Millwall 2 Doncaster Rovers 0

Rovera James Coppinger has shot at goal
Rovera James Coppinger has shot at goal

What a dismal night for Doncaster. An awful evening in the capital.

Darren Ferguson’s side were undone by a deadly Steve Morison double.

And in truth misfiring Rovers could have lost by plenty more. Wales international Morison could have easily bagged a hat-trick as Rovers missed the chance to climb out of the relegation zone.

Four crazy minutes at the start of the first half typified how much the visitors were all at sea. Not that Morison was complaining as he took advantage of some poor defending to bag his fourth and fifth goals of the season in the fifth and eighth minutes respectively.

And although Ferguson’s charges did create some chances it was the Lions who created many more as claimed their first home league win over Rovers since November 2011.

Defeat for Rovers was their third in their last four league outings and fourth defeat in five matches all competitions.

They have still not beaten Millwall away since a 3-0 win back in February 2008.

Ferguson admitted prior to The New Den he has yet to find the right formation for his new club.

He started with a 4-4-2 formation in Saturday’s 4-0 thumping at the hands of his former club Peterborough United, before opting for a 3-5-2 set-up in the second half of that forgettable clash at London Road

And for the trip to The New Den he started with that 3-5-2 formation.

However it backfired in spectacular fashion with the hosts gifted two goals inside the opening eight minutes.

Rovers had been given a warning in the fifth minute when Morison curled a right-foot shot just over the bar after centre-back Luke McCulloch had been carelessly dispossessed.

Less than 30 seconds later, though, and Ferguson’s team were behind.

A defensive mix-up saw keeper Thorsten Stuckmann caught short and Morison clipped the ball into the empty net for his first goal in just over a month.

And three minutes later the on-song striker netted his second goal of the game.

Rovers conceded a soft free-kick on the left edge of their own penalty area and Shane Ferguson picked out Morison with a pinpoint left-foot cross.

Morison steadied himself and rifled into the bottom left-hand corner to leave the visitors with plenty to do.

Andy Butler headed over from a Nathan Tyson cross as Rovers came close to reducing their arrears and skipper James Coppinger had a left-foot shot deflected wide.

But the Lions should have been 3-0 up when Stuckmann first denied Lee Gregory from close range – after more poor defending – and Morrison somehow missed an open net from Gregory’s cross.

Morison headed over from a Joe Martin cross as another chance for a hat-trick went begging and also shot wide from close range.

Aiden O’Brien had a right-foot shot deflected wide as the hosts edged ever closer to killing the fixture off, but Coppinger header narrowly over on the stroke of half-time to show Rovers still had fight in them.

Rovers most probably had a rocketing from boss Ferguson at the break and, if that was the case, it did spring them into life.

Six minutes after the restart Tyson headed just wide as the visitors went in search of reducing their arrears.

But no sooner had they thought they might put the Lions under pressure, the hosts broke on the counter-attack and Morison was denied a hat-trick because of a wonderful fingertip save from Stuckmann.

The alert German shot-stopper did superbly to tip Morison’s goalbound header wide of his left post.

Ferguson shuffled his pack with Harry Forrester and Dany N’Guessan introduced to liven up proceedings, but Rovers lacked creativity and a killer-instinct up front.

But Rovers, to their credit, kept going and sub Williams lashed just wide with a thunderbolt shot.

However, the damage had been done and it was the Lions who deservedly took maximum points.

Victory for Neil Harris’ in-form team saw them stretch their unbeaten run to four matches in the league and five matches across all formats.

MILLWALL (4-4-2): Archer; Martin, Beevers, Craig, Edwards; Ferguson (Webster 90+2), Saville, Thompson, O’Brien (Martin 87); Morison, Gregory (Onyedinma 69).

Subs: Forde, Cummings, Powell, Pavey.

BOOKED: Craig, Thompson, Beevers, Martin.

DONCASTER (3-5-2): Stuckmann; Taylor-Sinclair, Butler, McCullough; Evina, Middleton, Wellens (Forrester 53), Coppinger, Lund (Williams 77); Stewart (N’Guessan 56), Tyson.

Subs: Marosi, Gobern, Keegan, Whitehouse.


REF: Charles Breakspear (Surrey)