Match report: Grimsby Town 1 Doncaster Rovers 5

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers
Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

A John Marquis hat trick helped Doncaster Rovers demolish Grimsby Town and move one win away from securing promotion back to League One.

Marquis completed a remarkable nine minute comeback for Rovers after they fell behind to Sam Jones' fine finish, putting the visitors to Blundell Park ahead going into half time.

And he put the game to bed just after the hour mark with his third of the afternoon and 26th of the season.

Andy Williams grabbed only his second goal since Boxing Day as Rovers twisted the knife and substitute Alfie May scored a fortuitous effort in the dying stages to complete the rout.

It ensured Rovers took care of their side of the bargain if they were to be promoted on April 1. Stevenage must lose at home to Barnet and Luton Town and Blackpool battle to a draw if promotion is to be confirmed today.

Darren Ferguson made three changes to the side that lost to Plymouth the previous week, two of them enforced. James Coppinger and Conor Grant both missed out through injury while Alfie May dropped to the bench.

In came Luke McCullough and Gary McSheffrey for their first starts of the season while Williams returned to the starting XI for the first time in eight matches.

Grimsby started much the brighter, pressing Rovers high and hard and forcing mistakes from a Rovers side which looked nervy.

Rovers regularly misplaced passes and the hosts seemed happy to keep possession, only lacking the final ball to make their early pressure count.

But the visitors grew into the game and began to string passes together themselves.

Rovers should have gone ahead on 14 minutes. Tommy Rowe found Williams at the front post but, with the goal at his mercy, the striker only succeeded in trickling the ball across the line.

Ferguson's side were growing in confidence and Rowe forced a fine save from James McKeown after brilliant one-touch play took him into the box.

And Rowe was soon denied again by the Grimsby keeper, this time seeing his rasping drive from 25 yards parried away.

They were getting nearer and it took a goalline block to prevent Gary McSheffrey from seeing his cute backheel cross the line.

But Rovers suffered a hammerblow when Grimsby took the lead against the run of play on 34 minutes.

Jones brought the ball down superbly and darted across the face of the box before lashing a shot into the bottom corner.

It could have been even better for the hosts seconds later when Calum Dyson was played in but his shot from 25 yards was well saved by Ian Lawlor.

Rovers responded superbly and were back level on 37 minutes. Niall Mason played in a low ball from the left, Williams let it run through to Marquis who took a touch and coolly slotted past McKeown.

Six minutes later they were in front. McSheffrey floated in a superb corner and Marquis rose to nod home.

It was an even start to the second half with Grimsby enjoying more time on the ball than they had for much of the opening period. Jones headed over the bar from a free kick.

But Rovers looked the more threatening and it took a fine clearing header from Gavin Gunning to keep McSheffrey's headed effort from crossing the line.

By 61 minutes Rovers were out of sight.

Rowe slid in a pass to Marquis to send him galloping clear and he lashed into the corner from 20 yards for his first Rovers hat trick.

Rovers were fully in control those Grimsby showed flashes of grabbing a consolation effort.

Jamie Osborne brought a goalkick down superbly but dragged his shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box.

And a vital touch from the fingertips of Lawlor took a cross away from Jones with the forward poised to turn into an empty net.

But Rovers put any lingering thoughts of a Grimsby comeback to bed 12 minutes from time.

Williams raced clear with Marquis in support but elected to go it alone, cutting onto his left foot and curling a superb effort in at the far post.

A goalmouth scramble saw both Andy Butler and Lawlor keeping out efforts from Jones as Grimsby continued to push forward.

May put the game fully to bed two minutes from time. Substitute Harry Middleton floated in a corner, McKeown went to punch it and the ball cannoned off the back of May, dropping in.

Grimsby: McKeown, Mills, Boyce, Gunning, Andrew, D Jones (Vose 63), Comley (Bolarinwa 72), Clements, Osborne, S Jones, Dyson. Subs not used: Pearson, Disley, Collins, Yussuf, Maxwell.

Rovers: Lawlor, Alcock, Baudry, Butler, Mason (Evina 82), McCullough, Blair, Rowe, McSheffrey (Middleton 76), Marquis (May 87), Williams. Subs not used: Marosi, Wright, Keegan, Longbottom, May.

Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)

Attendance: 6,821 (1,867 away)