Match report: Doncaster Rovers 0 Blackpool 1

Doncaster Rovers
Doncaster Rovers

Rovers suffered late heartbreak as they were dumped deep into the relegation mire by fellow strugglers Blackpool.

Mark Cullen's scrappy goal three minutes from time was enough to earn a slender win for Blackpool but a massive one in the context of the League One relegation fight.

Defeat for Rovers leaves them four points from safety with the two sides immediately above them also holding games in hand. They have lost seven consecutive matches and taken just a single point from the last 36 available.

Cullen's late goal was a knife to the heart of Rovers who had battled valiantly in what was a poor quality affair.

Blackpool enjoyed the better of the chances throughout but had settled onto the back foot in the second half, allowing Rovers to come forward.

But for their valour, Darren Ferguson's men were severely lacking in invention. Barring a goalmouth scramble before the break and a Tommy Rowe shot which came back off the underside of the bar they struggled to really trouble their lowly visitors.

Blackpool looked particularly dangerous on the break, catching Rovers flat-footed on numerous occasions through the first half.

The visitors had the game's first chance when Cullen was gifted the freedom of the Rovers box but scuffed a volley tamely at Remi Matthews.

And from a free kick, Clark Robertson headed narrowly wide at the far post after Jim McAlister's delivery was flicked on.

Rovers began to wrestle their way into the game and Harry Middleton volleyed just wide after Williams' centre was headed out only as far as the edge of the box.

Blackpool really should have been in front on 20 minutes. Danny Philliskirk was sprung clear and attempted to flick the ball under Matthews only to see his effort saved.

Rovers looked most dangerous from set pieces, reacting well to the second ball.

Tommy Rowe headed wide from a corner, while James Coppinger saw a rasping low drive deflected wide.

David Norris threw himself in front of a Gary McSheffrey shot as Rovers enjoyed a decent period midway through the half.

But the Tangerines were a constant threat on the counterattack only to lack a ruthless touch in the final third.

Cullen fired low on a breakaway but was well-denied by Andy Williams showed excellent determination to win the ball 30 yards and power forward but his low curling effort went just wide of the far post.

Rovers' best chance came just before the break in an almighty goalmouth scramble. Craig Alcock looked to have had the best chance to turn the ball in but Blackpool eventually managed to clear.

The visitors should have again opened the scoring on the stroke of half time, and from another breakaway.

From the goalmouth scramble they surged up the pitch with Cullen sent in one-on-one with Matthews. Cullen went for power over placement and smashed a shot which the on-rushing Matthews gratefully parried away.

Rovers started the second half the better with Blackpool seemingly happy to sit deep.

McSheffrey sent in a dangerous free kick which Doyle needed to punch away at the back post. And the new loan signing went close again, cutting back onto his right foot on the left and drilling for the near post.

A moment of real calamity almost gave the visitors the lead.

Matthews tamely punched away a corner and the ball fell to Norris who looped a head back over the keeper which looked destined to drop in only for Alcock to hook off the line.

Rovers could hardly have gone closer as the game moved into the last 15 minutes. Tommy Rowe collected the ball and darted across the face of the box before smashing a shot which rattled back off the underside of the bar.

When it appeared as though the game was meandering to a goalless draw, Blackpool found the hammerblow.

Cullen, again in a dangerous position, lashed a shot. Andy Butler threw himself in front of the effort but sent the ball looping up and over Matthews to drop into the corner.

Rovers: Matthews, Lund, Alcock, Butler, Taylor-Sinclair, Calder (Stewart 71), Coppinger, Middleton, Rowe, McSheffrey (Tyson 71), Williams. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Evina, Chaplow, Mandeville, Longbottom.

Blackpool: Doyle, White, Aldred, Robertson, Higham, Philliskirk, Norris (Smith 84), Potts, McAlister (Osayi-Samuel 66), Blyth (Paterson 80), Cullen. Subs not used: Letheren, Ferguson, Aimson, Yeates.

Referee: Keith Hill (Hertfordshire)

Attendance: 5,575 (407)