Doncaster Rovers 2 Coventry City 0: Rovers seal place in League One play-offs

Doncaster Rovers held their nerve to beat a determined Coventry City side and seal their place in the League One play-offs.

Sunday, 5th May 2019, 3:22 pm
Rovers v Coventry
Rovers v Coventry

Kieran Sadlier headed Rovers in front on 31 minutes after Grant McCann’s men had started the game in nervy fashion.

Seventh-placed Peterborough United beat Burton Albion 3-1 so Rovers knew there was no room for error – and to their credit Coventry refused to lie down after going behind.

But John Marquis popped up to net his 25th goal of the season with five minutes remaining to set up a play-off semi-final with Charlton Athletic.

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The goal sparked scenes of jubilation but a minority of fans spilled onto the pitch in celebration. A pitch invasion from both sides of the ground at the final whistle, which required the police to break up a couple of scuffles between rival fans, also overshadowed the post-game celebrations.

During a lively opening to the game Wilks almost immediately fired a long range effort over the bar and Danny Andrew had to make an important challenge to stop Brandon Mason getting in on goal.

But when the game calmed down it was the visitors who settled much better. Rovers appeared anxious and too many of their passes were going astray.

That changed just before the half hour mark when James Coppinger played a delightful ball over the top for Marquis who mis-hit his first effort before forcing Lee Burge into a save.

Moments later Rovers grabbed the lead. Wilks did superbly down the right and his deep cross was headed home emphatically at the back post by Sadlier.

Amadou Bakayoko had the ball in the net for Coventry from their next attack but referee Jeremy Simpson had blown for a foul in the build-up.

Rovers were visibly lifted by their goal and Marquis fizzed a shot just wide from distance before the break.

Andrew fired wide as Rovers came out for the second period looking for a vital second goal.

The Sky Blues seemed determined to throw a spanner in the works and Marko Marosi had to parry an attempt from Jordy Hiwula and substitute Conor Chaplin blazed over from the edge of the box.

With the visitors continuing to probe, Rovers were forced to play on the break and at times were guilty of giving the ball back to Coventry far too easily.

Doncaster had hardly threatened but with five minutes remaining Marquis put the matter beyond doubt when he prodded home from close range after Burge had saved his initial downward header.

Rovers: Marosi, Blair, Downing, Butler, Andrew, Whiteman, Kane, Coppinger (Smith 82), Sadlier (Rowe 82), Wilks (Crawford 71), Marquis. Subs not used: Jones, Lewis, Anderson, May.

Coventry: Burge, Sterling, Willis, Hyam, Mason, Kelly, Shipley (Ponticelli 74), Thomas, Enobakhare (Chaplin 45), Hiwula, Bakayoko (Westbrooke 56). Subs not used: Addai, Drysdale, McCallum, Wakefield.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson

Attendance: 12,794