Story of the game as Doncaster Rovers secure morale-boosting win over Shrewsbury Town
Join us for the last game under the Keepmoat Stadium banner as Rovers look to claw back some of the deficit to one of the side’s sitting just outside the relegation zone.
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LIVE: Doncaster Rovers 1 Shrewsbury Town 0
ROVERS: Jones; Knoyle, Anderson, Olowu, Horton; Galbraith, Smith; Hasani (Barlow 62), Rowe, Hiwula; Dodoo. Subs: Dahlberg, Blythe, Ravenhill, Williams, Kuleya, Cukur.
SHREWSBURY: Marosi; Pennington, Leahy, Nurse; Daniels, Bennett, Vela, Ogbeta; Boxham, Udoh, Pyke. Subs: Burgoyne, Cosgrove, Caton, Leshabela, Wilson, Kaninda, Craig.
REFEREE: Chris Pollard
A huge, huge win
For the first time in eight attempts, Rovers have picked up a league win, lifting them off the foot of the table and taking them three points from safety.
And on the balance of play you have to say that it was deserved.
They were the better side in the first half when only poor finishing let them down.
And they battled through tough periods after the break to threaten on the counter and then take their golden chance when it counted the most.
They fought well all afternoon and played with real confidence. The quality wasn’t always there but the spirit and endeavour cannot be denied.
4.51pm ALL OVER
4.48pm ADDED TIME
Hold onto your butts
87min Managing it well
Rovers are doing a really good job keep the ball in the opposition half. Hopefully they can hold onto this.
Liam Ravenhill replaces Matt Smith
79min GGGGGOGOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!! ROVERS!!!
Joseph Olowu heads Rovers in front!
Branden Horton drilled a corner in and Olowu powered to the ball to head home from close range.
A potentially huge goal.
78min Huge moment
Nathaneal Ogbeta got free on the left and beat Aidan Barlow before drilling the ball across the face of goal, with it drifting agonisingly past the far post.
75min Yellow card
Josh Vela, Shrewbury Town
74min Superb save
Louis Jones just produced an outstanding reflex stop to keep the score level. A mix-up between Anderson and Olowu allowed Daniel Udoh in and he attempted to head beyond the Rovers keeper only for Jones to stick out a hand.
63min Got to do better
Rovers broke superbly from half way with Aidan Barlow carrying the ball well. Jordy Hiwula made an excellent run in space down the left but Barlow went down a blind alley and was blocked out. Decision-making was awful.
Aidan Barlow replaces Lirak Hasani
61min Big save
Louis Jones gets down superbly to keep out Matthew Pennington’s header on the line.
Nathanael Ogbeta heads into the sidenetting for Shrewsbury.
Aidan Barlow is coming on for Rovers.
58min Almost calamity
Branden Horton appears well to hook a clearance away but sends it straight into Lirak Hasani, who is winded by the strike.
Hasani recovers well to head away the resultant corner moments later
4.03pm Back underway
Jordy Hiwula takes the kick-off and the second half is up and running
It’s been pretty good from Rovers and, but for better finishing, they ought to be ahead in this one.
They’ve played some good stuff in the opposition half, been positive in their play and had the better of the attacking play.
The chance creation work has been decent but, yet again, it is in the final effort where Rovers have been let down.
What it has been is a positive performance and they are in a good position to win this game.
But they need better in front of goal.
3.48pm That’s the break
And it’s goalless at half time
3.44pm Added time
37min Yellow card
Branden Horton, Doncaster Rovers
30min Good move
Tommy Rowe curled a wonderful ball into the box, looking for the on-rushing Joe Dodoo and forcing Matthew Pennington to slide in and put it out for a corner.
28min More good work
Rovers’ play around the box and has been really good so far, with the final effort just letting them down. Joe Dodoo was played into space just inside the box but saw his shot closed down and blocked out.
Joe Dodoo rose from a corner and headed wide.
24min Big chance
Matt Smith hooked a wonderful ball over the top of the Shrewsbury defence for Tommy Rowe to latch onto but his half volley was pushed over the bar.
19min Some decent stuff
Rovers have worked the ball well and shown a bit of patience to pick their spots. The movement has been very good in the opposition half to ensure there have always been options on.
Both Lirak Hasani and Joe Dodoo scuffed shots from decent positions within the same attack.
14min Got to score
Jordy Hiwula really should have put Rovers ahead.
He was played clean through by an eye-of-the-needle pass and looked to slot it beyond former Rovers keeper Marko Marosi, which he managed, only for Luke Leahy to block on the line.
9min Well wide
A decent attack from Rovers saw Branden Horton released into space on the left. He cut a low ball into the box which was touched out to Ethan Galbraith, who sliced a shot well wide from the edge of the box.
Shrewsbury put the ball into the box from a throw in and it fell to Tom Bloxham who drilled a low effort past the far post from a tight angle.
Shrewsbury’s Elliott Bennett takes the kick-off and we’re up and running
The team is in
And it’s three changes from the side that started the defeat against Oxford on Tuesday night.
Out go Ben Blythe, Aidan Barlow and Tiago Cukur, who all drop to the bench.
In come Joseph Olowu - back from suspension - Jordy Hiwula and Joe Dodoo.
Given the impact both Hiwula and Dodoo made in a changed shape in the second half on Tuesday, it’s no surprise to see them back in from the start. Hopefully both can kick on, particularly in front of goal.
Omar Bogle is not in the squad this afternoon.
And the visitors
The Keepmoat’s last stand
Today marks the end of an era - the final game to be played at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The next time Rovers run out at their home, it will have a new name, ending 15 years of being known as the Keepmoat.
Don’t know about you, but it’ll take some getting used to.
Hopefully the name will get a good send-off.
Rovers caretaker manager Gary McSheffrey: “It’s three points still. Obviously it’s a big game but a huge game and a not so huge game, they’re still worth the same.
“We’re going into the game to get the win, that’s for sure.
“They’ve got some threats. They’re quite a rigid team that can mix it up well.
“They score goals and they’re hard to score against. They sit in a three or sometimes a five and they’re workmanlike in midfield. They’ve got pace at left wing back so they’ve got their threats definitely.
“But we’ve got ours as well and I think it will be a good game, and one that we’re confident of being successful in.”
We spoke to the Shropshire Star’s Lewis Cox for the inside line on today’s opponents. Click HERE to view.
Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill: “[Thursday] was the first time we’ve looked at them and it’s very difficult because they’ve obviously changed manager.
“You’ll try and see if there are too many differences; I’d probably know what they’d do if Richie Wellens was in charge because I’d have seen more of them.
“That’s changed slightly, we looked at them in detail yesterday and we’ll follow that up.
“Going to Carlisle, coming back, going to Wigan, coming back, going to Doncaster, you can’t prepare for that.
“It’s not an ideal week for us with regards to all of that, we’ll prepare the best we can. There’s not a lot more we can do.”
All big - but this is bigger
The stakes are incredibly high this afternoon as Rovers host a relegation rival in what is as close to a must-win game as you get in December.
Win and Rovers claw back ground on a side sitting just outside the drop zone who are currently six points above them.
Lose and fall nine points behind a rival with the situation looking ever more grim.
Rovers have been fortunate not to be cut adrift in the relegation zone after the run of form they have been on, particularly in a division where four teams go down.
But they cannot afford to keep relying on other teams slipping up to keep them in a position from which they can mount a survival push.