DONCASTER Rovers celebrated their first match under new manager Dean Saunders with their first win in 20 matches.
Many inside the Keepmoat were still stunned at the swift turn of events over the previous 48 hours which had seen the dismissal of Sean O’Driscoll and his No 2 Richatrd O’Kelly.
Saunders met the players for the first time yesterday morning and oversaw the training session.
“I spoke to the players, I expected them to respond and they did that in the session,” he said. “I enjoyed training and they enjoyed it.
“They were a bit quiet beforehand but after the session they were happy and joking.
“I want to lift them and get some spirit in the camp; get them organised; make them hard to beat and to score goals. Yes, I like to play from the back but there has to be an end product and, at the end of the day, you have to win.
“When all the players are fit there is a good squad here. It is important to have pride in your performance. I have that and I’ll expect from these players.
“I’m so excited by this challenge ,” he enthused.
The Rovers fans gave the new manager a warm welcome when he was introduced to the crowd prior to the kick-off. He started the game sat in the dug-out alongside long-serving director of football, Mickey Walker.
Martis needed to be in quickly to deny striker Scannell a close-range shooting chance at the expense of a seventh minute corner.
Skipper Friend, playing at left-back for the first time this season, made a couple of solid tackles in quick succession.
Parkin, who turned well, had an angled cross-cum-shot blocked by a defender in the box.
Parkin shot wide of the right-hand post on 23 minutes after Oster and Gillett set him up.
Palace left-back Moxey shot well wide with a 25-yarder on 33 minutes.
The six-foot-four Parkin headed over from a deep left-wing cross by Gillett at the far post on 38 minutes.
Parkin got a shot on target from the edge of the area from O’Connor’s cross, but it was a weak effort and Palace keeper Speroni made an easy collection.
Rovers centre-back Naylor will have been relieved to see keeper Sullivan save well from Murray on 45 minutes after his mistake left the striker with a free run on goal.
Half-time: Rovers 0 Crystal Palace 0
Oster produced neat footwork to get a cross into the box, only to see it headed clear by a defender.
Rovers had enjoyed the bulk of possession this half but were continuing to find it difficult to break down the well organised Palace defence.
The biggest cheer to date greeted Saunders’ decision to bring on both Sharp and Lalkovic for Parkin and Coppinger respectively, on 57 minutes.
Sharp’s first touch of the ball led to Speroni having to punch clear from his angled shot just inside the area.
Sharp’s introduction had certainly served to lift the spirits of the crowd and the decibel level had gone up several notches.
Palace made a change on 64 minutes, Welsh international Easter coming on for Scannell,
Rovers took the lead on 66 minutes with a 25-yard shot by OSTER which hit a defender and completely wrong-footed the keeper.
It was a huge slice of luck that won riches long overdue in a season where little has gone right for Rovers in that respect.
Oster found himself in space on the right and picked out Hayter just outside the box only to see the striker balloon his shot over the bar.
Oster won Rovers an 80th minute corner with a deflected shot from which Lalkovic shot inches wide of the far post from about 20 yards out.
Hayter had a chance to kill the game off on 86 minutes after being set up by Sharp but he again shot over when well placed.
Palace’s precocious teenager Williams made a dangerous-looking run into the box on 89 minutes before losing possession on the edge of the six yard box.
For a full report, see the Green’Un.