MATCH REPORT: Oldham Athletic 1 Doncaster Rovers 2

GOAL: Team mates pile on Rob Jones after he put Rovers ahead at Oldham with a diving header.
GOAL: Team mates pile on Rob Jones after he put Rovers ahead at Oldham with a diving header.

SUBSTITUTE David Syers provided a late knock out blow to ensure Boxing Day celebrations for Rovers at Boundary Park.

Syers popped up with a deft header past Dean Bouzanis in stoppage time to snatch all three points and make it ten away games unbeaten for Dean Saunders’ side.

Rob Jones’ early header was cancelled out by a long range strike from Youssouf M’Changama on 27 minutes.

For long periods, the game looked every bit a stalemate.

Rovers lacked any real fluidity throughout the rain-drenched clash with the midfield bank of four looking particularly disjointed.

But the trademark undying workrate and endeavour produced the goods.

It is clear – particularly away from home – that this Rovers team will not be content until the final whistle with anything but a lead.

Oldham will have been disappointed not to get anything from the game after controlling much of the first half.

But for all their attractive football in the build-up, there was little of note in the final third.

It could not have started better for Rovers who opened the scoring after just three minutes.

Billy Paynter flicked a David Cotterill free kick onto the post and Jones met the rebound with a diving header to send the ball past a static Bouzanis.

Driving rain at the exposed Boundary Park made conditions difficult with keepers Bouzanis and Gary Woods spilling long range efforts from Kyle Bennett and the impressive Jose Baxter respectively.

Chances were at a premium over the first 20 minutes but the hosts began to take a hold on the game as the half wore on, threatening down the right flank through Baxter, Lee Croft and Reece Wabara.

After recovering from what appeared to be a severe injury, Youssouf M’Changama would prove key to getting Oldham back level.

Woods proved equal to a looping effort from the left winger but will have been disappointed with his part in M’Changama’s next effort.

M’Changama drilled an effort from 25 yards that flew through Woods’ hands to level the score after 27 minutes.

Oldham continued to be afforded plenty of space just outside the area and Baxter was particularly keen to force Woods to work.

The best chance in the remainder fell to the towering Jean-Yves M’Voto who powered a header from 15 yards which Woods could only tip around the post.

After an uneventful start to the second half it was Rovers who became the most threatening.

Controversy reigned on 66 minutes when Paynter appeared to have put the visitors back in front.

Cotterill’s cross sparked a goalmouth scramble with Paynter appearing to send the ball over the line before Bouzanis smothered.

But the referee Rob Lewis and his assistant both signalled play on.

Cotterill really should have scored a minute later after being sent galloping clear with a fine pass from Iain Hume.

But the winger carried the ball too far, allowing M’Voto to make up ground and produce a fine sliding tackle.

The game looked set for a draw as it ambled into stoppage time but Rovers had other ideas.

Rovers surged forward with substitute James Husband drilling an effort from 25 yards which Bouzanis could only parry.

Tommy Spurr collected at the byline and sent a teasing cross into the box which Syers met six yards out to nod into the bottom corner.

League-best away form maintained, Rovers head to Preston North End on Saturday.

Oldham: Dean Bouzanis, Jonathan Grounds, James Wesolowski, Jean-Yves M’Voto, Lee Croft, Dean Furman, Matt Smith, Cliff Byrne, Jose Baxter, Youssouff M’Changama (Cristian Montano,83), Reece Wabara.

Subs: Alex Cisak, Connor Brown, Daniel Taylor, Kirk Millar, Connor Hughes, Carl Winchester.

Rovers: Gary Woods, Paul Quinn, Jamie McCombe, Tommy Spurr, David Cotterill, James Harper, Paul Keegan (David Syers, 63), Kyle Bennett (James Husband, 83), Iain Hume, Billy Paynter (Chris Brown, 79).

Subs: Jon Maxted, Robbie Blake, Andy Griffin, Shelton Martis.

Referee: Rob Lewis, Shrewsbury

Att: 4,252 (792)