Double joy for Rovers

Marc-Antone Fortune made the goal scored by Billy Sharp  to shock Championship leaders Southampton.
Marc-Antone Fortune made the goal scored by Billy Sharp to shock Championship leaders Southampton.

DONCASTER Rovers pulled off a cracking double at the weekend with a brilliant victory over Championship leaders Southampton to move off the bottom of the table, plus a home draw in the third round of the FA Cup.

League One promotion chasers Notts County will visit the Keepmoat Stadium for the Cup tie on January 7 or 8 after they beat non-League Sutton United last night.

It will be a sixth meeting between the two clubs in the competition with Rovers having won three and drawn one of the previous five games - the most recent of which was back in the 1989-90 campaign.

Manager Dean Saunders said: “We are at home, which is all you can ask for in the a cup tie, and we’ll be favourites to go through,” said Saunders.

“But it won’t be easy because there isn’t much between us. They are a league below us but they are doing well.”

But Saunders was even more delighted with Saturday’s vital home win over the Saints after striker Billy Sharp scored the only goal of the game on the hour to give Rovers their fourth win of the season and close the gap on the fourth-bottom Ipswich to just four points.

“It was a good finish by Billy,” said Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders, a prolific scorer in his playing days.

“It was a great cross by Fortune. I thought that he had run out of room but he cut it back (for Billy) and good strikers get to the ball first in the box - that’s the secret of scoring goals.”

Well though Sharp played, it was no one-man show: “There were a lot of good performances out there,” enthused Saunders.

“The back-four played well. Sam Hird played brilliantly. Habib (Beye) will get all the credit but Sam, who got a bit of a roasting from me in midweek (following the 3-2 defeat at Millwall) reacted in the right way and came out and had a great game.

“Jimmy O’Connor played well as did Brian Stock. Simon Gillett worked his socks off against his old club and Giles Barnes came on at half-time and did well.

“James Coppinger also worked his socks off up and down the right, covering every blade of grass, so I’m really pleased with all of them.

“We played well at Millwall, probably better than Saturday, but we didn’t give a penalty or two sloppy goals away. We didn’t in our last home game and that’s why we got a result against Watford.

“We’ve got 15 points in in the last two months and if we can do that every couple of months we’ll be halfway up the league.”