Doncaster Rovers 7 Chorley 0 - Alfie May hits four as Rovers run riot

ACCORDING to the traditional children's nursery rhyme about magpies, it is a case of 'one for sorrow and two for joy.'

Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCann, who saw his side turn on the FA Cup style against Chorley.
Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCann, who saw his side turn on the FA Cup style against Chorley.

That maxim emphatically rings true as far as Doncaster Rovers are concerned following an evening when they threatened to run up a cricket score.

Six days on from being eliminated from the Checkatrade Trophy by the Magpies of Notts County, Grant McCann's side comprehensively avoided anything resembling another cup knock-out to a lower-division side boasting that very same nickname in poor Chorley.

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Sixty-six places separate sixth-tier Chorley - in second place in National League North behind Bradford Park Avenue - and League One play-offs hopefuls Rovers, but the egalitarian nature of the world's most enchanting domestic cup competition was most definitely absent last night.

The Lancastrians may have caused plenty of problems in a 2-2 draw across the Pennines ten days ago, but this was a completely different story.

It saw Rovers record their biggest win since October 1999 when they walloped Crook Town 7-0 in a similarly one-sided FA Cup affair.

As on that autumnal evening, a Rovers striker helped himself to four goals, with Alfie May equalling the feats of Glenn Kirkwood just over 19 years ago.

May took his season's tally to nine goals this season, despite only starting six games, with, incredibly, none of his strikes having yet arrived in the league.

The only sour point to the evening saw home defender Tom Anderson dismissed for two bookable offences, but otherwise it was sheer torment for Chorley.

Managed by a Warrington-based primary school headteacher in Jamie Vermiglio, the Magpies were handed a stark footballing lesson during a torrid first half in which Rovers' movement, speed of thought and slick passing picked holes in their rearguard almost at will.

Vermiglio watched on helplessly from the touchline with his arms folded as his bewildered team capitulated, while his counterpart Grant McCann will have been wishing to see just how ruthless his side could be.

His rampant Rovers side displayed plenty of evidence of that in a first-half which saw them plunder five unanswered goals, although in truth it could - and perhaps should - have been several more.

The chief beneficiary was May, who feasted on Chorley's stricken defence to plunder a hat-trick inside half-an-hour and then help himself to another goal nine minutes from time.

The gulf in class was a chasm, although Chorley's decision to persist with two strikers up front and not support a midfield and defence which was simply besieged in the first half was reprehensible.

Rovers were in no mood to pass up such naivety, with the likes of Herbie Kane and Ben Whiteman enjoying themselves immensely, with the only surprise in a completely dominant half being that top-scorer Marquis was not among the scorers.

Marquis finally had his moment late on with a fine curler to complete the scoring, but his celebrations were somewhat muted - with the striker earlier seeing a penalty saved by Matt Urwin after being brought down by the Chorley custodian.

Along Marquis's strike, the pick of the bunch was a fine finish from the masterful Kane to make it 3-0 inside the opening thirty minutes.

Fresh from his wonderful long-ranger to bail out Rovers in the first instalment at Victory Park - Kane produced an encore.

Starting the move on the counter, Kane supplied Matty Blair on the right and his cut-back found the supporting Liverpool loanee, who provided another classy contribution to further enhance his burgeoning reputation with a technically perfect drilled strike from distance.

Chorley's 599-strong contingent arrived in raucous voice, but an early settler from May, whose angled drive went in off the past following Kane's probing pass, represented a sign of things to come on seven minutes.

James Coppinger was soon sent clear and struck the outside of the post from an acute angle and it was left to Blair to register the hosts second just under 15 minutes later, nodding in his fourth of the season from close in after Anderson's looping header arrowed goalwards following Coppinger's floated corner.

A sumptuous strike from Kane, who was soon involved in a neat close-range strike for May to make it 4-0 - turned a tough half into a nightmare one for Chorley.

There was still time for May to seal his treble and fire a fifth for the hosts after Urwin parried an effort from Marquis at full-stretch.

The only worthy discussion point at the interval was just how many Rovers would register and May's 81st-minute near-post finish from Danny Andrew's cross equalled Chorley's six-goal hammering on their first round one appearance - at Rotherham United in 1985.

There was time for Marquis to belatedly join the party as Rovers booked a second-round date at Charlton Athletic in scintillating fashion.

Doncaster Rovers: Lawlor; Mason, T Anderson, Butler, Andrew; Whiteman (Rowe 45), Kane (Crawford 70), Coppinger (Taylor 45); Blair, Marquis, May. Substitutes unused: Marosi, Beestin, Amos, Blaney.

Chorley: Urwin; Anson, Teague, Leather (Jordan 64), Meppen-Walter; A Newby (Whitlam 59), O'Keefe, Cottrell, Blakeman; J Wilson (Noble-Lazarus 71), Almond. Substitutes unused: Lussey, O'Brien, Lenehan, Eccles.

Referee: D Drysdale (Lincolnshire).