Match report: Doncaster Rovers 3 Crewe Alexandra 1

Doncaster Rovers v Crewe Alexandra
Doncaster Rovers v Crewe Alexandra
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It is becoming Rovers' favourite scoreline.

For the third consecutive game they ran out 3-1 winners and deservedly so against a plucky Crewe side.

Conor Grant, John Marquis and Tommy Rowe all netted to strengthen Rovers' position at the top of League Two.

They did not have it all their own way as James Jones equalised for Crewe, who finished the first half the stronger.

But Rovers showed real ruthlessness yet again in the second half to run out comfortable winners.

Darren Ferguson unsurprisingly kept faith with the side that started in the win at Barnet the previous week.

Crewe fielding former Rovers loanee Jordan Bowery who joined Alex earlier in the week following a disastrous spell with Leyton Orient.

The visitors started the brighter but Rovers quickly grew into the game.

James Coppinger saw a shot hacked clear after cutting inside from the right while Tommy Rowe headed over from ten yards from a corner.

Coppinger drew a brilliant save from Alex keeper Ben Garratt from a free kick that seemed destined for the top corner.

There were warning signs for Rovers when Chris Dagnall got ahead of his marker to meet a free kick but could only head wide.

Rovers opened the scoring on 23 minutes.

Grant latched onto a loose ball and drilled a low effort into the far corner from 25 yards.

Rovers looked incredibly comfortable after taking the lead, playing the ball around at pace and with confidence.

They were inches away from doubling their advantage. Matty Blair sprinted across the byline and drilled a low ball across the face of goal which deflected off a Crewe defender and was heading in until it was hooked off the line.

But Rovers failed to maintain their control on the game as Crewe roared back.

The visitors looked far from a struggling side as they pressed well but played with real tempo and committed men forward.

They grabbed the equaliser on 32 minutes.

Charlie Kirk worked space for a cross from the left, Chris Dagnall stretched superbly to bring it down but saw his volley superbly saved by Ian Lawlor. But Jones reacted quickly to slam home the rebound.

Andy Williams twice threatened to put Rovers back in front, heading over from a Rowe cross before a smart turn and shot deflected up into Garratt's hands.

Rovers were indebted to Lawlor for keeping the scores level heading into the break.

The freshly arrived keeper rushed out to block a shot from Bowery who should have scored after being played in one-on-one.

And he tipped over a powerful hight drive from Jones.

Coppinger was unlucky not to sneak Rovers back in front on the stroke of half time, spinning onto a low pass and firing a shot which deflected wide off a defender.

Rovers started the second half with renewed vigour and regularly swarmed forward.

The edged in front on 56 minutes.

Grant delivered a superb free kick into the box, putting the ball on a plate for the unmarked Marquis who turned a header home from ten yards.

Crewe should have been level after an excellent counterattack. Bowery was again played in one-on-one but flashed his shot wide of the far post.

But Rovers were brimming with confidence and looked much more likely to grab the next goal.

Coppinger saw a shot blocked by the lunging George Ray after a superb through ball from Rowe.

But the third would come on 67 minutes.

Williams flicked a superb header off the underside off the crossbar and, after the ball bounced down, Rowe nodded it over the line.

Williams should have finally got on the scoresheet himself moments later when he met a cross into the box at close range but headed downwards and saw the ball bounce over the bar.

Rovers were denied what appeared to be a clear penalty eight minutes from time when Coppinger was cropped darting into the box but referee Andy Haines was unmoved.

Rovers: Lawlor, Blair (Alcock 61), Baudry, Butler, Mason, Houghton, Grant, Rowe, Coppinger, Marquis, Williams. Subs not used: Etheridge, Wright, Keegan, Middleton, May, Longbottom.

Crewe: Garratt, Turton, Ray, Guthrie, Bakayogo (Nugent 71), Hollands, Cooper (Wintle 81), Kirk (Kiwomya 67), Jones, Dagnall, Bowery. Subs not used: Richards, Ng, Udoh, Lowe.

Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne and Wear)

Attendance: 5,737 (203 away)