Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Bournemouth - Harry’s game sinks Rovers

Rovers skipper Rob Jones.
Rovers skipper Rob Jones.
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Rover welcome Bournemouth to the Keepmoat Stadium.

The visitors came close to opening the scoring on 14 minutes, but Charlie Daniels’s 25-yard free-kick - after a foul by Iain Hume - drifted wide of Gary Woods’s left-hand post.

While at the other end, winger David Cotterill showed trickery down the right but Billy Paynter was unable to keep his effort on target and test former England goalkeeper David James.

The best piece of football from Rovers in the first half saw Hume - drifting in the hole behind the front two of Paynter and Chris Brown - cross for Brown, but his header down just evaded the onrushing Cotterill.

Rovers started to get a grip on the match as half-time approached, with Canadian international Hume dragging his low shot just wide of James’s left-hand post.

But the Keepmoat Stadium crowd were stunned when Cherries midfielder Harry Arter fired in a speculative effort from outside the box, which looked to be heading wide only for it to strike the foot of the post and roll into the net with Woods left stunned.

And it should have been 2-0 on 42 minutes. Lewis Grabban broke through a weak challenge from left-back James Husband but his low inviting cross evaded everyone, much to the relief of Rovers boss Dean Saunders.

Rovers - looking to bounce back after the midweek loss to Crewe - were clearly stunned by Arter’s strike and Saunders needed to lift his troops.

Rovers pushed for an equaliser at the start of the second half. Spurr just failed to get on the end of Cotterill’s free-kick, former Leeds United striker Paynter hammered a long-range effort over the crossbar, while Hume headed over from eight yards out.

James Harper was then just inches from picking up Brown’s clever knockdown in front of goal, but the ball was not running kindly for Rovers in front of a 5,951 crowd.

Cotterill was replaced by David Syers with 20 minutes remaining, but Rovers could not break down a resilient visiting defence. Hume tried his luck from 25 yards, but his shot was easy pickings for James in the Cherries goal.

Syers then took a tumble under pressure from the Bournemouth defence, but referee Darren Bond waved away the penalty appeals.

At the other end, it needed a terrific header from Tommy Spurr to deny the lurking Wes Thomas, who moments later saw his low drive finish up in the side netting.

Doncaster: G Woods; Griffin, Quinn, Spurr, Husband; Cotterill (Syers 69), Harper, Clingan, Hume; Paynter (Blake 79), Brown. Subs not used: Martin Woods, Michael Woods, Wakefield, Keegan, Sullivan.

Bournemouth: James; Cook, Addison, Elphick, Daniels; McQuoid (Thomas 71), Arter, MacDonald, Pugh; Grabban (Fletcher 90), Barnard (Fogden 79). Subs not used: Tubbs, McDermott, O’Kane, Jalal.