RECAP: Doncaster Rovers 3 Cheltenham Town 2: Rovers fend off Robins comeback for much-needed win

Doncaster Rovers are looking to bounce back from successive defeats as they welcome newly promoted Cheltenham Town – and you can follow it as it happens.

Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 1:33 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 5:02 pm
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Doncaster Rovers 3 Cheltenham Town 2

Last updated: Saturday, 23 October, 2021, 17:03

GOAL: Dodoo (23), Anderson (45+1), Vilca (55), May (68), Williams (90+1)

ROVERS: Dahlberg; Galbraith, Williams, Anderson, Olowu; Close, Bostock; Vilca (Cukur 80), Rowe (Smith 8), Hiwula (Barlow 90); Dodoo. Subs: Jones, Horton, Hasani, Gardner.

CHELTENHAM: Flinders; Blair, Pollock, Long, Hussey; Thomas (Norton 54); Sercombe, Chapman; Crowley (May 54); Joseph, Vassell (Williams 81). Subs: Evans, Horton, Barkers, Freestone.

REF: Daniel Woodward (Durham)

5pm GOT THERE IN THE END

It was a far nervier finish to the game than it needed to be but Rovers held on for a much-needed win that lifts them off the foot of League One.

They were really good for long stretches, playing some really nice possession football to threaten consistently and deservedly establish a comfortable lead.

Their composure evaded them from the third goal onwards, particularly after the penalty incident when they stopped looking after the ball with anything like the care they had previously as Cheltenham, driven on by the excellent Alfie May, were given encouragement.

It made for a very uncomfortable last 20 minutes or so when Rovers rode their luck more than a little.

But they got the job done in the end and it’s a big three points.

4.58pm ALL OVER

Rovers hold on for a 3-2 win

90min Nerves

Andy Williams connects with an overhead kick but the ball drops narrowly wide.

90min Substitution

Aidan Barlow replaces Jordy Hiwula

90min GOAL Cheltenham

Andy Williams powers in a free header to reduce the deficit further heading into the extended stoppage time.

There was no marking on Williams at all from a corner.

4.49pm ADDED TIME

SEVEN minutes. Hold onto your butts

81min Substitution

Another former Rovers player enters the fray as Andy Williams replaces Kyle Vassell.

80min Substitution

Tiago Cukur replaces Rodrigo Vilca.

72min Just got to be careful here

Rovers have lost a little bit of their concentration and composure since the penalty incident and they’re getting caught out by rapid counterattacks from the visitors.

It’d be a massive shame to let their comfortable position go to waste. Another goal back would change the mood massively.

68min GOAL Cheltenham

Alfie May hooks in from close range. A bit of a switch-off again from Rovers and the former striker pounces.

67min Another decent save

Pontus Dahlberg blocks well from Kyle Vassell as Cheltenham threatens again.

63min SAVED!!!

Pontus Dahlberg bats away from penalty from Liam Sercombe while Alfie May rattles the post with his follow-up.

A poor penalty.

62min PENALTY TO CHELTENHAM

Given for a handball against Ethan Galbraith.

Cheltenham broke rapidly up the pitch and had Rovers outnumbered. Liam Sercombe looked to have ruined the attack by playing back to Alfie May, who somehow managed to keep the ball on the byline. As May cut the pass back it looked to have clipped the arm of Galbraith. The referee did not give it but the assistant eventually flagged.

59min Big save

Pontus Dahlberg makes a big block as Kyle Joseph smashes a shot from a tight angle.

From the subsequent corner, Liam Sercombe drilled a shot off the underside of the bar that bounced clear.

56min Almost another

Ethan Galbraith carries the ball and just doesn’t stop, beating men to take him into the box where he drills low for the near post and draws an awkward save from Scott Flinders.

55min GGGGGGGOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!! ROVERS!!

Rodrigo Vilca slams in a third.

Ben Close played an excellent pass into the Peruvian winger whose first touch took him across the face of the box before he lashed in a left-footed effort.

Rovers well in command,

54min Double switch for the visitors

Ex-Rovers striker Alfie May comes on to a great reception, replacing Dan Crowley while Christian Norton replaces Conor Thomas.

48min Well over

Matt Smith bursts forward and jinks inside before firing well over the bar from the edge of the box.

47min Over the bar

Early danger from Cheltenham as a throw into the box is brought down and lashed on goal with Pontus Dahlberg parrying away, but only as far as Conor Thomas, who strikes the rebound first time but over the bar.

4.04pm BACK UNDERWAY

Ben Close takes the kick-off and we’re back up and running.

Well on top and deservedly ahead

That was a decent half of football from Rovers by any measure - and it was so good to hear a roar of appreciation as the half time whistle sounded.

They have been much the better team going forward and were well in control as they grabbed the first goal through Joe Dodoo. They lost a bit of their grip on the game afterwards and Cheltenham were encouraged on, without truly threatening. What Rovers have lacked this season so far is the ability to turn the screw - and finally they’ve done it with Tom Anderson’s late header giving them a cushion.

The change around in personnel has worked really well. Ethan Galbraith has been given license to roam from right back with the rest of the back four dropping into a three when Rovers are in possession. And the Manchester United loanee has been excellent with that freedom.

Confidence in the camp is clear to see - and it is a welcome sight.

3.49pm THAT’S THE BREAK

And Rovers lead 2-0 at half time.

45+1min GGGGGGGGGOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!! ROVERS!!!

Tom Anderson doubles the lead!

John Bostock curls in a delicious corner and Tom Anderson rises to power a header into the far corner.

Just what Rovers needed.

3.46pm ADDED TIME

Two minutes

45min Chance

Cheltenham keeper Scott Flinders fails to claim a deep cross and the ball drops to Jordy Hiwula who sees his shot blocked out on the near post.

35min Very open game now

To the frustration of Richie Wellens - again watching the game from the gantry but by choice this time - this match has become a very open affair. Cheltenham are currently lacking the quality to truly threaten Rovers but Rovers themselves are lacking the control of the game they had in the early stages. A bit of sustained possession would be preferable.

26min Confidence flowing through Rovers

Rovers have their tails up now. Jordy Hiwula has cut in off the left, exchanged a one-two with Joseph Olowu and fired narrowly wide of the far top corner. And moments later Ben Close lashed a shot from distance that forced Cheltenham keeper Scott Flinders into an awkward save.

23min GGGGGOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!! ROVERS

Joe Dodoo puts Rovers ahead!

A lovely long ball forward found the big striker who brought the ball down superbly on the edge of the box and lashed a shot in on the angle. A great all round piece of play and Rovers are ahead.

19min Good start

Rovers have had the better of things in these early stages. They’ve spent much of the time camped in the Cheltenham half and they’ve worked the ball pretty well. There does seem to be some hesitance to get shots away from the edge of the area though.

9min Shot from an unlikely source

Tom Anderson gallops over the half way line and keeps going before taking aim from 30 yards and drilling a shot over the bar. It wasn’t the worst effort - and why not have a go at the minute?

8min Substitution

Big early blow for Rovers as Tommy Rowe is forced off injured with Matt Smith coming on. He’ll go into the sitting role with Ben Close pushing into the number ten role.

7min Chance

Conor Thomas gets onto the end of a deep cross for Cheltenham and slams a first time attempt into the floor, watching it bounce wide.

A switch around in line-up

Here’s how Rovers have started the game. Galbraith at right back, Olowu at left back and Rowe as the number ten

3.01pm UNDERWAY

TEAMS OUT

HERE’S HOW ROVERS LINE-UP

And it’s TWO changes from the side that started the defeat at Gillingham.

Out go the Tiago Cukur - who drops to the bench - plus the suspended Kyle Knoyle, with Joseph Olowu and Rodrigo Vilca coming into the side.

We understand Richie Wellens will stick with the 4-2-3-1 system with Olowu replacing Knoyle at right back.

Dan Gardner returns to the bench following his recent foot injury.

AND THE VISITORS

And Matty Blair is the only ex-Rovers player who makes the starting XI for Cheltenham with Alfie May on the bench and no Andy Williams.

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