Southend United 1 Doncaster Rovers 7: Magnificent seven as Rovers steal the spotlight on Sol Campbell's stage bow

Doncaster Rovers could so easily have been the sideshow act at Roots Hall but they stole the spotlight in dominant fashion.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 12:21 am
Southend United v Doncaster Rovers
Southend United v Doncaster Rovers

The announcement of former England international Sol Campbell's appointment as Southend United threatened to overshadow matters on the pitch.

After a thoroughly devastating performance from Rovers and a freak show performance from the hosts, most concerned with the Shrimpers will be eager to take solace from the presence of a new man in the hotseat.

For Rovers, their 7-1 triumph - and a first league away win - will make for excellent repeat viewing.

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A Kwame Thomas double plus strikes from Ben Sheaf, Ben Whiteman, Kieran Sadlier, Alfie May and Jon Taylor saw brilliant Rovers turn the screw on an opposition that had picked up just five points from their previous 13 matches.

Though the Shrimpers finished the game with nine men, such was Rovers' control on proceedings it hardly seemed to matter.

It was a game that will look incredibly eventful on the stats sheets but could hardly have been more routine from a Rovers perspective.

They delivered a fully professional performance to control the ball at all times and leave their beleaguered hosts chasing shadows.

It looked set to be a long night for Southend very, very early in the game when Ethan Hamilton was shown a straight red card five minutes in for a horrendous knee-high lunge on Jon Taylor.

But the ten man hosts would take a shock lead on 11 minutes when Isaac Hutchinson curled in a wonderful free kick from 25 yards.

Rovers however looked largely unfazed and began to control proceedings with excellent, patient, probing passing taking them up the pitch and putting the hosts on the back foot.

An equaliser seemed inevitable and it came on 23 minutes. Sadlier curled in a fine cross and Thomas peeled away at the back post to meet the ball with a diving header to take it beyond Nathan Bishop.

It took a further three minutes to complete the turnaround, with the second goal coming in similar fashion to the first. James Coppinger dug in a wonderful cross with Sheaf striking on the volley and sending the ball home via a deflection off Nathan Ralph.

Though they failed to add to the score in the first half, Rovers could hardly have been in more control as they spread the ball around the pitch and made Southend do all the running.

But the game needed putting to bed and that started on 52 minutes. Sheaf flicked a header on from a corner with the ball dropping to Thomas who rifled in from close range.

Southend's task became all the more impossible a minute later when Stephen McLaughlin was dismissed for a two-footed lunge on punching bag Taylor.

Rovers were in extreme comfort and the manner in which they had made Southend work began to tell.

Whiteman curled a wonderful effort into the corner from the edge of the box on 70 minutes before Sadlier made it five 12 minutes later, rifling in from close range after Taylor had struck the inside of the post.May brought down with one touch and flicked it over the keeper with his next.

And Taylor rounded off the scoring in the final minute as he turned home a deflected effort.

SOUTHEND: Bishop, Bwomono, Ralph, Milligan, Dieng (Lennon 56), Hopper (Humphrys 56), Cox, McLaughlin, Hamilton, Shaughnessy, Hutchinson. Subs not used: Oxley, Goodship, Kiernan, Demetriou,, Acquah.

ROVERS: Dieng; Halliday, Anderson, Daniels (Wright 46), James; Whiteman, Sheaf; Sadlier, Coppinger (May 63), Taylor; Thomas (Gomes 74). Subs not used: Lawlor, Blaney, Longbottom, Ennis.

REFEREE: Josh Smith

ATT: 5,066 (233 away)