Report: Doncaster Rovers 0 Shrewsbury Town 1
Doncaster Rovers' free fall continued as they slumped to defeat at home to fellow strugglers Shrewsbury Town.
Darren Ferguson’s much-changed side had the better of the first half but fell behind to a horrendous goal and failed to muster any sort of response.
The winning goal came just after the hour mark when Shaun Whalley’s corner was inexplicably allowed to go straight in.
Defeat extended Rovers’ run without a win to ten games in all competitions and saw them drop to 20th in League One - one place above the drop zone.
Ferguson said he would not shy away from big decisions in the build-up to the game and he kept his word. He dropped top scorer Andy Williams, handed a first league start to Liam Mandeville and reverted to 4-4-2 with the recalled Andy Butler alongside Craig Alcock at the back.
Rovers had the better of a somewhat nervy first half, although clear cut openings were thin on the ground.
Lynden Gooch, part of a youthful midfield including new loan signing Riccardo Calder, was their main creative spark and he went closest after linking up neatly with Nathan Tyson and forcing Jayson Leutwiler into a low save.
The visiting goalkeeper also had to be alert to keep out a 30-yard piledriver from Luke McCullough, who was impressing in a midfield holding role.
Shrewsbury offered very little attacking threat but Andy Mangan’s header towards the end of the first period forced Thorsten Stuckmann into a save.
Town started the second half much better than Rovers and might have gone ahead from a corner when substitute Dominic Smith headed a chance at the back post into the ground and over the bar.
The home side were ragged but went close from a corner of their own when Butler’s header was cleared off the line by Ian Black.
Williams was introduced for Mandeville just after the hour mark but within seconds the visitors seized the iniative when Whalley’s inswinging corner from the left was allowed to go straight in.
In a role reversal from the first half, Rovers offered precious little attacking threat but they should have levelled on 78 minutes when Williams somehow managed to head Conor Grant’s corner into the ground over from a few yards out.
From yet another dead ball, substitute Cameron Stewart saw his goalbound free-kick superbly saved by Leutwiler in the last minute - before boos rang out at the final whistle.
Rovers: Stuckmann, Lund, Alcock, Butler, Taylor-Sinclair (Evina 76), McCullough, Grant, Calder (Stewart 85), Gooch, Mandeville (Williams 61), Tyson. Subs not used: Jones, MacKenzie, Keegan, Middleton.
Shrewsbury: Leutwiler, Grimmer, Whitbread (Smith 27), Knight-Percival, Brown, Ogogo, Black (Wellens 75), Clark, Mangan, Vassell, Whalley. Subs not used: Halstead, Kaikai, Vernon, Akpa Akpro, Cole.
Referee: Philip Gibbs (West Midlands)