Doncaster Rovers 0 Portsmouth 2: Kitson forgets troubles as Doncaster fail to match Pompey power

Doncaster manager Sean O’Driscoll thought Dave Kitson’s goal was crucial in this game.

Kitson opened the scoring with a diving header after Greg Halford had struck the post in the 42nd minute, and Joel Ward wrapped up the win for the visitors with a fine finish 10 minutes later.

James Coppinger spurned a gilt-edged chance in the first half when the scores were level, shooting tamely at Jamie Ashdown.

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That was the closest Rovers came as they were rebuffed by a strong defence after the interval.

O’Driscoll said: “I thought both teams were quite disjointed – you couldn’t tell what either team was trying to do, to be fair.

“As ever, in the Championship, you get a goal up, it’s crucial and the second goal was typical of the goals we’ve been giving away lately. At 2-0 down, it was always going to be difficult to get back into the game.

“They’re big, powerful and what they showed, especially in the second half, was their experience.

“When I’ve got to throw on a centre-half just to give us some physical strength, just to try to change the pattern of the game, you know you’re on a sticky wicket.

“I thought when we got possession we were better but they’ve got six-foot plus players in the team so any set-play, any static position where they can get the ball into the box was going to be a problem.”

Portsmouth manager Steve Cotterill revealed after his side’s first victory in 11 games that Kitson, who required treatment to his lip after scoring the opener, had been a doubt to feature. “He’s had a tough week with his lad in hospital and it was only right up until today at 1 o’clock when I said to him ‘are you okay to play?’ He’s got a fat lip and he’s got a goal for his troubles so hopefully that’ll be the start of a decent week for him.”

Doncaster Rovers: Gary Woods, O’Connor, Hird (Mason 58), Kilgallon, Chambers, Stock (Shiels 58), Oster, Keegan, Friend, Coppinger (Webster 76), Sharp. Unused substitutes: Bradshaw, Wilson, Mills, Souza.

Portsmouth: Ashdown, De Laet, Halford, Rocha, Hreidarsson, Ward, Mullins, Hogg, Lawrence, Nugent, Kitson (Dickinson 90). Unused substitutes: Flahavan, Ciftci, Sonko, Kanu, Kilbey.

Referee: A Haines (Tyne & Wear).

Man of the match: Liam Lawrence.