Match analysis: Leyton Orient 0 Doncaster Rovers 1

Rob Jones (hidden) heads the winner for Rovers. Picture: Howard Roe.
Rob Jones (hidden) heads the winner for Rovers. Picture: Howard Roe.

Rob Jones could not have timed his long-awaited return any better.

The experienced defender has not played for the first team for seven months because of injury.

But he bagged his first goal for approaching two years - August 2013 to be exact - to help Rovers secure their first win in four matches.

Jones’ headed winner proved the difference on a night which would have undoubtedly pleased Rovers’ boss Paul Dickov, especially having picked up just one point in their three previous League One outings.

Rovers could have won it by more after a much-improved second half showing but three points was a good evening at the office for Dickov’s battlers.

Victory saw Rovers climb to 12th in the standings with just four games remaining, but any hopes of a play-off place look over now with the club ten points off the top six.

Dickov made three changes to his side starting XI, with centre-back Jones restored to the starting line-up. Highly-rated midfielder Harry Middleton and left back Cedric Evina also started as Rovers went in search of a much-needed win.

Rovers were very lucky to survive what looked like a decent early shout for a penalty.

Midfielder Jobi McAnuff went down in the box after a strong challenge, but referee Carl Berry waved away the animated protests from the home side.

Andrea Dossena caused Rovers a scare midway through the half when he found space to unleash a close-range shot, but the Italian defender saw his effort fly wide.

Darius Henderson also had a good opportunity to open the scoring but he saw his goal-bound shot brilliantly saved by Stephen Bywater.

Henderson should have arguably scored from point-blank range after the Rovers’ defence looked to have switched off.

But Bywater was equal to the test and thwarted the big frontman with a fine block to keep it goalless.

Rovers kept working hard and seven minutes before the break midfielder James Coppinger hit the target but saw his shot saved by Alex Cisak.

At the other end Josh Wright had a shot charged down on the edge of the box.

But it was Rovers who finished the half stronger and could have been in front themselves. Curtis Main lost his marker and rifled a right-foot effort agonisingly of the target.

Rovers started brightly after the restart and came within a whisker of going in front through Bennett. However, the midfielder saw his 20-yard drive superbly saved by the agile Cisak.

And then the breakthrough, Bennett whipped in a delightful ball and Jones beat Cisak with a clinical header.

The goal inspired the visitors and Johnson Clarke-Harris nearly scored, only for Ciask to deny him with a smart stop.

Wright was thwarted by the alert Bywater with 15 minutes remaining and Jay Simpson was also denied by the keeper as Rovers dropped deep. Bennett had a chance to make it two in the fourth minute of injury time, but Cisak saved well.