Doncaster Rovers 4 Southend United 1: Whiteman treble breaks Rovers' Keepmoat Stadium duck

Ben Whiteman scored a sensational ten-minute hat trick as Doncaster Rovers came from behind to beat Southend United and record their first league win at home this season.

Saturday, 7th October 2017, 6:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:18 am
Rovers v Southend

Rovers were up against it when Anthony Wordsworth - who was fortunate still to be on the pitch after a dubious challenge on Jordan Houghton - nodded the Shrimpers in front after 38 minutes.

But John Marquis equalised in first half stoppage time before Whiteman took centre stage almost immediately from the re-start.

The on-loan Sheffield United midfielder was in the right place at the right time to calmly fire home after James Coppinger's free kick hit the bar and rebounded straight to him.

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Three minutes later, after a Coppinger set piece had only been half cleared, he then produced a stunning half volley from the edge of the area which rattled in off the underside of the bar.

And he quickly completed a memorable treble from the penalty spot following a foul on Alfie May by Michael Timlin.

Rovers' barnstorming comeback was all the more special given their bleak record this season in games in which they had conceded first. Against AFC Wimbledon, Northampton Town, Scunthorpe United and Bradford City, Rovers had failed to muster a single goal after going behind.

After six defeats in their last eight league games, this was also a much-needed morale-booster in front of a home crowd that was anxious and restless before Marquis levelled proceedings.

Rovers were almost caught cold during the early stages but Josh Wright wasted a decent opening after 30 seconds and Simon Cox then blazed over the bar after being put in the clear.

The game's major talking point came after 18 minutes when Wordsworth appeared to kick Houghton in the backside as he shielded the ball.

After a lengthy consultation period with his linesman and fourth official, referee Darren Handley decided it only merited a yellow card - and sure enough Wordsworth went on to open the scoring 20 minutes later.

A cross from the right was only half headed clear by Joe Wright to Nile Ranger whose header was cleared off the line by Niall Mason but straight to Wordsworth who nodded in.

The scoreline was harsh on Rovers who had grown into the contest and, moments before falling behind, had gone within inches of taking the lead when Marquis saw his header from Coppinger's cross tipped onto the bar and over by Mark Oxley.

Rovers were level before the break, however, as some persistent play from Tommy Rowe on the left put the ball on a plate for Marquis to tap home from close range.

It was just the response that was required - and it ultimately provided the launch pad for Whiteman's extraordinary matchwinning treble.

Anton Ferdinand was sent off following the final whistle to add to Southend's woes.

Rovers: Lawlor, Mason, Wright, Butler, Toffolo, Houghton (Fletcher 90), Whiteman, Rowe, Coppinger (Blair 76), May, Marquis (Garratt 88). Subs not used: Jones, Alcock, Blair, Ben Khemis, Mandeville.

Southend: Oxley, Bwomono, Ferdinand, Kyprianou (White 25), Timlin, Wright (McGlashan 53), Leonard, Wordsworth, McLaughlin, Cox (Robinson 65), Ranger. Subs not used: Bishop, Hendrie, Yearwood, Fortune.

Referee: Darren Handley

Attendance: 7,369 (478)