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MK Dons 0 Rovers 1

7 March 2020

Jacob Ramsey’s goal was enough as Rovers claimed a 1-0 win over MK Dons in Sky Bet League One.

The hosts had the best of the first half creating plenty of chances without really testing Seny Dieng while Rovers picked up in the second half. Jon Taylor and Ramsey both went close before the pair linked up for the all-important goal just after the hour mark.

Dieng made an excellent stop in the final minute of stoppage time to deny Joe Mason and MK Dons and ensure that Darren Moore’s side would take all three points back to Doncaster.

Moore made just one change to the side that defeated Wycombe Wanderers the weekend before with Ben Sheaf coming into the fray and Madger Gomes dropping to the bench.

Russell Martin made three changes to his side that registered an impressive draw with Rotherham United last time out with skipper Dean Lewington, Carlton Morris and David Kasumu returning to the starting XI.

Despite sitting 18th in the table, Dons have picked up 28 of their 37 points at home making it a tough place to go for any team and, while Ben Whiteman did register the first shot of the afternoon when his sighter from 25 yards bounced through to Lee Nicholls, it was the Dons who had the best of the opening 45 minutes.

Alex Gilbey had two efforts shooting outside either post from the edge of the box. The first came from a loose ball played out of the back by Rovers, with the host’s no.8 pulling the shot wide of the near post. The second was probably his easier chance - he did well to pick Brad Halliday’s pocket, but he got the shot all wrong and sent it swinging high and wide into the 600 jeering Rovers fans.

Seny Dieng was called into action twice early on as he denied Rhys Healey from the right and Callum Brittain from the left.

The hosts failed to capitalise on two big chances which came in quick succession. The first was created by some smart play down the right and a cutback to Healey who was waiting in the middle of the box. A fantastic block by Ben Sheaf was the only thing to deny the striker an opening goal. The striker almost turned provider just three minutes later when he raced to the by-line and put a dangerous ball across the face of goal. Jordan Houghton should almost certainly have tapped in at the far post.

Rovers got to grips with things a bit more on the half-hour mark and began to create a few half-chances. Whiteman’s effort from the edge of the box was blocked wide, while Kieran Sadlier latched onto Danny Amos’ deep delivery from a free-kick but couldn’t find the target.

The best chance of the half for Rovers came in the final minute. Rovers strung an excellent passing move together to eventually find Amos on the left. His delivery into the box was met by Niall Ennis but the Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee headed just wide.

They followed that up with another excellent passing move at the start of the second half working the ball out to Sadlier who was afforded loads of space. He hit the cross with plenty of dip and power, but it was always out of reach of the Rovers runners.

Ennis probably should have scored when Sadlier’s ball from the right found him unmarked at the back post. He couldn’t quite sort his feet out in time and sent the ball the wrong side of the post – that was his last say in the game as the break in play gave Moore chance to make his first change of the afternoon with Wolves youngster being replaced by Jon Taylor.

Taylor was getting plenty of joy against the MK Dons skipper Dean Lewington and sent a series of dangerous looking crosses into the box and Ramsey was given his first chance of the afternoon when some smart hold up play by Devante Cole allowed him to slide the Villa loanee in. Ramsey twisted and turned past the Dons defence but skewed his shot.

Rovers took the lead on the 67th minute when Taylor and Ramsey combined. Taylor blazed past the Dons skipper Lewington and cut the ball back finding the well-timed run of Ramsey who finished well.

Rovers could have stretched the lead with just under 15 minutes to go – Taylor’s shot was blocked behind for a corner and the resulting ball in wasn’t cleared effectively. Rovers players were lining up for the shot, but Lee Nicholls made two impressive stops to keep the score at 1-0.

Taylor and Gilbey traded speculative efforts from distance in stoppage time. Gilbey’s was the better of the two but neither dipped enough to trouble either keeper.

The Dons had a huge chance to snatch a draw in the final minute of the match but Dieng pulled off a big save at his near post to deny substitute Joe Mason and secure three points for Rovers.

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