Injury to Sheffield United loanee overshadows EFL Trophy clash between Doncaster Rovers and Mansfield Town

Doncaster Rovers were beaten 3-2 by Mansfield Town in a lively EFL Trophy encounter at Field Mill.
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An end-to-end game was overshadowed by a serious-looking injury to Doncaster's Louie Marsh in the first-half, however.

Teenager Marsh, on loan from Sheffield United, left the pitch on a stretcher after landing awkwardly following an innocuous aerial challenge.

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Grant McCann made eight changes as he fielded a largely youthful starting XI, which included a professional debut for Will Flint, who was offered professional terms last week.

Doncaster Rovers' Louie Marsh is taken off on a stretcher after his injury.Doncaster Rovers' Louie Marsh is taken off on a stretcher after his injury.
Doncaster Rovers' Louie Marsh is taken off on a stretcher after his injury.

The youngsters were taught a footballing lesson early on.

Jack Goodman wasted two wonderful chances to score his first senior Doncaster goal inside the opening five minutes.

The first arrived after just 30 seconds when the striker escaped his marker for a clear sight of goal inside the box before firing straight at Scott Flinders.

Marsh then split Mansfield's defence in half with an exquisite pass to find Goodman unmarked in the area.

Doncaster Rovers' Joe Ironside celebrates his goal.Doncaster Rovers' Joe Ironside celebrates his goal.
Doncaster Rovers' Joe Ironside celebrates his goal.
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He danced past Flinders before losing control of possession, allowing the hosts to clear.

Those misses quickly came back to haunt Rovers but not before Ian Lawlor's brilliant point-blank save to deny McKeal Abdullah in a frantic opening ten minutes.

Mansfield took the lead when James Gale sent Lawlor the wrong way from the penalty spot after George Broadbent tripped him inside the box.

Doncaster could hardly catch their breath before they were 2-0 down when an unmarked Gale headed his side further in front from close range.

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Smelling blood, Mansfield poured forward and looked like scoring with every attack.

Callum Macdonald headed against the bar before Rovers began to settle.

But the hosts went close yet again when Macdonald fired just past the post on the half-hour mark.

Ben Close replaced Bobby Faulkner due to injury after 35 minutes and almost immediately halved the deficit when he headed home from Deji Sotona's corner.

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Marsh’s injury resulted in ten minutes' worth of first-half injury time but didn’t quell the contest.

Will Swan, unmarked, headed over with the goal at his mercy at the start of the second period before Goodman and Rowe went close to equalising.

Goodman raced onto Flint's long ball forward before chopping past one defender and picking his spot, only for a covering man to block.

Rowe then got a touch to a Close strike but Flinders kept it out.

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McCann called upon his first-teamers on the hour as he brought on Mo Faal, Zain Westbrooke and Joe Ironside.

That quickly paid dividends as Ironside equalised with a close-range finish for his fifth goal of the season.

Ironside beat Flinders at the second attempt after his initial effort from Westbrooke's cross hit the post.

Mansfield responded immediately and Lawlor denied Will Swan with his legs when one-on-one.

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Spaces opened up in defence as both sides chased a winner and Molyneux almost sealed the comeback with a curling effort from 18 yards that hit the post.

Lawlor then produced another fine low stop to deny Swan.

Hiram Boateng fired wide as the game entered the final ten minutes still in the balance.

The action at both ends continued until the final whistle as Broadbent’s powerful drive smacked the post before Lawlor was beaten by Callum Johnson’s close-range header in the final few minutes of normal time, which undid Rovers’ hard work.

Rovers: Ian Lawlor, Joseph Olowu, George Broadbent, Tommy Rowe (Zain Westbrooke, 60), Owen Bailey, Deji Sotona (Mo Faal), Bobby Faulkner (Ben Close, 35), Tavonga Kuleya, Louie Marsh (Luke Molyneux, 39), Jack Goodman (Joe Ironside, 60), Will Flint

Subs: Louis Jones, Tom Nixon

Mansfield: Scott Flinders, Callum Johnson, George Maris (Baily Cargill, 46), Calum Macdonald (Finn Flanagan, 86), James Gale, George Cooper (Jordan Bowery, 63), George Williams, Lewis Brunt (Aaron Lewis, 46), Will Swan, McKeal Abdullah (Aden Flint, 69), Hiram Boateng

Subs: Christy Pym, Darien Wauchope

Attendance: 1,486 (142 away)