Doncaster Rovers brush aside Nottingham Forest Under 21s in Bristol Street Motors Trophy
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A much-changed Rovers side started the game slowly but broke the deadlock just before half time courtesy of a fine strike from Luke Molyneux – his first competitive goal at the Eco-Power Stadium.
Second half substitute Joe Ironside then teed up Kyle Hurst for Rovers’ second before nodding home his 12th goal of the season to seal what turned out to be a routine victory.
Jamie Sterry also came off the bench in the closing stages to make his first appearance since the opening day of the season.
Grant McCann understandably rung the changes with a hectic festive schedule on the horizon – as Hurst, Ian Lawlor, Will Flint, Tommy Rowe, Harrison Biggins, Tyler Roberts and Jack Goodman all came into the starting XI.
Rovers showed plenty of ring rust in a first half lacking in incident, giving away possession too cheaply at times and lacking any sort of fluency.
Ateef Konate caught the eye for Forest during the early exchanges and went close from a tight angle.
It took the home side 27 minutes to craft a notable attempt on goal as the makeshift front two of Goodman and Roberts both just failed to connect with Molyneux’s teasing cross.
Rovers went ahead just before the break when right wing back Molyneux picked up possession on halfway and was allowed to stroll forward before unleashing an unstoppable left foot shot into the top corner.
Brandon Aguilera shot narrowly wide for Forest following the re-start as the visitors continued to show plenty of enthusiasm but without testing Lawlor.
McCann threw on first choice strike pair Ironside and Mo Faal, as well as Ben Close, midway through the second period in an attempt to rubberstamp victory.
And it did the trick as, within minutes, Hurst swept home Ironside’s low cross following neat hold-up play by Faal and a lovely dummy from Biggins.
Ironside then headed home from Close’s 85th minute corner to seal a comfortable win.
Rovers: Lawlor, Flint, Bailey, Olowu, Molyneux (Sterry 77), Broadbent, Rowe (Close 66), Biggins (Nixon 83), Hurst, Roberts (Faal 66), Goodman (Ironside 66). Subs: Jones, Anderson.
Forest U21s: Shelvey, Aguilera (Norkett 70), Konate (Gardner 63), Powell, Abbott, Larsson, McDonnell, Hammond, Hanks, Thompson, Perkins. Subs: Bott, Clarridge, Johnson, Nadin, McAdam.
Referee: Simon Mather