Flying start erased as Rovers’ gloom deepens

Rovers' Frederic Piquionne celebrates his goal with teammate El Hadji Diouf.

Rovers' Frederic Piquionne celebrates his goal with teammate El Hadji Diouf.

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AT some stage, the talk of winning has to stop and the winning itself has to take over. Or else.

Rovers have been hanging in there and went into this game still with hope. Birmingham came into it needing a win but for reasons at the other end of the table - and only one win in seven meant they needed to be getting three points too.

In the event, a win was beyond Rovers who have won just once in 15 and they moved another step closer to the drop.

Rovers got off to a great start - a goal up in four minutes and ought to have had another in eight. But then they were pegged level by the quarter-hour.

Gillett did really well on the right, struck a wonderful centre into the heart of the danger area and Piquionne arrived on cue to power home a header.

When Oster made ground on the right, he too delivered a telling centre. Robert got up at the near post but miscued his header giving Myhill, much to his relief, an easy save.

Rovers were buzzing but King suddenly found some room and struck a wicked effort onto the bar. A corner resulted and Birmingham levelled from it.

The giant Zigic powered in a header, Ikeme made a fine reflex save at point blank range but the ball rebounded away and defender Murphy headed home.

A Rovers corner offered Gillett a shooting opportunity from the edge of the area but he fired over.

A wicked free-kick from Townsend into the six yard area was a real problem but Rovers were rescued by an excellent challenge by Beye.

There was a moment of controversy when King rounded Ikeme but a stride or so later went down and ref Webster booked King for diving, to the striker’s disgust.

It did seem Ikeme touched him but King’s delayed fall appeared to come when he reckoned the ball was running away too quickly.

A let-off for Rovers saw Zigic rattle the near post from Burke’s cross and then Beye robbed King with a last ditch challenge following a superb pass from Burke.

The bravest of blocks by Lockwood denied Zigic six yards and it was the sort of defiance Rovers needed.

But they also needed something at the other end and three times went close in a good second half spell.

Firstly Barnes couldn’t get enough on a superb cross from Gillett who was then denied by Myhill’s advance after good work by Piquionne and Robert set up the chance.

Then Piquionne got up the right, slipped the ball inside but Diouf struck his 16 yarder over the top.

It was a really encouraging spell only for Birmingham to respond in their next attack by going in front on 62 minutes, Burke curling a fine angled effort into the far side of the net.

It was cruel for Rovers after that eventful spell.

It was all over 10 minutes from time when left back Murphy curled a long ball right into the path of King and he calmly sidefooted past Ikeme to confirm a third straight home defeat.

n DONCASTER ROVERS: Ikeme; Beye (Dumbuya 75), Lockwood, Friend, Ilunga; Oster Coppinger 82), Barnes; Gillett, Robert; Diouf, Picquionne (Brown 67). Subs: Hird, Bennett.

n BIRMINGHAM CITY: Myhill; Ramage, Davies, Caldwell, Murphy, Burke (Redmond 86), N’Daw, Mutch, Townsend (Elliott 64), Zigic Huseklepp 86), King. Subs: Doyle, Gomis.

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