Rovers fail to take bite out of Bunn

DONCASTER Rovers' recent run of good form came to an abrupt end last night at on-song Northampton.

But if it had not been for a string of superb saves from man-of-the-match Mark Bunn then Rovers could have quite easily grabbed victory or, more deservingly, a point for their battling efforts.

Goals from substitute Ryan Gilligan and Northern Ireland international striker Andy Kirk - his fourth of the season - did the damage as Sean O'Dricoll's side failed to grab a third successive victory having netted seven times in their last two outings.

However, first-choice strike duo James Hayter and Mark McCammon were both denied by superb saves from Bunn, the latter just when it looked as though the visitors were going to draw level.

It took 50 minutes for the home side to penetrate Rovers' defence when Gilligan set himself up for an excellent volley from the edge of the penalty area.

But just four minutes later McCammon must have thought he had squared matters when he headed Gareth Robert's right-wing cross goalwards from six yards out.

Somehow Bunn produced an excellent point-blank block to keep his side ahead, before pulling out an even better save to deny Hayter just after the hour mark.

Wing-back Gareth Roberts whipped in a delightful ball from the left edge of the area and Hayter's sweet volley looked destined for the back of the net, only for Bunn to smother the powerful shot.

"Their goalkeeper got man-of-the-match, but that's what he's paid for," reflected a downbeat Rovers’ boss Sean O'Driscoll. "We had a great spell of 25 minutes in the second half where their keeper has really kept them in it at times.

"It was a tight game first half, but I thought we defended really well. I thought we'd come out well in the second half, but we conceded a flukey goal.

"You gamble, you leak goals and that's football. We left gaps at the back because we were chasing the game...and you get punished.

"A defeat is a defeat and they don't get any easier to swallow."

As earlier as the fourth minute Mark Wilson fired over, but it was Northampton who had more chances.

Keeper Neil Sullivan saved well from goalscorer Kirk in the first half and following the resumption raced off his line to deny Paul Hubertz with a last-ditch saving tackle outside of his penalty area.

But it was sub Gilligan's imaginative volley and Kirk's clinical finish which saw Stuart Gray's side climb up the League One table and left Rovers with four points from five games.Matchfacts

Northampton Town 2

Doncaster Rovers 0

Northamton town

Bunn 8, Crowe 7, Dolman 8, Hughes 7, Jones 7, Russell 7, Bradley Johnson 7, Burnell 4 (Gilligan 21mins 8), Jones 6 (Brett Johnson 71 6), Hubertz 7, Kirk 8.

Subs: Larkin, Dunn, Dyer.

Doncaster rovers

Sullivan 7, Greer 6 (Guy 75 mins 5), Lockwood 7, Mills 6, O'Connor 5, Roberts 6, Wellens 7 (Heffernan 75 5), Wilson 6, Stock 7, Hayter 7 (Woods 81 4), McCammon 7. Subs: McDaid, Green.


Referee: Rob Shoebridge (Derbyshire)

Bookings: Kirk (Northampton). O'Connor, Woods, Lockwood (Doncaster).

Attendance: 5,274 (away 853)