Match report: Doncaster Rovers 1 Swindon Town 0

Goal! Doncaster Rovers' Jamie McCombe scores against Swindon Town.
Goal! Doncaster Rovers' Jamie McCombe scores against Swindon Town.

IF Brian Flynn felt things were going to plan for Rovers before Swindon came to town, he would have been the most self-assured man in Doncaster at the final whistle.

Just when there seemed reason to doubt Rovers’ resolve as League One leaders, they turned in a performance of sheer desire and energy for a deserved win over a promotion rivals.

Jamie McCombe’s header 10 minutes from time was just reward for Rovers from a game they controlled.

Flynn’s side have been reluctant front-foot fighters this season but there was nothing but an intention to go forward throughout what looked set to be a difficult contest.

Swindon may have come to sit back but ultimately they had little choice in the matter.

The tempo was excellent from Rovers, a world away from their poor show in the opening period against Coventry.

Play was swift and with a great deal of urgency, facilitated by David Cotterill, James Coppinger and the recalled Kyle Bennett being given license to roam behind the reliable Chris Brown.

Options were plentiful for John Lundstram and a lively Dean Furman ensuring the visitors were pegged back into their own half for the majority.

What also differed from the Coventry defeat was the work off-the-ball.

Possession for the opposition was pressed with intensity, ensuring Swindon had little opportunity to craft counterattacks - a fact highlighted by Gary Woods having his quietest outing of the season so far.

What was lacking for was the final ball and, for all their control, there were few clear-cut chances.

In the end it was a reliable source of the set piece that brought the decisive goal.

But for the majority Rovers were chipping away at their visitors with the ball on the ground.

Brown had chested down a Tommy Spurr long throw into the path of Furman whose half volley was blocked by Alan McCormack.

And a few seconds later a cross from Cotterill forced a save from Wes Foderingham as it threatened the near post.

Rovers had a shout for a penalty on 29 minutes when Furman tumbled under pressure from Aden Flint, though it would have been harsh had Paul Tierney pointed to the spot.

Swindon were reduced to breaks and efforts from long distance.

McCormack robbed possession from Andy Griffin and drilled an effort from the corner of the box which flew wide while Dean Parrett missed with an effort from around 30 yards.

Rovers could not have come much closer to scoring than they did seven minutes from the break.

Cotterill galloped to the byline and cut a ball across the face of goal which rattled off Flint and needed a last gasp clearances from Darren Ward to prevent an own goal.

To their immense credit, Rovers maintained the electric tempo into the second half.

Bennett drew a fine save from the impressive Foderingham five minutes after the break, clipping a Furman pass with the outside of his boot but sending it straight at the Swindon keeper.

And Ward almost headed into his own goal from the subsequent corner.

McCombe almost got on the scoresheet on 66 minutes when he met a Cotterill free kick from deep and powered a header on goal, forcing a fine save from Foderingham.

Cotterill tested Foderingham from 35 yards with a drilled free kick, forcing him to tip wide with the ball destined for the top corner.

Just when it seemed as though Rovers would not get their reward, McCombe struck with his first goal for the club.

Cotterill floated over a corner to the back post where the centre half rose to power home a header.

Swindon boss Kevin MacDonald made changes to spark his side into life.

But it was Rovers who looked most likely to grab another goal and they saw out the game in complete comfort.