MATCH REPORT: Doncaster Rovers 1 Blackpool 3

On the attack:  Top Doncaster Rovers performer James Hayter              Pictures: Steve taylor
On the attack: Top Doncaster Rovers performer James Hayter Pictures: Steve taylor

DONCASTER Rovers failed to avenge a cruel defeat at Bloomfield Road last October in last night’s reverse fixture.

The Seasiders led throughout and finished worthy winners but Rovers, who could have gone in level at half-time after trailing 2-0 at one stage, produced a battling display.

Rovers, who drew 0-0 at Hull last time out, started with an unchanged line-up which meant a home debut for Habib Bamogo while Mamadou Bagayoko and Fabien Robert, were named on the bench.

Fifth-placed Blackpool, playing their third game in a week, showed six changes to the side which started in the draw with Portsmouth. They suffered a pre-match blow when Matt Phillips was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

The game got off to a lively start with Lomano LuaLua getting a 20 yarder on target in the first minute and Martin Woods, starting a home game for the first time in over 16 months, testing keeper Matt Gilks at the other end seconds later after good work by James Hayter in the build-up.

LuaLua did well down the left on nine minutes but no-one was able to get on the end of his his lay-off.

Gilks did well to deny Hayter, who had looked lively in the opening stages, in a one-on-one after 11 minutes.

On-loan Rovers goalkeeper David Button, outstanding against the Tigers, saved well from Novan Dicko three minutes later.

Rovers centre-back Sam Hird did well to beat Blackpool Barry Ferguson to a dangerous-looking ball into the box by striker Gary Taylor-Fletcher, nicknamed ‘GTF’, at the expense of a corner.

Blackpool, the second-highest scorers on their travels in the Championship this season, broke the deadlock with a superb goal on 20 minutes.

Right-back Neil Eardley picked Taylor-Fletcher out just outside the box with a long ball from the halfway line and the striker ran on to it before coolly slotting home.

Skipper Brian Stock tested Gilks with a long range effort three minutes later as Rovers pressed for a quick reply.

Hayer took a tumble in the box on the half hour after being set-up by Stock, but his claim for a penalty fell on deaf ears.

Blackpool rode their luck before doubling their tally on 34 minutes.

Again it was Taylor-Fletcher who bagged the goal - the striker stabbing the ball in after cutting past a couple of defenders when cutting in from the edge of the box.

Hayter continued to pose the biggest threat to Blackpool and had he been able to make a clean connection when well placed in the box from El Hadji Diouf’s header, he could well have pulled a goal back.

Rovers didn’t have to wait too much longer to open their account, however.

Diouf, who successfully converted the resulting spot kick, was awarded a controversial penalty after going down in the box when challenging Ian Evatt for the ball after Hayter and Bamogo had combined well in the build-up.

Hayter wasted a great chance to level the scores in stoppage time of an entertaining first half, shooting over with an angled effort from about eight yards.

Crainey did well to block an angled goal bound shot by Diouf at the expense of a 49th minute corner.

Rovers brought on Kyle Bennett for Bamogo on 54 minutes.

Gilks saved well from Martin Woods, who will have been disappointed not to have beaten the keeper in a one-on-one after he had got on the end of a clever cross by Hayter in front of goal.

Button needed two attempts to get the ball under control from John Fleck’s 20 yarder.

Blackpool continued to produce passages of eye-catching football, much to the delight of their 1,015 strong following.

Diouf shot wide of the near post from just inside the box on 64 minutes. Hird blocked Fleck’s shot on the edge of the box.

Blackpool extended their lead on 72 minutes. Button could only parry Kevin Phillips angled shot and Dicko was well placed to fire home to make it 3-1. It brought to an end Rovers five-match unbeaten home record.

ROVERS: Button 6; O’Connor 6, Lockwood 6, Hird 7, Spurr 6; Oster 6, Stock 6, M Woods 6 (Gillett 77); Bamogo 6 (Bennett 6 54), Hayter 8 (Bagayoko 85), Diouf 7 Substitutes: Martis, Robert.

BLACKPOOL: Gilks 7; Eardley 7, Evatt 7, Baptise 7, Crainey 7; Fleck 7 (Angel 67), Ferguson 7, Sylvestre 6; Dicko 7, Taylor-Fletcher 8 (K Phillips 69), LuaLua 7 (Ince 74). Substitutes: Harris, Bednar.

GOALS: Rovers: Diouf (pen 42). Blackpool: Taylor-Fletcher (20,34) Dicko (72)

REFEREE: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire).