Doncaster Rovers 1 Southampton 0: Early festive cheer for determined Doncaster

Doncaster Rovers logo
Doncaster Rovers logo

CHRISTMAS came early as Rovers moved off the bottom of the table with a well earned win over the Championship leaders.

Anyone who chose Christmas shopping at the Frenchgate over the football was left to rue their decision after Rovers served up their best home performance of 2011.

Billy Sharp's second half strike was enough to settle a thrilling and open encounter, the striker calmy firing past Kelvin Davis on the hour mark after he was expertly picked out by Marc-Antoine Fortune's cross.

Rovers played with fantastic spirit and determination throughout and they were full value for the three points.

Brian Stock almost broke the deadlock in the first half when his 20-yard drive went inches wide, while Herita Ilunga saw his back post header cleared off the line.

Carl Ikeme was coolness personified in the Doncaster goal and the Wolves loanee denied Morgan Schneiderlin with a fine stop after the midfielder broke the offside trap.

But the Saints, without top scorer Ricky Lambert and star midfielder Richard Chaplow, ran out of attacking ideas as Doncaster's defensive unit - marshalled brilliantly by Habib Beye - soaked up everything the Saints threw at them.

And Sharp, a Southampton target last summer, settled a great advert for Championship football with his seventh goal of the season to lift Rovers above Coventry in the table.