Match report: Doncaster Rovers 1 Grimsby Town 0

Liam Mandeville's stunning free kick helped Rovers back to winning ways in the M180 derby with Grimsby Town.

Saturday, 17th December 2016, 1:24 pm
Updated Sunday, 18th December 2016, 12:09 pm
Doncaster Rovers v Grimsby Town

Mandeville curled a superb effort home from close to 30 yards with only three minutes on the clock and set them on their way to a well-deserved win.

Barring a slow period at the start of the second half, Rovers were in control of the game, restricting Grimsby to little in the way of chances.

Darren Ferguson made two enforced changes for the clash with James Coppinger serving the first of a three match suspension while Craig Alcock suffered an injury. In came Andy Williams and Harry Middleton with Ferguson sticking with a 4-4-2 diamond.

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Grimsby were without 16-goal striker Omar Bogle due to a thigh strain.

Rovers got off the best possible start with a goal after three minutes.

Mandeville put to bed the sour end to the game at Plymouth the previous weekend by curling a brilliant free kick from close to 30 yards.

The confidence which has become a major characteristic of Rovers' play came oozing out. There was a real assuredness when on the ball which was matched with tireless work ethic off it, giving Grimsby little time on the ball.

Nevertheless, Grimsby really should have been level on 21 minutes. Danny Andrew delivered a superb free kick from the left which Danny Collins rose to meet but could only flick a header wide.

It took a fine last ditch block from Matty Blair to prevent James Berrett from firing on goal after Tom Bolarinwa shrugged off Andy Butler to cross.

Real chances for either side were hard to come by but Rovers always had the edge, spending plenty of time on the ball in the opposition half while Grimsby looked to operate on the counterattack.

Mandeville fired over from the edge of the box for Rovers as half time approached.

And as the half entered added time, Grimsby went close to drawing level. Luke Summerfield slipped taking a free kick but the ball ran through to Tom Bolarinwa who thrashed a shot into the side-netting via a deflection.

Tommy Rowe should have done better with the first opportunity after the break. He somehow came away with the ball after skipping through a pair of tackles on the edge of the box but scuffed his shot well wide.

Grimsby had new impetus after the break, backed vociferously by their 4,000+ following.

Their cause was aided by Rovers going off the ball, losing the flow of their attacking play and getting a little sloppy.

But the visitors struggled to craft much more than half chances, with Rovers mopping up second balls rather well.

Rovers settled again and Mandeville came close to repeating his dead ball heroics on 74 minutes. Going for the opposite corner, his effort was met with a fine save from McKeown.

Rovers looked set to see out the game in relative comfort despite the narrow margin.

But they were given an almighty scare in the final phase of play.

Substitute Dan Jones' cross flashed across the face of goal with Berrett mere millimetres from connecting with the ball at the far post.

Rovers: Marosi, Blair, Baudry, Butler, Mason, Houghton, Middleton (Wright 88), Rowe, Mandeville, Williams (Calder 72), Marquis. Subs not used: Jones, Garratt, Keegan, Beestin, Longbottom.

Grimsby: McKeown, Mills, Pearson (Jones 83), Collins, Andrew, Comley, Summerfield, Bolarinwa, Vernon, Berrett, Jackson (Tuton 77). Subs not used: Henderson, Davies, Gowling, Chambers, Disley.

Referee: Richard Clark (Northumberland)

Attendance: 10,084 (4,012 away)