Doncaster Rovers 1 Notts County 3: Macaulay Langstaff nets brace as Magpies sink Rovers
Macaulay Langstaff netted a brace before Jodi Jones piled misery on the hosts by adding a third. Grant McCann’s side pulled one back late on through Deji Sotona but it was merely a consolation and Rovers were booed by their own supporters following an underwhelming display.
The early stages of the first-half lacked quality, with neither side showing promotion credentials. Hopeful punts and flick-ons proved fruitless for Doncaster, who struggled to retain possession and create chances.
Notts County did start to find rhythm as the half progressed but were given a brief scare by the hosts. Tyler Roberts escaped Sam Austin with a some deft footwork only to miscue his shot at close-range.
The deadlock was eventually broken by Langstaff, who opened his EFL account having previously proven himself as a lethal finisher in the National League.
Former Doncaster midfielder John Bostock delivered a teasing cross from the left that Langstaff met and volleyed home.
Notts County appeared buoyed by the opener and there was a noticeable increase in the tempo of their play as the half-time whistle approached.
Joseph Olowu had to be alert to hook a Sam Austin cross away from goal with attackers lurking as Luke Williams’ men hunted a second.
Hopes of a second-half Doncaster resurgence were dampened almost immediately after the restart, when an unmarked Langstaff headed past Ian Lawlor at close-range.
Notts County added a third shortly after, when the ball fell to Jones after Lawlor failed to collect a cross he came for. The goalkeeper had returned to his line by the time Jones pulled the trigger, but the Magpies winger still managed to drill into the bottom corner.
Langstaff’s goals did not quell desire to press and harass Doncaster, who found the lively forward difficult to handle throughout.
He almost completed his hat-trick when David McGoldrick sent a cross towards the back post, but arrived a second too late for a clean connection on the ball.
The rest of the game was managed professionally by Notts County, who sprayed the ball around comfortably as Doncaster tired. An opportunity did fall to Joe Ironside following a Magpies mix-up but his scuffed effort was collected gratefully by a retreating Aidan Stone.
Doncaster eventually found a consolation deep into added time, when substitute Sotona’s low strike beat Stone.