Doncaster Rovers 3 Wigan Athletic 1: Rovers stun league leaders to give themselves some hope

Richard Chaplow battles for possession.Richard Chaplow battles for possession.
Richard Chaplow battles for possession.
Doncaster Rovers produced a stirring second half comeback to beat League One leaders Wigan Athletic and at least give themselves some hope of pulling off a great escape.

Will Grigg headed the Latics, previously unbeaten in 20 games, into a scarcely deserved lead just before half time.

But Rovers roared back with two goals from Andy Butler and sealed their first win in no fewer than 18 attempts with a late Andy Williams penalty.

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The victory was no less than what Darren Ferguson's men deserved as they carried the spirit they showed at Rochdale and Bury into a must-win game and finally gave their fans something to shout about.

Doncaster's first home win since December 12 reduced the gap to 20th place from eight to six points, and at least gives Rovers some hope of scrambling to safety with four games left to play.

Craig Alcock returned from his one-game suspension to partner Butler at the back, with Luke McCullough reverting to his midfield role just in front of the back four.

For the majority of the first half Rovers were full of industry and not short on craft either, as they caused the table-toppers more than a few problems and were not overly tested at the other end.

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Williams just failed to get on the end of a Gary McSheffrey free kick inside the first minute, and McSheffrey himself went close when he unleashed a thunderbolt following some good build-up play but it fizzed just over.

Yanic Wildschut powered forward from half way but dragged his shot just wide - but Rovers were doing a good job of containing the visitors.

That was until four minutes before the break when Wigan countered quickly and the marauding Wildschut was given far too much space to cross for Grigg whose header squeezed slowly into the far corner.

Rovers took the game to Wigan immediately from the re-start and, just moments after Alcock saw his header cleared off the line by Jason Pearce from James Coppinger's corner, they were deservedly level.

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From another Coppinger corner Butler steamed in at the back post and powered a header past Jussi Jaaskalainen.

Three minutes later Rovers turned the game on its head when Butler again profited from a corner, this time steering home McSheffrey's delivery from the right with a left-footed finish.

With Wigan all at sea Williams then came within a whisker of heading Rovers further in front from yet another corner.

The visitors regained a grip on proceedings and, during a period of concerted pressure, Wildschut went close with an excellent effort, Max Power poked a shot just over from inside the box and Michael Jacobs cut in from the left but curled wide of the far post.

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Rovers weathered the storm though and had a great opportunity to give themselves breathing space when substitute Riccardo Calder failed to convert McSheffrey's inviting cross following a quick break.

But they wrapped up the points in the closing minutes when Williams coolly converted from the spot after McSheffrey went clean through but was hauled down in the box by David Perkins, a challenge which resulted in a red card for the Wigan midfielder.

Rovers: Matthews, Lund, Alcock, Butler, Taylor-Sinclair (Evina 46), Coppinger (Calder 68), McCullough, Chaplow, Rowe, McSheffrey (Tyson 89), Williams. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Mandeville, Stewart, Middleton.

Wigan: Jaaskelainen, McAleny (Jacobs 40), Daniels (Wabara 82), Barnett, Pearce, Warnock, Perkins, Power, Morsy (Davies 72), Grigg, Wildschut. Subs not used: Nicholls, McCann, Morgan, Vuckic.

Referee: Kevin Johnson (Somerset)