Doncaster Rovers 1 Grimsby Town 0: Ferguson delighted with scrappy win

Matchwinner Liam Mandeville carried on from the fine form that won him the EFL Young Player of the Month award for November

Matchwinner Liam Mandeville carried on from the fine form that won him the EFL Young Player of the Month award for November

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DONCASTER Rovers' last home game of the year brought a lunchtime kick-off victory which took them back to the top of the league.

A third-minute goal from the Football League's young player of the month Liam Mandeville settled the issue in front of the Keepmoat Stadium's first five-figure crowd of the season.

It was a generally scrappy affair with Rovers only getting their passing game together in spasms, though the three points were all that mattered.

"Those are the games you need to win - the ones where you scrap, fight, battle," Ferguson said.

"Our record in derbies last season was really poor and in many ways that was more rewarding today than the last two games when we were very good on the ball.

"Grimsby have got two long throws, they put the ball in the box, there were one or two hairy moments - especially the one right at the death - but you need that wee bit of luck.

"I thought we deserved to win the game for all the elements we showed in our performance."

Both sides had to make late injury-enforced changes with Rovers right-back Craig Alcock replaced by Harry Middleton and the Mariners, more importantly, perhaps, losing 16-goal top scorer Omar Bogle with a thigh problem and who was replaced by Scott Vernon.

Andy Williams also returned from injury to spearhead the Rovers attack as James Coppinger began a three-match ban. Williams and John Marquis were up against Grimsby central defenders Shaun Pearson, who replaced Josh Gowling, and Danny Collins.

It was Mandeville who gave Rovers an ideal start, curling a 29-yard free-kick inside James McKeown's right-hand post after Pearson had blocked a run down the middle by Marquis.Grimsby's first opportunity did not come until midway through the half when Collins glanced a header wide of the far post from Danny Andrew's free-kick.

Jackson then got the better of Andy Butler down the right but Matty Blair, operating at right-back, did well to clear as James Berrett raced in.

Williams had to have his nose plugged after taking a knock but quickly returned to the fray to help Rovers get back on the front foot up until just before the break when Butler was booked for a trip on Kayden Jackson, Luke Summerfield mis-hit the free-kick into the path of Tom Bolarinwa, whose shot was deflected for an unproductive corner.

Neither side made a change at the break and Bolarinwa almost broke through for Grimsby before being crowded out by a possee of Rovers defenders and goalkeeper Marko Marosi.

Bayed on by a 4,000 following, Grimsby pressed and Mathieu Baudry cleared from inside his six-yard area but play was generally disjointed.

Pearson was booked for a foul on Williams, who was replaced by Ricardo Calder in the 72nd minute.

Three minutes later and McKeown went full length to his left to keep out a curling 26-yard free-kick from Mandeville.

Grimsby made a switch with Shaun Tuton replacing Jackson up front before Dan Jones came on for Pearson.

Marquis headed off target from Middleton's fierce free-kick and Collins was booked for a foul as Rowe threatened to break through from midfield.

Joe Wright was a late replacement for Middleton as Rovers kept the Mariners at bay, though they went close to converting Danny Andrew's stoppage-time cross from the left.

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