ROVERS RELEGATED: Leicester City 1 Doncaster Rovers 0

Despair for Rovers

Despair for Rovers

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Doncaster Rovers have been relegated to League One following their 1-0 defeat to champions Leicester City this afternoon.

Defeat at the King Power Stadium - combined with Birmingham’s stoppage time equaliser at Bolton - condemned Paul Dickov’s men to an instant return to the third tier.

Doncaster's James Coppinger fires in a shot

Doncaster's James Coppinger fires in a shot

Rovers were relegated on goal difference after they finished level on points with Birmingham.

On a day when Leicester celebrated their return to the Premier League, Rovvers were greeted by a sea of blue flags as the Foxes’ promotion party got into full swing. By full time Doncaster were hoping not to be left feeling blue - but that’s exactly how it turned out.

There was an end of season feel to the opening of the game as both sides were happy to keep possession in deep areas, sizing each other up.

Furman almost got clear on goal after good work from Brown, while at the other end Mahrez’s slide-rule pass was blocked by Rovers’ reinforced back line.

Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, Sky Bet Championship, Leicester City v Doncaster Rovers, King Power Stadium, 02/05/14, K.O 12.15pm''Doncaster's Chris Brown fends off Leicester's Andy King''Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594

Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, Sky Bet Championship, Leicester City v Doncaster Rovers, King Power Stadium, 02/05/14, K.O 12.15pm''Doncaster's Chris Brown fends off Leicester's Andy King''Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594

Lone striker Brown was showing one or two nice touches early on, but he was also imploring his teammates not to sit too deep as the home side started to enjoy the best of the possession.

Phillips almost connected with a deflected Nugent cross but Paul Dickov will have been fairly satisfied with how his side contained the hosts for the opening quarter hour.

Decent hold up play from Phillips presented a chance to King on the edge of the box but the midfielder completely missed his kick. Moments later Mahrez cut in from the right but his curling effort went just wide.

Doncaster were doing a decent containing job - although they would have to re-think their safety first tactics were Leicester, or Birmingham for that matter, to find the net.

Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, Sky Bet Championship, Leicester City v Doncaster Rovers, King Power Stadium, 02/05/14, K.O 12.15pm''Doncaster's Billy Sharp misses a late chance to equalise''Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594

Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, Sky Bet Championship, Leicester City v Doncaster Rovers, King Power Stadium, 02/05/14, K.O 12.15pm''Doncaster's Billy Sharp misses a late chance to equalise''Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594

That goal almost arrived as Nugent broke the offside trap, latching onto Drinkwater’s pass, but he saw his shot saved by the legs of Johnstone.

Coppinger, Rovers’ final day hero of last season, almost lit up a pedestrian half hour with a double nutmeg and excellent run from half way, but Brown’s return pass on the edge of the area just evaded him.

Rovers were enjoying more possession as the half wore on, but Leicester threatened to do more with it, looking more dangerous in the final third.

Nugent saw his close range effort clawed wide by Johnstone and from the resultant corner De Laet headed inches over with the goal gaping.

City were finding more rhythm as the half reached its conclusion, Quinn was at full length to head away after King burst into the box as the game remained goalless at the break with Rovers still in a position of safety.

Superb hold-up play from Brown earned Rovers a free kick in a decent position at the start of the second half, but Cotterill’s delivery from the left was over-hit.

Rovers then launched a threatening counter, with Tamas eventually drilling a low effort from the right which was held comfortably by Schmeichel.

A massive cheer from the 2000 travelling Rovers fans then let everyone know that Bolton had scored against Birmingham.

It was going to plan - but a Leicester goal would ramp up the tension and Drinkwater again tried his luck from distance but fired over.

The 65th minute saw Phillips leave the pitch for one final time, replaced by Knockaert. The 40-year-old received a standing ovation and also the applause of the majority of Doncaster’s players.

Leicester took that as their cue for another wave of pressure. This time Nugent got in behind but his shot was palmed away by Johnstone.

The game was resembling an attack versus defence training session with Rovers sat deep, happy to hold onto what they had.

And Leicester were gifted the chance to go ahead in the 75th minute when Husband had a rush of blood and carelessly brought down Mahrez in the area. Nugent blasted the spot kick home to set up a tense finale.

Immediately news filtered through of a second goal for Bolton but Keegan missed a great opportunity for Rovers to get back level themselves when he blazed over from just inside the box - and soon after Birmingham had pulled a goal back at the Reebok.

Drinkwater then blazed another shot just over and Coppinger had to clear a header off the line.

Rovers were under the cosh and Dickov responded by rolling the dice, bringing on Forrester and Sharp.

Sharp almost made an immediate impact, stooping low to head Cotterill’s free kick wide at the back post. And Forrester was lively too, seeing a deflected effort go wide as Rovers began to throw more bodies forward in desperation.

The situation, however, was about to get worse, a lot worse.

Birmingham’s late equaliser at Bolton ultimately sealed Doncaster’s relegation to League One and, when the final whistle blew at the King Power Stadium, Rovers’ players could just hope for another twist at Bolton - but it did not come.

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