DONCASTER Rovers snookered Barry Hearn’s Leyton Orient at the Matchroom Stadium with a brace of first half goals to stretch their unbeaten League One to four games.
It is only the second time that Rovers have beaten the O’s in the capital, their only previous success being back in the 2003-04 season.
On that occasion, Rovers celebrated their return to the Football League, after five years in the Conference, with a 3-1 win on the opening day of their Division Three campaign. Rovers went on to win promotion that season as champions.
It is far to early to suggest that history could repeat itself and that victory over the O’s at their Brisbane Road ground will lead to a return to the Championship.
But Rovers did enough in victory to suggest that they could well be there or thereabouts come the business end of the season.
This was Rovers third victory on the road in the league this season and their only defeat so far away from the Keepmoat Stadium is a 2-1 reversal at Yeovil, who were top of the league at the time.
If they can continue to produce such solid performances on their travels it is fair to assume that they’ll win more away games than they will lose this season.
Dean Saunders men certainly displayed all the qualities needed to be successful at League One level.
With skipper Rob Jones again setting a tremendous example at the heart of the back-four, alongside the equally impressive Jamie McCombe, Rovers were able to soak up Orient’s typical League One tactics.
The midfield was both industrious and creative at times and the front two of Iain Hume and Chris Brown - starting a game together for the first time in Rovers colours - proved a handful for the O’s defenders.
The two men combined well for the club’s goal on 12 minutes.
David Cotterill picked Brown out with a ball down the right and the big striker cleverly set-up a shooting chance for the Preston loanee, who in turn beat O’s keeper. Ryan Allsop with an angled shot from the edge of the area.
It was Hume’s first goal for Rovers.
“I couldn’t keep up with Brownie - I don’t think too many people would admit to that - but I had the opportunity when he put it there for me and I took a first touch and then shot and thankfully it’s gone in,” said Hume.
“Performance-wise we’ve played better, and it wasn’t the prettiest game to watch. But it’s the result that counts and I think the fans who, were brilliant, would say the same thing.
“Attractive football would be nice to watch but when you come away from home, against a team unbeaten in their last four games, and beat them 2-0, we’ve got to take a massive positives.”
Rovers doubled their lead nine minutes later with Cotterill’s third goal (all away) of the season.
David Syers’ shot from the edge of the area looked to be going wide of the left-hand post until Cotterill intervened to send the ball past Allsop.
Rovers were good value for their lead, and given the way that their back-four were coping with some decent crosses into the box by right-sided midfielder Dean Cox, there didn’t look to be a way back for Russell Slade’s side who had picked up 10 points from their previous four games.
Their best hope looked to be the fact that Rovers, in action against Norwich City in the Capital One Cup at Carrow Road on Wednesday night, might tire in the closing stages. But that didn’t happen.
A section of the O’s fans vented their feelings as the whistle blew for half-time, but those same supporters would probably have had their spirits lifted by the way Russell Slade’s men started the second half.
But again there was no way past the back-four or goalkeeper Gary Woods.
Although he was only called upon to make a couple of testing saves - mainly in the opening minutes of the second half - Woods was kept busy at times and produced another tidy performance.
As did young defender James Husband, playing out of position at right back.
Rovers boss Dean Saunders said: “Paul Quinn had been on antibiotics for the last couple of days so I had to change the back-four, which I didn’t want to do.
“He didn’t feel like he was up for a game where the ball was going to keep going in behind him all the time and I had to make changes.
“I thought James did well. They took a lot of long throws and they hit a lot of balls on the top of him.
“But he won some headers - he also lost some - and he stuck to it. He’s got a good temperament and he did great.”