Match report: Bury 0 Doncaster Rovers 1

Bury v Doncaster Rovers
Bury v Doncaster Rovers

Ben Whiteman's superbly composed finish saw Rovers hold their nerve for an important win against ten man Bury.

Rovers knocked on the door almost constantly in the second half after Bury had Eoghan O'Connell sent off on the stroke of half time for bringing down the breaking John Marquis.

Just when it looked like they would not find the key to breaking down the dogged Shakers, Whiteman finished superbly 12 minutes from time for an important win against their fellow strugglers.

Darren Ferguson made three changes to the side that lost to Walsall the previous weekend.

Craig Alcock made his first league start of the season while James Coppinger unsurprisingly returned to the starting XI along with Rodney Kongolo. Liam Mandeville missed out entirely with Niall Mason and Ben Whiteman dropping to the bench.

They lined up in the 3-4-3 system which worked so well in the win over Portsmouth, with Tommy Rowe and James Coppinger playing just behind John Marquis.

And Rovers made a bright start and were inches away from taking a third minute lead. James Coppinger was allowed to dance across the face of the box and find space to drill a low shot, which deflected just off target.

Bury went close themselves moments later. Jermaine Beckford latched onto a long ball over the top which bamboozled the Rovers defence with its bounce and he lashed a shot narrowly wide from a tight angle.

Rovers looked the stronger in the early stages, producing some crisp passing despite the soggy conditions at Gigg Lane. They found plenty of space in the wide areas, getting men down the sides of Bury's back three.

The conditions began to play a major role in the game with swirling winds and constant rain causing problems for both sides. Neither could sustain any real meaningful possession in what descended into a particularly scrappy game.

Joe Wright was needed to block smartly when wing back Chris Humphreys went for the far corner after cutting inside.

And Ian Lawlor produced a fine parry when Rohan Ince smashed a shot from the edge of the box after decent build-up play from Bury.

The hosts suffered a blow as half time approached when top scorer Beckford was forced off injured.

And there was another to come for Bury, with a significant boost for Rovers.

In stoppage time, Marquis was sent clean through. In his attempt to recover, O'Connell clumsily bundled into the back of the striker, denying him a clear goalscoring opportunity and leaving referee Andy Haines with little choice but to send him off.

Rovers had a free kick on the edge of the box which Tommy Rowe curled narrowly wide.

The hosts compacted after the break, switching to a 4-4-1 system with the two banks of four playing exceptionally close together whenever Rovers had the ball.

Ferguson opted for a couple of changes in an attempt to unlock Bury.

First, Whiteman went on for Alcock with Kongolo switching to wing back. Then Andy Williams replaced Mathieu Baudry as Rovers switched to a 4-4-2.

Williams almost scored with his first touch when he spun onto a bobbling ball and drilled over the bar via a deflection.

Rovers banged on the door almost constantly in the second half but were having a real problem finding a sniff of an opportunity against a hard-working Bury defence that had its back to the wall.

Williams really should have put Rovers in front when he charged onto Marquis' downward header which caught Murphy out but blasted well over with the goal gaping.

It needed a calm head and Rovers found just that as they opened the scoring.

A corner fell to Whiteman who simply placed the ball into the top corner from 15 yards with a finish of excellent composure.

Williams really should have doubled Rovers' advantage when he attempted to lob Murphy after going clean through but dropped the ball over the bar.

And he smashed a shot narrowly over the bar from the edge of the box as Rovers threatened more.

But they did not need it as they secured a key victory.

Bury: Murphy; Edwards, O'Connell, Aldred; Humphrey, O'Shea (Mayor 82), Ince (Tutte 61), Reilly, Leigh; Smith, Beckford (Maguire 38). Subs not used: Fasan, Williams, Laurent, Dobre.

Rovers: Lawlor; Wright, Butler, Baudry (Williams 67); Alcock (Whiteman 61), Kongolo, Houghton, Toffolo; Coppinger, Marquis, Rowe. Subs not used: Marosi, Mason, Garratt, Ben Khemis, Beestin.

Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear)

Attendance: 3,079 (454 away)