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Rovers 3 Southend United 1

28 January 2020

Goals from Niall Ennis and Kieran Sadlier saw Rovers pick up their fourth win in six games in Sky Bet League One after a 3-1 win over Southend United.

Wolves loanee Ennis opened the scoring with a fine finish from the edge of the box half-way through the first half, before Sadlier scored either side of the break to extend the lead.

Southend put up a fight and got a goal back of their own through Harry Phillips, though Rovers saw it out well to ensure they came away from the Keepmoat Stadium with three points.

Darren Moore made two changes to the side that started Friday’s goalless draw at Sunderland, with Joe Wright and Madger Gomes being replaced by James Coppinger and Kieran Sadlier, with the latter returning from his spell out with concussion

The opening 10 minutes started out slowly with neither side really troubling the other, with Tom Anderson seeing an effort ruled out for offside inside four minutes, before Stephen Humphrys missed a half-chance against Seny Dieng.

Jon Taylor went close to opening the scoring as he broke through on goal from a Niall Ennis flick on, only to see his looping shot hacked away for a corner.

Rovers’ first real chance of the game came on 23 minutes with Reece James allowed time and space in front of goal, however his shot from 25 yards out flew just over the crossbar.

That wouldn’t matter for the hosts though as they took the lead just a minute later, with James again involved.

He drove through the midfield and played the ball forward towards Ennis who turned his man brilliantly before firing low into the bottom corner, catching Mark Oxley out to put Rovers ahead.

Southend came back straight away though and hit the post almost from the restart, with Cameron John clearing straight into the path of Jason Demetriou.

He crossed in from the right with the ball evading everyone bar Humphrys at the back post, though he couldn’t quite send his header into the back of the net, with the ball ricocheting away via the outside of the post.

Rovers looked to up the ante after that and went close to adding a second as Sadlier received the ball from James before firing just wide of the right-hand post with his left-footed shot from the edge of the box.

A Coppinger corner delivered Rovers next opportunity, with Anderson rising highest to meet the set-piece, only to see his header cleared off the line by Stephen McLaughlin.

Rovers did get their second with four minutes to go until the break, with a quick counter-attack allowing Coppinger to find Sadlier in enough space to cut back onto his right foot.

He was able to curl a delightful effort into the top corner from the edge of the box to grab his 10th goal of the season.

Southend to their credit came forward quickly again after going further behind, with Charlie Kelman breaking down the right before looking to fire past Dieng from a tight angle, though the QPR loanee got a strong hand to save before picking up the loose ball.

Rovers grabbed their third goal 10 minutes after the interval, with that man Sadlier in the right place at the right time for his second of the game.

Ben Sheaf sprayed the ball across to Jon Taylor who cut past his man and crossed in from the right, finding the head of Sadlier with a pinpoint cross, allowing him to divert his effort beyond the stretch of Oxley.

Rovers were really finding their feet with another good passing move between Coppinger and captain Ben Whiteman eventually finding Sheaf, though his first time shot from distance was held by Oxley.

Sheaf then was at the centre of the next move as his long ball forward found the run of Brad Halliday.

Halliday nicked the ball around McLaughlin before squaring the ball in towards Taylor, though the Rovers no.10 saw his shot blocked away by Rob Kiernan.

The Shrimpers hit the post from a McLaughlin free-kick moments later as they looked to get one back, though Isaac Hutchinson was unable to make anything of the rebound either.

They did take their next chance to get one back from the following attack, with Harry Phillips taking aim from all of 35 yards.

His shot was deflected off of a Rovers man and looped over Dieng into the far corner.

That didn’t deter Rovers though and through Coppinger almost had their fourth as he broke free in the box and looked to curl one into the top corner, only to see his effort come away off the crossbar before Sheaf saw his follow-up deflected over.

James also went close to adding a fourth as the game ticked towards the 90th minute, latching onto Sheaf’s ball forward before firing across goal, narrowly missing the far corner.

Devante Cole came off the bench and had one late chance to cap off his debut with a goal, though his shot in the area was blocked away, though Rovers’ hard work was already done and they earnt their fourth win in six games in Sky Bet League One.

Next up for Rovers is a trip to Fleetwood Town on Saturday, as they look to continue their recent run of good form.

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