Town’s drought continues at the Keepmoat
Doncaster Rovers’ two goal victory continued Town’s drought at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Town have visited the home of Doncaster Rovers three times since its opening and are still yet to score.
Billy Sharp netted midway through the first half after Town had failed to deal with a Doncaster corner and when David Cotterill swept the home team into a two goal lead, Town just didn’t have an answer.
Paul Dixon and Nahki Wells had forced Rovers’ stopper Sam Johnstone into a double save at the start of the second half, but that was as good as it got for Town.
Mark Robins had the luxury of naming an unchanged match day 18 for the trip Doncaster.
The men who emphatically hit Barnsley for five last weekend were given the opportunity to put in a similar performance at the Keepmoat.
Robins’ selection did indicate that Jonathan Hogg wasn’t over the calf injury that kept him out of the Barnsley win, whilst both James Vaughan and Joel Lynch missed out as expected.
The Terriers, wearing all yellow, were looking to score their first goal since the opening of the Keepmoat Stadium and had it not been for the alertness of Paul Quinn, Danny Ward may have given Town a second minute lead with his head.
Nahki Wells passed up a shooting opportunity a few minutes later, whilst Adam Hammill choose to shoot, but hit it tamely wide as Town made all the early running.
Mark Duffy had the home side’s first effort in anger twenty minutes in to the clash before Billy Sharp forced Alex Smithies into a comfortable save with a snap shot from the edge of the area.
Chris Brown’s power was integral to Rovers in attack and he held off Murray Wallace on the half hour mark to earn his side a corner with Abdoulaye Meite involved. From it, David Cotterill found Ritchie Wellens whose downward header was flicked into the roof of Smithies’ net by Sharp.
It was the striker’s second goal against the Terriers this term; he had previously scored for Reading at the John Smith’s Stadium.
James Husband and Cotterill both shot wide as Paul Dickov’s men looked to build on their advantage and it wasn’t until the final stages of the half that Town kicked back into gear.
Adam Clayton’s floated pass caught Meite the wrong side of the ball and Nahki Wells gathered superbly eight yards from goal only for the Ivorian to recover well and clear. Hammill followed up and earned Town a corner and from the resulting play Anthony Gerrard saw a header cleared on the line by Paul Keegan.
Robins’ men came out brightly at the start of the second 45 with Wells leading the charge superbly. He committed two Rovers defenders and feed Dixon whose shot was saved well by Sam Johnstone; the rebound eventually found Wells who forced Johnstone into an even better save at his near post.
With Martin Paterson on the pitch, Doncaster were finding more space in midfield and after Gerrard had cleared well and Gabriel Tamas had headed wide, Cotterill doubled Doncaster’s advantage in the 55th minute.
Town were found exposed down the left and Duffy made them pay with a square ball to Cotterill who swept home superbly from inside the area.
The chances just weren’t falling for Town; whilst at the other end Sharp was looking lively, forcing Smithies into another save.
With twenty minutes to go both Joe Lolley and Sean Scannell were on for the Terriers as they looked for a way back into the match. Paterson did force Johnstone into a save, but the angle was tight and the shot tame.
Paterson’s effort was Johnstone’s final save of the match as Doncaster held firm to secure a vital three points in their fight against relegation.
Town’s team (4-5-1):
Alex Smithies (c); Paul Dixon, Murray Wallace, Anthony Gerrard, Calum Woods; Danny Ward (Martin Paterson, 46), Adam Clayton, Oliver Norwood (Sean Scannell, 63), Keith Southern, Adam Hammill (Joe Lolley, 73); Nahki Wells
Ian Bennett, Tommy Smith, Peter Clarke, Oscar Gobern