Paul Dickov’s Christmas wish was granted as Doncaster Rovers won at the Keepmoat Stadium for the first time in three months.
First half goals from Andy Butler and man of the match Harry Forrester sealed only Rovers’ second home win of the season. Coventry played some decent football themselves against a Doncaster side brimming with confidence from last weekend’s win at high flying Swindon.
But the Sky Blues’ attempted comeback petered out as Adam Barton and James Maddison were both red carded in the final quarter of an absorbing, high tempo contest. Rovers, who to a man looked as sprightly at home as they have done all season, burst out of the blocks in just the manner that Dickov preaches. So many times this season the manager’s pleas for getting on the front foot right from the off have fallen on deaf ears.
However, on this occasion Doncaster had the bit between their teeth right from the very first whistle - and they made it count too.
They forced an early corner and from the resultant clearance Forrester swung in a delightful cross from the right which Butler rose to head home brilliantly at the back post.
Rovers’ early closing down was excellent but to Coventry’s credit they responded well and enjoyed some good possession of their own.
The Sky Blues thought a slick move had resulted in a spot kick when Maddison was sent sprawling in the box under the challenge of Dean Furman, only for the teenager to be booked for diving. And despite signs of a City recovery, it was not long before Steven Pressley’s men found themselves two down.
The lively Forrester found space in the left channel, made good ground towards the edge of the box before curling in a lovely effort which went in off the far post.
Jim O’Brien shot wide for the shell-shocked visitors and then turned neatly in the box but blazed over as the first half belonged to Doncaster. Forrester came close to extending Rovers’ lead after the restart when his cross-cum-shot came back off the far post.
Coventry continued to probe the edge of Doncaster’s box but Rovers fancied their chances of sealing the game on the counter attack.
City, however, sealed their own fate as Barton and Maddison both received second yellow cards in a matter of minutes as the visitors played the last 15 minutes with nine men.
Barton’s second yellow came for a tug back on an almost unplayable Forrester, who left the field to a standing ovation in the dying minutes. Subsitute Curtis Main saw two chances go begging in the closing stages and Paul Keegan lifted a free kick over the bar - but Rovers had done the hard work during their imposing start to the game.
There was nothing cold turkey about this Doncaster display - and Rovers are proving that when they play at such a high tempo, there are few sides at this level that will be able to live with them.