Doncaster Rovers loanees give hope for a bright future in 4-1 win over Bristol Rovers

Doncaster Rovers' football was as fresh as the weather as they beat Bristol Rovers 4-1 on a cold afternoon at the Keepmoat.

GOAL: Taylor Richards celebrates with Tyreece John-Jules

Making good use of loanees from higher up the division has provided Doncaster with a squad blessed with plenty of technical ability, and they put it to good use. One touch from Tyreece John-Jules, to take a Madger Gomes pass and turn in behind the defence was exquisite, and when the centre-forward put the ball across, it was a shame the Spanish midfielder could not give it the finish it deserved.

By then, though, Gomes had already made his mark with a fourth goal of a season only five matches old.

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Doncaster moved the ball sharply and with purpose, and with centre-forward John-Jules often attracted over to the left, they were particularly strong down that side. For all their good football, though, their first two goals came from deep Jon Taylor free-kicks headed back by centre-back Tom Anderson.

Bristol Rovers were quicker out of the blocks and their speed on the counter-attack was something the hosts constantly had to be aware of but they soon found their feet, Ben Whiteman dragging a free-kick just wide and Jason Lokilo also squeezing a shot past Anssi Jaakola from a tight angle.

With Lokilo firing a good cross over that did not get the touch it deserved after good build-up play by Reece James and Madger Gomes, it felt like a goal was coming for Doncaster.

Lokilo, signed from Crystal Palace in the summer after a successful loan in 2019-20, was a constant threat in the first half and it was a disappointment he did not reappear for the second, lessoned by the introduction of the veteran James Coppinger.

Cian Harries gave them a chance midway through the first half with a clumsy foul going through Taylor Richards after being dragged over to his left wing. Taylor hit the free-kick beyond the far post to Anderson, who nodded it back from almost on the byline. Whiteman's finish looked a good one but Anderson's central defensive partner Joe Wright thought he should make sure and tapped the ball home.

When Taylor and Anderson combined at another set piece after half an hour, Madger Gomes pounced on the loose ball and lashed it into the net for his fourth goal already this season. Not bad for a midfielder who failed to score in 29 appearances during his debut campaign at the Keepmoat.

As they needed to, Bristol Rovers responded quickly, cutting the deficit within two minutes.

Left-back Luke Leahy controlled the ball well and lobbed the ball in from just inside the area.

Doncaster did not have the monopoly on dangerous free-kicks. Zain Westbrooke probably picked out the wrong man when centre-back Max Ehmer volleyed over at a free-kick, and when he did find centre-forward Brandon Hanlon, he missed the target with Anderson making his life difficult.

Suitably jolted, Darren Moore's side quickly kicked clear.

After good play down the right by Taylor and John-Jules down the right, Richards – on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion – kept his cool as the tackles flew in, took a touch and stroke the ball into the net.

Five minutes later a beautiful turn by Coppinger allowed him to release John-Jules, whose drilled cross was tapped in by Taylor for the fourth goal after 62 minutes.

With the game won, Doncaster did some odd things.

Cameron John came on at centre-back but not for Anderson, who had trotted down the touchline to have his bleeding nose stuffed with cotton wool. Cue a couple of minutes of confusion from the home players trying to work out what Moore wanted from them until Anderson returned to anchor what then became a back three.

They missed good chances to make the win even more emphatic, Taylor blasting a free-kick into the empty seats, James, now at wing-back, and substitute Fejiri Okenabirhie all missing the target when he ought not to have.

Whiteman's fierce shot from distance went over in the seventh added minute.

The only blot on John-Jules's performance came in the 82nd minute when Whiteman's pass sent him clear through but the striker declined to shoot and his pass inside failed to find either of the red-and-white hooped runners.

It was, though, a day for optimism, not nit-picking.

Doncaster Rovers: Bursik; Halliday, Anderson, Wright, James; Whiteman, Gomes; Taylor (John 72), Richards, Lokilo (Coppinger 46); John-Jules.

Not used: Okenabirhie, Jones, Amos, Williams, Butler.

Bristol Rovers: Jaakkola; Kilgour, Ehmer, Harries, Leahy (Tutonda 79); Grant; Mitchell-Lawson (Ayunga 65), Westbrooke, McCormick, Daly (Walker 74); Hanlan.

Not used: van Stappershoef, Upson, Hargreaves, Baldwin.

Referee: T Kettle (Rutland).

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Thank you,

James Mitchinson