Match report: Doncaster Rovers 3 Northampton Town 0

Rovers secured back-to-back league wins for the first time this season with a comfortable win over Northampton Town

Tuesday, 26th December 2017, 1:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th December 2017, 5:10 pm
Doncaster Rovers v Northampton Town

Wearing a special blue charity kit in aid of the mental health charity CALM, Rovers showed ruthlessness to turn the screw against a struggling outfit.

James Coppinger marked his return to the side by putting Rovers in front just after the half hour.

Niall Mason grabbed his second penalty in as many games to double the lead before the break.

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And Andy Butler rounded things off on 66 minutes to ensure a fairly simple Boxing Day's work for Rovers.

Darren Ferguson promised to fresh up his team and did so with three changes.

Coppinger returned from a groin injury to start at the tip of the midfield diamond, with Ferguson reverting to a 4-4-2 diamond after deploying a 3-5-2 against Bristol Rovers.

Ben Whiteman and Alfie May also came back into the side with Joe Wright, Alfie Beestin and Jordan Houghton dropping to the bench.

Rovers started strongly and with real intent, showing a strong desire to get the ball forward quickly. A number of well-struck balls over the top sent Alfie May scarpering clear of the Northampton back line and gave Cobblers keeper Matt Ingram something to think about.

The first opportunity came early with Andy Butler powering a header over the bar from a James Coppinger free kick.

Northampton full back Brendan Moloney fired a warning shot in the form of a zipping low cross which none of his team mates could reach.

Rovers lost their initial fizz and the game became a bit of a drab affair.

Whiteman threatened to liven things up when he drilled a speculative effort from 30 yards which flew narrowly over the bar.

Rovers went close again just after the half hour mark. Mason surged down the right before Coppinger carried the ball inside and laid off to Tommy Rowe who curled for the far corner only for Ingram to tip wide.

But they did take the lead on 33 minutes.

Rowe skipped past his man inside the box and squared to John Marquis who saw his shot saved and May struck the rebound off the inside of the post before Coppinger surged in to make sure the ball crossed the line.

Northampton almost levelled on 42 minutes when the ball went through the Rovers defence to find Shaun McWilliams free at the back post. He drilled low but saw his shot blocked by the legs of Ian Lawlor.

And a minute later, Rovers doubled their lead.

Marquis was going no where in the box when he was clipped from behind with a needless challenge from Matt Grimes.

Mason wrestled the ball off Coppinger to take the penalty and smashed his spot kick into the bottom corner.

Rovers maintained their control of the game into the second half but it was a lacklustre opening.

The period roared into life 20 minutes in as Rovers threatened a third.

They should have netted following May's excellent work to find space inside the box. But he wanted a clearer shot and twisted and turned for more space, meaning when he finally took his shot, it was well-saved by Igram. The ball fell to Marquis who saw his scuffed follow-up also saved.

But the third did come on 66 minutes.

Mathieu Baudry saw a header cleared off the line by Grimes before the ball was eventually turned in from close range by Butler.

Rovers continued to push for more goals with the threat at the other end of the pitch minimal.

Rovers: Lawlor, Mason, Baudry, Butler, Garratt, Whiteman, Kongolo (Blair 62), Rowe, Coppinger, May (Beestin 82), Marquis. Subs not used: Marosi, Alcock, Wright, Houghton, Mandeville.

Northampton: Ingram, Moloney, Taylor, Poole, Buchanan, McWilliams (Hanley 69), O'Toole (McGugan 56), Grimes, Foley, Long (Hoskins 56), Richards. Subs not used: Cornell, Kasim, Waters, Smith

Referee: B Toner

Attendance: 8,032 (495 away)