Doncaster Rovers 2 Grimsby Town 0: Alfie May at the double in Checkatrade Trophy win
Alfie May enhancedÂ his claims for a starting berth by firing Doncaster Rovers to victory against Grimsby Town in the Checkatrade Trophy.
May capped an impressive individual display with a sublime curling effort and a coolly-taken penalty before being withdrawn after 84 minutes.
The victory kept Rovers firmly in contention forÂ the knockout stageÂ ahead of next month's final Group G game at Notts County.
Grant McCann made ten changes with only Herbie Kane, who is suspended for Saturday's trip to Rochdale, retaining his place '“Â and the boss challenged his fringe players to make their case.
Spearheading a new front three, May stole the show with an all-action display. Alongside him Paul Taylor drifted in and out of the game but did show some nice touches.Â Â
Ali Crawford had the edge over Jermaine Anderson in the battle to replace Kane, whileÂ goalkeeper Ian Lawlor and captain-for-the-night Tom Anderson, in particular, will have been pleased with their efforts in shutting out the Mariners.
Young defender Shane Blaney made his first senior start for Rovers, while Branden Horton carried on from where left off in the previous game in this competitionÂ against Newcastle United Under 21s with another encouraging display at left back before moving inside to cover for Blaney.
Rovers offered more threat early on and should have gone ahead with their first attempt when May seized upon a short pass from goalkeeper Sam Russell but his cross was volleyed over by Alfie Beestin.
Crawford, Blaney and Jermaine Anderson were then in turn denied by Russell.
Ironically Grimsby's best spell came just prior to them falling behind midway through the first period. Ahkeem Rose wasted a free header from a corner before Charles Vernam got the better of Blaney down the right but saw his shot saved by Lawlor.
Out of nothing May picked up possession on the right flank, drifted in field and curled a delightful left foot effort into the far corner to break the deadlock.
Displaying a fleet of foot and appetite to close defenders down, May might have had a hat trick before half time. He headed just wide from Taylor's cross, was only denied by Russell's outstretched leg after getting in behind and then chipped another good chance over the bar.
TomÂ Anderson was unlucky to have seen aÂ header cleared off the line but Rovers really ought to have led by more than one at the break.
Lawlor did well to keep out Ben Pringle following the re-start before Rovers extended their lead just before the hour mark. An incisive break, featuring a delicious through ball by Crawford,Â ended withÂ May winning and then confidently converting a penalty.
Beestin, Crawford and Taylor went close to extending the lead but it mattered not as Rovers ran out fairly comfortable winners.
ROVERS: Lawlor, Lund, T Anderson, Blaney (Prior 72), Horton, Kane, Crawford, J Anderson, Beestin (Longbottom 61), Taylor, May (Morris 84). Subs not used: Marosi, Mason, Greaves, Boocock.
GRIMSBY: Russell, Hall-Johnson, Dixon, Hessenthaler, Welsh, Hooper (Buckley 86), Woolford, Vernam (Robles 68), A Rose (M Rose 77), Whitmore, Pringle. Subs not used: Clifton, Burrell, Battersby, Pollock.
REFEREE: Michael Salisbury
ATTENDANCE: 1,420 (143)