Cambridge United 2 Doncaster Rovers 3: Winning habit back for Rovers as John hits the 20-goal Marq’

John Marquis
John Marquis

Panic over. Doncaster Rovers are back to winning ways.

The winless run was ended after five matches with a real sense of ruthlessness, making it difficult to think back to why they had stopped picking up victories in the first place.

Even a late rally from Cambridge which produced a nervy conclusion and a less than convincing scoreline should not diminish a fine night for Rovers when they reasserted their title credentials in emphatic fashion.

Goals from Tommy Rowe and Mathieu Baudry, five minutes apart, gave Rovers a cushion which helped bring back the confidence in possession which had diminished over the previous five games.

They simply passed Cambridge out of the game for the remainder of the first half after establishing the two goal lead. John Marquis looked to have put the game to bed midway through the second half from the penalty spot.

Cambridge did hit back with a goal from nothing, but brilliant nonetheless, as George Maris smashed in off the crossbar from 30 yards.

And Luke Berry headed home in added time to set up a nervy finish.

It was Cambridge who started the brighter in horrendously wet conditions, catching Rovers cold with a swift tempo and a high press.

And they received one of the most questionable penalty decisions you are ever likely to see.

Ian Lawlor raced out as Ben Williamson looked to latch onto a long ball forward and got two strong hands on the ball. But referee Ross Joyce inexplicably pointed to the spot.

There was a sense of justice however as Berry blasted his penalty over the bar.

Cambridge looked rattled by the penalty miss while Rovers grew in confidence.

They may have lacked ruthlessness in recent weeks but they struck with their first opportunity with 18 minutes on the clock.

Showing patience in possession, Rovers kept the ball on the edge of the Cambridge box before Craig Alcock slid in Rowe who cut back onto his right foot and rifled low past Will Norris.

And they doubled the advantage five minutes later. A short corner routine saw Grant whip the ball in with Baudry producing a sublime backheel flick at the far post.

The cushion was what Rovers were crying out for to bring back the confidence in their play which was eroded during the winless run.

The had hit their stride while Cambridge were largely ineffective for the remainder of the half. Rovers looked capable of slicing Cambridge open with every attack, the hosts looking incredibly shaky in defence.

Alfie May worked space for a shot in the box, looking to curl for the far post but Leon Legge produced a vital blocking header.

Cambridge emerged with the expected renewed vigour after the break and forced Rovers back deep into their own half. But they struggled to truly test Lawlor during their spell of pressure. And the heat was turned down on Rovers when they were awarded a penalty of their own. There was no doubting the decision this time as Marquis nicked the ball from Leon Legge and darted into the box before the defender clipped him from behind.

Marquis stepped up and confidently slotted home from the spot to put Rovers into a position of apparent comfort.

But then came a remarkable finish that could hardly have been predicted.

With 12 minutes to go, Maris found space and smashed in a brilliant effort from 30 yards.

Nerves increased towards the end as both Matty Blair and Baudry had to get back to clear goalbound efforts from substitute Gerry McDonagh.

And two minutes into five added, Berry rose to power in a header from a Harrison Dunk cross to really set nerves jangling.

Lawlor was called on for one last vital save with seconds to go, plucking a ball out of the air after Dunk hooked it on goal.

But Rovers hung on for a victory which could prove to be the rocket they have been looking for to get the job done.