawford combined to win the ball back just inside the Rovers half, before Crawford fed the ball through for Marquis.

With Marquis seemingly baring down on goal one-on-one with Bishop, he unselfishly cut the ball back onto his left foot and slid the ball across for Kane to slot the ball into the empty net for a goal the Liverpool loanee truly deserved.

Another substitute would almost be in on the action as Tyler Smith raced in behind before cutting back onto his right foot, though Michael Turner would be back in the nick of time to block his shot.

Southend thought they had a consolation goal late on as Michael Kightly poked the ball into the back of the net, but the assistant referee on the far side had his flag up and it just wasn't to be for the Shrimpers.

Rovers are at the Keepmoat Stadium once again this Sunday for the little matter of an Emirates FA Cup fifth round tie against Premier League side Crystal Palace, with a sell-out crowd set to show up.


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