Doncaster Rovers 0 Leicester City U21 3: Rovers slump out of Leasing.com Trophy
Doncaster Rovers can focus on League One football alone for the rest of the season after exiting the Leasing.com Trophy with defeat to Leicester City U21s.
A brace from Zimbabwe international striker Admiral Muskwe and a late strike from George Hirst saw the young Foxes deservedly triumph and send Rovers out of their second cup competition in four days.
It was a pretty strong Rovers side fielded by Darren Moore, despite nine changes from the side which started the sorry 3-0 defeat at Gillingham in the FA Cup at the weekend.
But for long periods they were decidedly second best against a Premier League second string packed with exciting young talent.
It ensured a happy return to Rovers for former boss Steve Beaglehole who is in charge of the City U21s.
Leicester started with greater energy and it took plenty of the first half for Rovers to get a foothold in the game.
And a timely second goal in the second half killed off any thoughts of a Rovers revival after half time tinkering gave them a genuine attacking threat for the first time.
Moore deployed a three man defence, which he had switched to at Gillingham in a bid to wrestle Rovers back into the game.
Though Rovers were looking to play in between the lines of the opposition, it was Leicester who had greater success doing so with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall starting plenty of forays forward after dropping deep.
Attacking movement from the visitors also put Rovers to shame with Muskwe and former Sheffield Wednesday youngster Hirst timing runs to perfection to latch onto early crosses.
It took a brilliant tackle from Danny Amos to deny Hirst a real scoring opportunity but Muskwe took his chance on 13 minutes.
The forward surged ahead of his man to latch onto Calvin Ughelumba’s early cross and sidefoot beyond a helpless Ian Lawlor.
Rovers were struggling for attacking threat and Ben Whiteman went it alone after intercepting a pass on half way before drawing a save from Tobias Viktor Johansson with a shot from 25 yards.
But the hosts almost equalised just after the half hour. Donervon Daniels hit the post with a header from a corner while Tom Anderson saw a follow-up cleared off the line after a goalmouth scramble.
Moore switched his side around at the break, sending on Joe Wright and Rakish Bingham and switching to the usual 4-2-3-1 system.
It brought improvement in attacking terms, allowing Rovers to get more bodies forward and threaten for a sustained period.
But before they could get a real foothold in the game, Leicester grabbed a second.
Muskwe rose in a challenge with Lawlor, sending the ball looping up. Hirst headed off the bar and Muskwe responded the quickest to force the ball over the line.
Rovers continued to push but their challenge was muted.
And the game was fully wrapped up two minutes from time when Hirst stooped to head home from a corner.
ROVERS: Lawlor; Daniels, Anderson, Blaney (Wright 46); Halliday (Bingham 46), Whiteman, Greaves (Gomes 64), Amos; May, Taylor; Thomas. Subs not used: Dieng, James, Sadlier, Watters.
LEICESTER: Johansson (Davies 46); Amartey, Johnson, Ughekumba; Clark, G Thomas, Dewsbury-Hall, Wright (Leshabela 75), L Thomas; Muskwe (Regba 88), Hirst. Subs not used: Daley-Campbell, Eppiah, O'Connor, Tee.
REFEREE: Ollie Yates (Staffordshire)
ATTENDANCE: 1,322 (57 away)