If derby games are all about ‘wanting it’ more than the opposition, there could be few arguments about the three points taken by Doncaster Rovers against Sheffield Wednesday today.
Few bottom half of the table duels would throw up two teams on such decent runs of form.
Rovers were looking to improve upon a three-match unbeaten run and put more daylight between themselves and the bottom three.
For the Owls, there was a hope they could continue to look up after making almost certain their Championship survival.
Hanging over the contest was the opportunity for Rovers to secure their first league double of the season, having won at Hillsborough back in September - their solitary away triumph.
Over the first quarter of the game, it looked unlikely that would occur as the Owls started in particularly bright fashion.
Wednesday picked up from where they left off against Queens Park Rangers in midweek with a high energy pressing game, ensuring a breathless opening period
But the first chance of any real note saw Sharp collect the ball on the edge of the box and fire on goal with a deflection sending it just wide.
Onyewu robbed the ball from Husband inside the Wednesday box as the full back was preparing to shoot.
Wednesday continued to have the better of the play but clear-cut chances proved hard to come by.
Johnstone fluffed a catch from an Onyewu long throw but made an excellent stop on the floor when Buxton lashed a shot from the rebound. Maguire’s follow-up was also blocked.
Best missed the most gilt-edged of chances on 20 minutes. A persistent run from Helan saw him charge clear and cross from the left with Best ghosting in unmarked but he somehow missed from six yards.
It took a fine save from Kirkland to keep out Coppinger as Rovers began to force their way into the game.
A smart free kick was played across the face of the box by Cotterill and Coppinger appeared and lashed a shot on goal with Kirkland collecting at the second attempt.
Rovers took the lead on 32 minutes. Sharp took advantage of slack marking to dart into the area and unleash a shot which was parried by Kirkland but straight into the feet of BROWN who tapped into an empty net.
The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Wednesday, whose intensity and workrate quickly waned with Rovers becoming the side in control.
overs seemed happy to sit back and allow Wednesday to come on to them as the second half opened but the zip of the Owls play was still absent.
Hutchinson was thrown on for Gray’s men in place of Lavery whose first game after signing a new deal ended in disappointing fashion.
It did take a stunning save from Johnstone on 57 minutes to keep the scores level, however.
Maguire picked up the ball up on the left corner of the box and lashed a shot towards the far corner only for Johnstone to produce a sublime one-handed stop to keep him out.
Rovers had the ball in the ball in the back of the net again on 58 minutes through Sharp but he was given offside.
Gray sent on Afobe in place of Nuhiu as he looked to add pace to the Wednesday front line.
But the next chance came for Rovers, producing a stunning save from Kirkland. Cotterill sent in an inswinging free kick, Sharp darted clear and flicked a header on goal with Kirkland palming it away from point-blank range.
Though they positioned themselves on the back foot, Rovers worked incredibly hard to deny Wednesday space to operate, leaving chances few and far between.
When Rovers did attack, they threatened and forced the Owls to concede a number of free kicks in dangerous areas.
As the game entered added time, Cotterill curled a free kick from the edge of the area that seemed destined for the top corner until Kirkland appeared again to tip wide.
Rovers secure a sweet win double but more importantly took a major step closer to making sure of their Championship status for another year.
It was a much deserved win in sheer effort terms as they survived a tough opening quarter of the game to take control.