Full time: Doncaster Rovers 0 Notts County 1

Harry Forrester drills an effort on goal for Rovers against Notts County. Picture: Steve Taylor
Harry Forrester drills an effort on goal for Rovers against Notts County. Picture: Steve Taylor
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Rovers’ home woes continued as they were dumped out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy by Notts County at the Keepmoat.

Liam Noble’s 74th minute strike was all the separated the two sides in a low key affair on a bitterly cold evening.

Doncaster Rovers' Theo Robinson in action against Notts County.

Doncaster Rovers' Theo Robinson in action against Notts County.

Noble slammed in from outside the area with one of only two shots on target for the visitors.

Rovers themselves did not fare much better with a deflected effort well saved by Roy Carroll the best of their own chances.

Paul Dickov’s men have won just once on home soil this term and have failed to score at the Keepmoat in the last four matches.

In a moment of real controversy, they thought they had ended their goal drought only to be disappointed following a period of consultation between two match officials.

Kyle Bennett thought he had given Rovers the lead on 68 minutes with a drilled effort and referee David Webb initially signaled for a goal.

But his assistant flagged for offside and after consultation between the officials, the goal was chalked off.

A horrible deflection in the first half almost handed Rovers the opener but the game was goalless at the break.

Bennett drilled a low cross which took a wicked kick off Noble and needed a fine reaction stop from Carroll to keep the ball out of the net.

Bennett also produced arguably the closest chance of the opening half just four minutes from the break when he curled a free kick narrowly wide with Carroll left static.

Neither side managed to craft a single opportunity in the first ten minutes until Bennett went for goal from a free kick but produced a poor effort.

Rovers kept possession well in the early stages without really advancing into the final thirdt.

After Bennett’s poor free kick, Harry Forrester managed the game’s first shot on target but was denied with a simple save from Roy Carroll.

And the visitors took their turn to threaten with Noble sending over a free kick which Hayden Hollis turned over the bar.

County had the best chance of the early stages on 16 minutes. Former Rovers full back Mustapha Dumbuya delivered a fine cross after good link-up play with Michael Petrasso and Jake Cassidy hooked the ball over at the near post.

It took a fine block from Andy Butler to prevent Cassidy advancing on goal after a great header from Alan Smith.

With more than an hour gone, there had been just a single shot on target from both teams combined and only a handful of real opportunities.

But after their opener, County almost grabbed a second on 77 minutes when substitute Drissa Traore drilled wide after Sam Johnstone had saved Garry Thompson’s initial effort.

Rovers: Johnston, Wakefield (McCombe 90), McCullough, Butler, Evina, De Val, Forrester (Wellens 63), Whitehouse (Coppinger 63), Bennett, Main, Robinson.

Subs not used: Marosi, Keegan.

Notts County: Carroll, Dumbuya, Hollis, Laing, Adams, Noble, Smith (C Thompson 89), McLaughlin, Hall (Traore 75), Petrasso (G Thompson 75), Cassidy

Subs not used: Pilkington, McKenzie.

Referee: David Webb (Lancashire)

Att: 2,570

TEAM NEWS

Youth team graduate Billy Whitehouse started his first ever competitive game for Rovers.

The inclusion of the midfielder Whitehouse was one of five changes made by boss Paul Dickov following the FA Cup win at Oldham last weekend.

Cedric Evina started his first game in almost six weeks while Harry Forrester was also restored to the starting XI.

Marc De Val and Liam Wakefield were also back in the side with Reece Wabara, Enda Stevens, Paul Keegan, Richie Wellens and James Coppinger dropping out.

Stevens – whose loan expired yesterday – was not in the squad but at the Keepmoat watching the action.

Notts County boss Shaun Derry made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Sheffield United a fortnight ago.

Out went Mike Edwards, Jordan Cranston, Garry Thompson and Gary Jones with Louis Laing, Blair Adams, Alan Smith and Ryan Hall all coming in.