Doncaster Rovers 2-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • February 11, 2020 | By Chris Mann
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Doncaster Rovers' push towards the League One play-offs continued as they beat Bolton 2-1 at the Keepmoat Stadium.

After six months of off-field banter between rival supporters, it was the Rovers faithful who were grinning at the full-time whistle after goals in each half from Fejiri Okenabirhie and Niall Ennis moved Darren Moore's side to within two points of sixth place.

Joe Dodoo capitalised on some shocking defending to reduce the deficit shortly before the hour but Wanderers never looked likely to find an equaliser, leaving them facing a journey back over the Pennines without so much as a point.

With Saturday's defeat at Coventry City consigned to the history books, Wanderers boss Keith Hill made two changes to his side as Jack Hobbs and Joe Dodoo returned in place of Toto Nsiala and Dennis Politic.

Only six players were named as substitutes for the visitors and with social media pictures prior to kick-off showing Politic's shirt hanging in the dressing room, one would suspect the Romanian suffered a late injury before being withdrawn.

Doncaster began brightly and were unfortunate to find Hobbs in the way of a goalbound attempt from James Coppinger inside two minutes, moments before Ben Whiteman's half volley from the edge of the box found a way through a pack of bodies before rolling into the arms of Remi Matthews.

Brandon Fleming lashed a shot over the crossbar as the visitors burst forward for the first time on seven minutes, although Rovers were soon back on the front foot as Kieran Sadlier's cross from the right was headed straight at Matthews by Okenabirhie.

Ethan Hamilton fired into the midriff of Ben Sheaf, before a bending effort from Sadlier narrowly evaded the crossbar at the other end.

Hamilton came even closer for Bolton on the half-hour, as Daryl Murphy allowed a pass from Dodoo to run through to the on-loan Manchester United midfielder, whose low strike rolled inches wide of Seny Dieng's left-hand post.

Dieng was called into action for the first time moments later, denying Chris O'Grady from the edge of the box, while both Coppinger and Sheaf came close for the hosts in the immediate aftermath of that chance.

Okenabirhie was denied by a last ditch challenge from Kean Bryan on 39 minutes but he did have the ball in the net a little over 60 seconds later, latching on to a threaded pass from Reece James before slotting first time into the corner beyond Matthews.

He should have doubled the advantage in added time at the end of the first half, only to somehow shoot wide from 12 yards whilst on the turn.

Both managers opted to remain with the same players as they returned for the second half, which began with O'Grady forcing Dieng into a low save within 90 seconds of the restart.

The full effect of Storm Ciara was being felt throughout the evening and the wind was well and truly knocked out of the Wanderers players two minutes later as Doncaster doubled their advantage - Ennis finding himself unmarked at the far post to nod a header from a Coppinger cross into the net from close range.

Fleming ran on to a pass from Dodoo before firing over from the next attack, while both Okenabirhie and Coppinger failed to add to Rovers' lead at the other end.

Bolton were handed a route back into the game on 57 minutes, though, as Luke Murphy's persistence resulted in him dispossessing Dieng in the six-yard box, allowing Dodoo to tap into the unguarded goal to make it 2-1.

Okenabirhie was denied a certain goal by an outstanding Bryan challenge just after the hour, before O'Grady's flick from a Fleming corner just wouldn't quite fall kindly enough for Daryl Murphy to prod home an equaliser at the opposite end of the field.

Dieng made a comfortable claim from an acrobatic Hamilton attempt midway through the second period, moments before Daryl Murphy saw a shot charged down when others were perhaps better placed to get the visitors back on level terms.

Coppinger and Luke Murphy were off target at either end as the clock began to run down, while the final chance of the evening ended with Ennis rolling a strike narrowly wide of Matthews' far post.

Defeat for Bolton means they remain rooted to the foot of the League One table, 18 points from safety with only 16 games left to play. They return to action on Saturday, when Wycombe Wanderers are the visitors to the University of Bolton Stadium.

Doncaster Rovers: Dieng, Halliday, Wright, Anderson, James (John 45+2), Whiteman, Sheaf, Sadlier, Coppinger (Ramsey 86), Ennis, Okenabirhie (Cole 72)
Subs Not Used: Jones, Taylor, Blair, Watters
Booked: Ennis, Halliday
Goals: Okenabirhie 40, Ennis 48

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Fleming, Bryan (Delaney 85), Hobbs (Mellis 59), Emmanuel, Lowe, L Murphy, Hamilton, Dodoo, O'Grady, D Murphy
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Bunney, Faal, Graham
Goals: Dodoo 57

Referee: Christopher Sarginson
Attendance: 7,097

Football betting site Betway

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 34 36
20 AFC Wimbledon 35 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
View Full Standings >>


Who is Bolton's 2018/19 Player of the Year?
34.62% Gary O'Neil
19.38% David Wheater
18.92% Pawel Olkowski
9.27% Joe Williams
5.33% Jason Lowe
4.13% Sammy Ameobi
2.85% Josh Magennis
2.75% Mark Beevers
1.19% Jack Hobbs
1.01% Ben Alnwick
0.28% Andrew Taylor
0.28% Craig Noone