Rovers denied point by just a matter of Inces

giles barnes heads past the post
giles barnes heads past the post
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A STOPPAGE-time winner by substitute Thomas Ince sentenced Doncaster Rover to their second successive defeat Championship defeat against relegated Blackpool at windswept Bloomfield Road.

Rovers boss Dean Saunders gave a starting debut to Pascal Chimbonda, who was an unused substitute in the 3-0 defeat at home to Leeds United on Friday.

He was one of five changes, several of which were due to injury, to the Rovers’ starting line-up.

The Seasiders had new loan signing from Wigan, Callum McManaman on the bench.

Rovers made a bright start and forced an early corner.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher shot high from the edge of the area after latching on to a right-wing cross from former Barnsley and Sheffield United striker Daniel Bogdanovic.

Rovers record signing Billy Sharp, yet to score since returning to the side after being stretchered off with an ankle ligament injury in the first game of the season at Brighton, skimmed the crossbar from about ten yards out in the eighth minute.

Rovers were looking to keep the ball down and there had been fewer long balls than of late so far.

The pacy Kyle Bennett tried to pick Sharp in the box but Blackpool centre-back Alex Baptiste headed clear.

Taylor-Fletcher shot well wide from just outside the area on 19 minutes.

Rovers took the lead on 26 minutes.

Blackpool keeper Matthew Gilks could only block a fierce shot by Simon Gillett. Giles Barnes latched on to the loose ball and his angled shot struck a defender and fell nicely for Sharp, who made no mistake to claim his second goal of the season.

The goal boosted Rovers’ spirits and Sharp, who looked full of running, wasn’t far off a second goal shortly after.

Rovers continued to look the better side against a Blackpool team who seemed to be suffering a hangover from Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at West Ham United.

Rovers skipper George Friend produced two solid defensive headers in quick succession as half-time approached.

There could have been a second goal for Sharp on 48 minutes had he been able to get a touch to Chimbonda’s cross in front of goal.

Centre-back Sam Hird, starting for the first time since Saunders took charge, cut out a dangerous-looking through ball.

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway made a triple substitution on 57 minutes, Kevin Phillips, Thomas Ince and McManaman replacing Bogdanovic, Jonjo Shelvey and Brett Ormerod respectively.

The switch paid off on 63 minutes, Ince getting the better of Friend in the box before picking his spot.

Sharp had a gilt-edged chance to restore Rovers lead a minute later, Gilks denying him a second goal in a one-on-one after he had got on the end of a through ball in the box.

Blackpool were looking the side most likely to grab a winner at this stage and were pressing hard.

The home side weren’t to be denied and Ince dashed brave Rovers hopes.

n Blackpool: Gilks 8, Eardley 6, Baptise 7, Cathcart 6, Crainey 7, Ferguson 6, Southern 6, Shelvey **6, Omerod ***6, Bogdanovic *6, Taylor-Fletcher 6. Subs: Evatt, Phillips *57 6, Howard, Ince **57 8, McManaman ***57 6.

n Rovers: Sullivan 8, Chimbonda 7, Hird 6, Friend 7, Ilunga 7, Oster 6, Gillett 7, Stock 7, Barnes *6, Bennett 6 Sharp 6. Subs: Martis, Naylor, Hayter, Coppinger *69 6, Maxted.

n Goals: Ince (63, 90) for Blackpool; Sharp (26) for Rovers.

n Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne & Wear).

n Attendance: 11,587.