Match report: Doncaster Rovers 0 Scunthorpe United 1

Rovers' five match unbeaten run was brought to an end with a poor display in the Boxing Day derby with Scunthorpe United.

Saturday, 26th December 2015, 3:55 pm
Cedric Evina shoots for Rovers

Rovers were poor, lacking the energy and composure they had shown in recent weeks, particularly in a very disappointing first half.

Paddy Madden's close range finish on 20 minutes was enough to separate the sides.

Paddy Madden puts Scunthorpe ahead against Rovers

Scunthorpe pressed particularly well, forcing mistakes but the hosts were largely to blame for their own shortcomings.

Passes regularly went astray, and there was no real pace about their play - all the more disappointing after the recent performances.

The visitors had the first attempt on goal when Madden fired first time from the corner of the box but the shot was straight at Thorsten Stuckmann.

Nathan Tyson produced a brilliant mazy run to take himself into the box only for a heavy touch to give keeper Luke Daniels chance to clear.

It needed a vital stooping header from Craig Alcock to prevent Madden from tapping in a dangerous cross at the back post on 19 minutes.

But from the subsequent corner, Scunthorpe took the lead.

Luke Williams' cross evaded everyone, allowing Madden to dart in at the far post and turn in from close range.

Cedric Evina embarked on a one-man mission to draw Rovers level, holding off two challenges to power into the box only to fire into the sidenetting.

Scunthorpe could easily have doubled their advantage after another Rovers error. Harry Middleton gave the ball away allowing the visitors to attack. Stephen Dawson scuffed his shot from the edge of the box and Tommy Rowe did the same with his follow up.

Rovers' best opportunity of the first half came from a well-worked corner routine. James Coppinger played it low to the near post and Tyson sprinted to meet it only for his first time strike to fly into the side netting.

They did manage to test Daniels before the break. Evina sent a pass across the face of the box to Conor Grant who fired first time but the shot was tame and easily saved.

Paul Keegan replaced Middleton at the break and Rovers initially emerged with a greater amount of energy, though the quality was still lacking.

Scunthorpe had the ball in the net for a second time after Madden raced clear but he was pulled back for offside.

Cameron Stewart came off the bench for Mitchell Lund, with Rovers switching to 4-4-2 for the second game running.

Rovers did begin to enjoy more of the ball but clear sights of goal were hard to come by.

Tyson drilled in a low cross, Andy Williams got in ahead of his man but his contact with the ball was poor and the chance was gone.

On 71 minutes, Evina went for goal from a tight angle with a rasping drive but it flew past the far post.

Their best effort came from a piece of brilliance from Coppinger. He chested Evina's lay-off, turned and volleyed in one swift movement with Daniels required to go full stretch to tip it wide.

Dany N'Guessan went close shortly after coming off the bench, powering forward and clipping a shot just wide from the edge of the box.

Rovers tried to turn up the heat in the dying moments. Niall Canavan was in the right place at the right time to block when Williams attempted to volley home from 12 yards.

And Stewart could hardly have gone closer in injury time when he curled a superb shot from the edge of the box only to see it rattle the bar.

In the end there was only disappointment with only the second defeat in 11 matches for Darren Ferguson's men.

Rovers: Stuckmann, Alcock, Butler, Taylor-Sinclair, Lund (Stewart 53), Coppinger, Middleton (Keegan 45), Grant, Evina, Williams, Tyson (N'Guessan 76). Subs not used: Marosi, Middleton, Chaplow, Mandeville.

Scunthorpe: Daniels, Clarke, Mirfin (Goode 69), Canavan, Laird, King, Dawson (Ness 62), Bishop, Madden, Williams, Rowe. Subs not used: Anyon, Wiseman, van Veen, Henderson, Wootton.

Referee: Stuart Atwell (Warwickshire)

Attendance: 8,744 (1,238 away)