Match report: Doncaster Rovers 2 Hartlepool United 1

Doncaster Rovers v Hartlepool United
Doncaster Rovers v Hartlepool United

Liam Mandeville got Rovers out of jail again with a last minute winner to see off Hartlepool United.

Mandeville raced in to turn in a John Marquis low ball in the 90th minute to secure an important three points which maintained their three point cushion in third place.

Marquis had given Rovers the lead only for Hartlepool to equalise from the spot after Mathieu Baudry fouled Padraig Amond, who scored the penalty.

Darren Ferguson made two changes to the side that started at Exeter City the previous week. Liam Mandeville was rewarded for his game-changing performance off the bench with a start, replacing Riccardo Calder, while Craig Alcock came in for Cedric Evina and Mathieu Baudry for Joe Wright.

Rovers began the game with an excellent tempo, pressing Hartlepool hard and high up the pitch was forced errors.

Possession play in those early stages was as good as it has been for Rovers for some weeks as they regularly found spaces down the right.

They did struggle to truly test Hartlepool keeper Trevor Carson in the early moments. John Marquis struck a tame effort straight at Carson while Niall Mason saw a powerful drive from 20 yards blocked.

Rovers did have the ball in the back of the net on 23 minutes when Marquis hooked home, only to see the effort ruled out for handball in the build-up.

The best opportunity of the early period saw Marquis draw a fine stop from Carson with a glancing header.

Rovers suffered a blow when Marko Marosi was forced off after being checked by the club doctor, apparently for concussion symptoms.

Ross Etheridge replaced him and made an inauspicious start. He played a casual pass out but sent it straight to Amond who curled an effort from the edge of the area. Etheridge could only watch it past him but gratefully grasped the ball as it rattled back off the post.

The keeper's spirits were quickly lifted, along with everyone else of a Rovers persuasion as they took the lead on the counterattack.

The ball was played into the box and Marquis stooped to head past Trevor Carson from close range.

Rovers continued to push forward and Rowe tested Carson's reactions with a flicked header from close range.

Etheridge had another let off moments later when he rushed out to punch a high ball but Josh Laurent got there first only to flick a header well wide.

Hartlepool had more joy as half time approached when they were awarded a penalty. Mathieu Baudry nudged into the back of Amond who tumbled.

Amond stepped up and sent Etheridge the wrong way from the spot for the equaliser.

The game was much more balanced after the break but Rovers had the edge, while the tempo remained high.

Mason had to be alert to hammer away Nicky Deverdics' dangerous ball into the box while at the other end, Marquis should have done better after a brilliant one-two with Coppinger, only to fire over the bar.

Coppinger went for goal himself moments later when smashing an effort on goal from 20 yards which Carson palmed away. Jordan Houghton mimicked the effort on 68 minutes and Carson held it well.

The visitors' best effort saw Deverdics curled a fine strike from the corner of the box which just drifted past the post.

Hartlepool boss Craig Hignett threw on former Rovers players Billy Paynter and Rob Jones in a bid to see out the game or push on for the winner.

But there was to be no case of players returning to haunt their former club as Rovers grabbed the winner.

Rovers charged forward with Marquis dribbling into the box before cutting the ball back across goal where Mandeville darted in with the goal at his mercy to slot home.

Rovers: Marosi (Etheridge 22), Alcock, Baudry, Butler, Mason, Houghton, Blair, Rowe, Coppinger (Keegan 90), Mandeville, Marquis. Subs not used: Wright, Garratt, Evina, Beestin, Longbottom.

Hartlepool: Carson, Richardson, Nsiala, Bates, Carroll, Richards, Laurent, Hawkins (Woods 63), Deverdics (Jones 88), Amond, Alessandra (Paynter 82). Subs not used: Oates, Bartlett, Orrell, Harrison.

Referee: Mark Haywood

Att: 5,009 (661)