Story of the game as Doncaster Rovers pull off shock win at Sunderland

Stadium of LightStadium of Light
Stadium of Light
The challenges get no easier for a Doncaster Rovers side desperately in need of three points as they visit Sunderland – and you can follow the action as it happens.

Join us from the Stadium of Light as Rovers look to bounce back from their midweek humbling against neighbours Rotherham United. Sunderland too are looking for a response after being thumped by Bolton last weekend – a defeat which brought the end of Lee Johnson’s reign as manager.

Sunderland 1 Rovers 2


GOAL: Griffiths (22), Rowe (45+1), Evans 89

SUNDERLAND: Hoffman, Gooch, Winchester (Clarke 61), Batth, Doyle, Cirkin, Neil, Evans, Embleton, Pritchard, Stewart. Subs: Patterson, Dajaku, Defoe, Matete, Hume, Roberts.

ROVERS: Mitchell; Younger, Williams, Olowu, Jackson; Smith, Rowe; Seaman, Martin (Gardner 70), Odubeko (Dodoo 74); Griffiths (Knoyle 80). Subs: Jones, Clayton, Barlow, Agard.

And that was something very special

A Doncaster Rovers side that could not buy a win on the road has just picked up a quite magnificent victory over Sunderland.

And, as was the case at MK Dons in their previous away game, it was down to a tremendous workrate, quality game management, ruthless finishing and more than a little slice of luck.

To a man, Rovers were excellent this afternoon, with several players emphatically answering critics.


4.53pm ALL OVER!



They triumph 2-1 at the Stadium of Light - their first ever league win over Sunderland

90+3min Another strike

Corry Evans goes for goal from 20 yards and fires low but Mitchell claims easily.

90+2min Ball in hand

Alex Pritchard puts a dangerous ball into the box but Jonathan Mitchell gets his body in the way and claims.

Holding on


FOUR minutes.

Hold onto your butts

89min GOAL Sunderland

Corry Evans turns in from close range for the hosts

88min Game management

It’s been a topic of conversation and point of criticism all season, but Rovers have managed this game superbly this afternoon. Sunderland look a little out of ideas.

85min Close

Danny Batth heads narrowly wide from eight yards.

84min Two big blocks

The ball comes into the box and Ollie Younger superbly gets his body in the way before seeming to lay on the ball. It is pushed out and a shot is lashed in but Charlie Seaman sticks his head in the way at the near post.

80min Substitution

Kyle Knoyle replaces Reo Griffiths

74min Substitution

Joe Dodoo replaces Mipo Odubeko

72min Double home sub

Jermain Defoe and Jay Matete head on for the hosts.

What an ovation for Defoe on his redebut for Sunderland.

70min Substitution

Dan Gardner replaces Josh Martin, who has been excellent.

68min Off the post

A surging run down the Sunderland right from Elliot Embleton ends when he cracks a shot towards the far post which bounces up and hits the upright. The ball is recycled out to Alex Pritchard who sees his own shot from distance saved by Jonathan Mitchell.

62min Danger

Sub Jack Clarke curls a ball into the box and forces Jonathan Mitchell to act, which he does.

61min Home sub

Jack Clarke replaces Carl Winchester for Sunderland

59min Should be 2-1

Sunderland should have a goal back in this one. And if we had VAR or goalline technology thet probably would.

A cross was stood up to the back post where Ross Stewart rose and headed down. Jonathan Mitchell blocked it but it appeared to have crossed the line - much to the rage of the home side.

57min Another strong save

Dennis Cirkin spins onto the ball inside the Rovers box and drives low but Jonathan Mitchell shows strong hands.

55min Driving run

Tommy Rowe intercepts a pass inside his own half and charge forward until drilling a low effort from the edge of the box which Thorben Hoffman saves and gathers at the second attempt.

52min Another big save

Dan Neil powers through the middle and unleashes a thunderbolt from 25 yards which Jonathan Mitchell tips wide at full stretch.

47min Big save

Alex Pritchard goes for goal from 25 yards with a piledriver that Jonathan Mitchell palms away well. Ross Stewart looks set to latch onto the follow-up but Ro-Shaun Williams gets his body in the way and clears

4.03pm Back underway


What a position to be in - and they fully deserve it

Rovers lead 2-0 at half time at Sunderland. Drink that in.

And they are fully deserving of their advantage at the break.

They barely had a kick during the first 15 minutes but have been much the better side ever since.

They’ve used the ball really well, playing forward early but with real incisiveness. They’ve pressed well too, bringing out a clear nervousness in the Sunderland defence and have been largely on the front foot since Reo Griffiths’ excellent opener.

Tommy Rowe’s stunning strike in first half stoppage time was the icing on the cake and just ensured that a thoroughly frustrated home support were even more so when the half time whistle sounded.

There’s a long way to go in this game - and we know full well that Rovers are capable of conceding a lead greater than the one they have now, and against poorer opposition.

But they’ve got something to protect against a team that haven’t really got going this afternoon.

3.49pm That’s the break


And Rovers are in dreamland with a 2-0 lead at half time

Cue more boos from the home support




From a corner, the ball was half cleared and then put back in with Rowe spinning away on the angle and lashing a shot into the top corner.



TWO minutes

34min Danger

Alex Pritchard curls a ball into the box and Ross Stewart scuffs his shot wide.

42min Not unjust

Rovers are ahead in this game and, barring the opening 15 minutes, they’ve justified it.

Sunderland are all over the place at times and look completely shorn of confidence in defence. The tension has transferred to the stands where the bumper crowd aren’t happy.

The workrate from Rovers is causing the hosts plenty of problems.

37min Big chance for the hosts

Ross Stewart gets a free header at the near post but sends it well wide.

32min Off the post!

It’s all Rovers and Sunderland cannot clear their lines. The ball was played into Charlie Seaman who struck a scruffy volley that bounced up and off the post.

Cue boos from the unhappy Sunderland faithful.

31min Should be 2-0

From the subsequent corner the ball is tossed around the box before being played back across when Ro-Shaun Williams strikes it first time but scuffs it wide.

30min Should be 2-0

Josh Martin went for goal with a free kick from 30 yards. It dropped in front of Thorben Hoffman and he tamely pushed it away. Joseph Olowu ran in to finish but Hoffman got enough in front of the shot to take it out for a corner.

29min Looking dangerous

And it’s Rovers that I’m writing that about. They’re picking some superb lofted passes to send runners off and put Sunderland on the back foot.




Rovers are ahead at the Stadium of Light!

It was a wonderful ball over the top out of the middle of the park from Josh Martin that sent Griffiths scarpering away clear and he finished superbly with a low driven effort from 18 yards.

15min Better

As I was saying.... Rovers have enjoyed a good couple of minutes with dangerous passes played into good areas, particularly from Tommy Rowe. They are trying to get Reo Griffiths in the game on the left and having a bit of success.

11min Not having a kick

It has been all Sunderland so far. And when I say all Sunderland, I mean that Rovers haven’t seen the ball outside their own half. Sustained possession has been non-existent. It’s just been rushed clearances and poor passes.

3min First save

Jonathan Mitchell is called into action early. A direct ball into the box is met by Ro-Shaun Williams , who can only head straight into the air. Ross Stewart meets the ball free but cannot get enough power behind his header and it’s an easy take for Mitchell.

3.01pm Underway


The team is in


And it is FOUR changes from the side that started Tuesday’s defeat to Rotherham United.

Reo Griffiths and Ben Jackson are both in for their full debuts for Rovers this afternoon with Josh Martin and Ro-Shaun Williams also coming into the side.

Kyle Knoyle drops to the bench having struggled with illness while Branden Horton misses out entirely. Joe Dodoo and Adam Clayton also drop out of the side.

Ethan Galbraith also misses out entirely.

We understand Ollie Younger will play at right back against his former club.

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