A GOAL from substitute forward Jordan Ball handed Doncaster an 84th minute winner over Chesterfield tonight.
It was Ball’s first touch for Rovers and enough to swing the northern section second round of the Johnstone Paint Trophy in his team’s favour.
Rovers had seen an early penalty shout turned down when left-back James Husband raced into the area and fell under the challenge of Neal Trotman but the referee was not interested and waved play on.
It was the hosts who dominated the early skirmishes and former Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell superbly kept out Martin Woods right footed drive from the edge of the area in the eighth minute.
Rovers had a major let off in the 20th minute when Micah Evans outpaced makeshift right-back David Syers before picking out Craig Westcarr in the middle unmarked but the lone striker’s effort was weak and went straight into the arms of Gary Woods.
Moments later at the other end, Paynter headed on Syer’s corner into the six yard box only for Robbie Blake to nod over.
Spireites, the reigning Johnstone’s Paint Trophy winners, continued to be put on the back foot and Kyle Bennett tested the reflexes of O’Donnell again just after the half hour mark.
After the re-start, Rovers came close to opening the scoring through Bennett but the skilful forward fired narrowly wide after exchanging passes with Blake.
Chesterfield offered little as an attacking force and O’Donnell had to make a smart double save to deny Blake and Chris Brown,who had replaced Paynter at half-time.
Try as they might, Chesterfield struggled to string anything together on the final third. Good play on the right from David Syers led to Martin Woods having a fine left foot effort palmed to safety by O’Donnell with 18 minutes remaining as Rovers pressed for a winner.
And the hosts deservedly opened the scoring in the 84th minute with Jordan Ball scoring with his first touch after coming on to replace Blake. The youngster ghosted in unmarked to power in Cotterill’s corner.
Rob Jones made a hash of a back header, handing substitute Jack Lester a glorious opportunity to level things up but he miscued his volley, enabling Tommy Spurr and Jones to clear the danger.
Full time saw Rovers win 1-0.
Rovers: G Woods, Keegan, Jones, Spurr, Husband, Cotterill, Martin Woods, Syers, Bennett, Blake, Paynter.
Substitutes Sullivan Ball Michael Woods Brown, Harper
Chesterfield: O’Donnell, Forbes, Trotman, Darwika, Ridehalgh, Evans, Togwell, Clay, Atkinson, Talbot, Westcarr.
Substitutes Wilson Lester Boden Hazel Randall.
See analysis in Wednesday’s Star.