MATCH REPORT: Millwall 3 Doncaster Rovers 2

Rovers players pay their respects to Gary Speed.  Pictures: Steve uttley
Rovers players pay their respects to Gary Speed. Pictures: Steve uttley
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Billy Sharp showed Doncaster’s new boys how it’s done but his double was in vain as Millwall left Dean Saunders’ men rooted to the foot of the table.

With Kenny Jackett’s side just outside the relegation zone on goal difference ahead of this clash and winless in their last three, Donny must have fancied their chances.

On the spot: Billy Sharp scores a first half penalty

On the spot: Billy Sharp scores a first half penalty

But Millwall captain Liam Trotter struck twice in the first-half to dent any hopes travelling Rovers fans had of that happening, both efforts sandwiching a Sharp penalty.

Darius Henderson put Millwall further ahead late on and although Sharp replied almost immediately, Rovers stay bottom. It was the home side that had the first effort on goal, Trotter hitting his volley into the ground and Carl Ikeme tipping the ball over his bar after five minutes.

Then Scott Barron swung in a left-footed free-kick following a handball from Herita Ilunga, and Millwall centreback Darren Ward glanced his header narrowly wide. Dean Saunders was holding his breath again a minute later as John Marquis steamed into the box and was brought down by Brian Stock.

Up stepped home skipper Trotter who calmly swept the ball home.

On the half hour mark Doncaster came close, Ilunga doing well to keep a James O’Connor cross alive and heading across goal for the onrushing Herold Goulon. Millwall goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall was in no man’s land but the Blackburn loanee international saw his bullet header cleared off the line by Shane Lowry. But after Jay Simpson had stung Ikeme’s hands Doncaster did find themselves level five minutes before the break.

Referee Andy D’Urso pointed to the spot again, this time for a push in Sharp’s back by Barron, and Donny’s top scorer picked himself up to lash the ball down the middle. But then Trotter struck again, playing a neat one-two with Jack Smith after a poor clearance from Habib Beye before slotting home.

Doncaster started the second half brightly and Mildenhall made a great save low to his left to deny Fortune on 52 minutes after the striker had got the better of Smith on the left side of the penalty area. But Rovers were lucky not to be further behind just four minutes later as their defence stood still from a Barron free-kick only to see Lowry’s effort hit the left post.

Goulon was doing his best to add some sparkle and did so on 65 minutes, pirouetting his way through the Millwall midfield before dragging his low drive wide from 20 yards out. The home side looked to have put the game to bed with six minutes left when two substitutes combined, Hamer Bouazza’s free-kick glanced home by Henderson. But moments later Sharp headed the ball home from close range after good work on the left by substitute Kyle Bennett.

Bennett was lively after he came on and fired just wide in the dying minutes as Doncaster desperately searched for an equaliser. But they had Ikeme to thank for not going further behind as he denied Bouazza in injury time when the winger was clear on goal.

MILLWALL: Mildenhall, Smith, Ward, Lowry, Baker, Feeney (Henry 79), Abdou, Trotter, Barron (Bouazza 76), Marquis (Henderson 61), Simpson. Subs not used: Allsop, Howard.

ROVERS: Ikeme, O’Connor, Hird, Beye (Bennett 74), Ilunga, Gillett, Stock (Coppinger 80), Goulon (Wilson 80), Barnes, Sharp, Fortune. Subs not used: Sullivan, Hayter.

Goals: Trotter (pen) 24, 42, Henderson 84 (Millwall), Sharp (pen) 40, 86

Bookings: Marquis 27, Lowry 67 (Millwall), Beye 27, Wilson 83, Bennett 90 (Rovers)

Attendance: 9,062

Referee: Andy D’Urso (Essex)