Match report: Cheltenham Town 0 Doncaster Rovers 1
Doncaster Rovers earned back-to-back wins for the first time in more than eight months as a second goal in two games from John Marquis saw them beat Cheltenham Town.
Marquis produced a cool finish after 53 minutes which proved enough for Rovers to end their run of away games without victory at 11.
It was largely deserved after they dominated the first half hour of the game, competed well in difficult conditions and defended well after taking the lead.
Rovers started the game much the better, pressing high up the pitch and forcing errors in the Cheltenham defence as the rain poured down at Whaddon Road.
The intensity of their play was impressive, seeing them quicker to every loose ball and ensured they remained largely on the front foot for much of the first half hour of the game.
As they latched onto rushed clearances, they worked the ball well into the feet of strikers John Marquis and Andy Williams, with an all-action midfield four finding plenty of space.
But, as has proved to be a trend so far this season, good build-up play failed to produce clear cut chances.
The first opportunity came as James Coppinger latched onto a poor clearance and fed Williams whose shot on the turn was tame for Cheltenham keeper Russell Griffiths to handle.
Williams was on the end of their best opportunity of the half. Good pressing saw the ball run through to the Rovers striker who shot for the far post, drawing a fine shot from Griffiths who tipped wide.
Tommy Rowe smashed the ball across goal and it took a sliding block from Daniel Parslow to take the ball away from danger.
Marquis should have done much better after carrying the ball 20 yards into the box only to fire well wide from a good position.
Cheltenham fired a warning shot just after the half hour mark with a rapid break. Harry Pell sent a superb pass out to James Drayton who cut inside and curled a left-footed effort just wide from the corner of the box.
The game began to even out and Cheltenham began to find possession in the Rovers half.
And they had the best opportunity of the opening period four minutes from half time.
Another good through ball sliced Rovers open, giving Billy Waters clear sight of goal only for Marko Marosi to produce a superb one-handed stop to keep out the powerful drive.
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Cheltenham started the second half the brighter with a driving rain at their backs.
But it was Rovers who opened the scoring, eight minutes in.
Coppinger fed Marquis on the edge of the box with the striker darting into space before a composed finish into the bottom corner.
Cheltenham enjoyed the better of the attacking play after the goal but Rovers defended resolutely, denying the hosts clear cut chances.
Koby Arthur twisted and turned into space but fired high and wide.
Rovers threatened on the break and it took a fine block from Daniel O'Shaugnessy to keep out a rasping drive from Rowe from the left corner of the box following Matty Blair's smart cutback.
Substitute James Jennings smashed a low shot at the near post which Marosi got down to claim. And Jennings flicked a header on goal deep into injury time but Marosi snatched with ease.
Rovers really should have doubled their lead deep into injury time.
Griffiths went up the field for an O'Shaugnessy long throw and Rovers broke through substitute Liam Mandeville. But as the youngster looked to roll a ball through to Marquis, he put far too much on his pass and the chance was gone.
But Rovers had done enough for the win.
Cheltenham: Griffiths, Suliman (Hall 51), Parslow, O'Shaughnessy, Cranston, Waters, Whitehead (Jennings 63), Pell, Drayton, Wright, Arthur (Smith 75). Subs not used: Kitscha, J Rowe, Lymn, Barthram
Rovers: Marosi, Lund, Wright, Butler, Evina, Blair (Mandeville 80), Coppinger (Middleton 87), Houghton, T Rowe, Marquis, Williams. Subs not used: Etheridge, Amos, Pugh, Fielding, Calder.
Referee: Mark Heywood (West Yorkshire)
Attendance: 2,923 (367 away)