Rovers FT: Doncaster Rovers 3 Hartlepool 0

Second goal scorer James Coppinger in the thick of things

Second goal scorer James Coppinger in the thick of things

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DONCASTER Rovers stayed top of League 1 as they halted Hartlepool’s great revival with a fine home win.

The first opportunity fell to Husband inside four minutes when the youngster got goal side of his man and broke into the box but his tame shot was saved by Flinders.

Syers thought he had a case for a penalty shortly after when he was grounded at the back post trying to get on the end of a teasing Spurr centre.

The recalled midfielder then might have had another case for a spot kick as the first half approached the half way point.

Syers’ goalbound shot was blocked by Humphreys after Cotterill’s corner fell kindly for him, but referee Stephen Bratt waved away appeals for handball.

After a brief lull in the game, Franks registered the visitors’ first shot on goal when his well-struck 25-yard effort had Woods scrambling but it went just wide.

At the other end a long throw from Spurr, flicked on by Jones, bounced off Coppinger and went a foot wide, before Cotterill drove forward after picking up possession on half way but shot well over from distance.

Out of nothing the deadlock was broken on 35 minutes. HUME collected the ball from Jones, cleverly jinked past his man and, from the edge of the area, drove powerfully left-footed into the corner out of Flinders’ reach.

A fast-flowing move then almost led to a second for Rovers just before the break, Lundstram’s close-range shot smacking the base of the post after good build-up involving Quinn, Cotterill and Hume.

HALF-TIME

Rovers.................. 1

Hartlepool............0

Coppinger found space on the edge of the box to unleash a volley, again comfortably saved by Flinders, as the home side went in search of a vital second goal.

On 53 minutes Hartlepool conjured up their best attempt from an outswinging Horwood corner which Wyke headed over from point blank range.

And within seconds Rovers made the visitors pay as they went up the other end and got that crucial second.

Cotterill picked out Husband on the left angle of the penalty area and when his shot was partially blocked it fell kindly to COPPINGER, who showed a predatory instinct to gratefully poke it past Flinders.

Flinders was light on his feet to brilliantly tip McCombe’s header over the bar from Cotterill’s perfectly flighted free kick.

Paynter, on for Hume, then arched his back to head another dangerous Cotterill delivery wide, before Cotterill himself stung the palms of Flinders from distance as the home side assumed control of the game.

Cotterill was proving to be a thorn in Hartlepool’s side, another pinpoint free kick from out wide this time bouncing off Jones into Flinders’ grateful arms.

With time running out, Pools came within a whisker of a late lifeline as Wyke headed Horwood’s deep cross inches wide of the far post.

But it was Rovers who looked most likely to add to their lead as Paytner let fly from the edge of the box only for Flinders to again produce a fine stop.

PAYNTER was not to be denied in front of goal, however, heading home Husband’s perfect left wing cross to seal a comprehensive win for Rovers - who are loving life at the top of the table.

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