DONCASTER Rovers boosted their play-off hopes by doing the double over Southend.
Kieran Sadlier bagged a brilliant brace and Niall Ennis netted the opener as a rampant Rovers eased to an impressive victory at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Harry Phillips pulled a goal back with 20 minutes remaining, but by then the damage had been done. There might not have been as many fireworks as the 7-1 thumping they handed out to the nine-man Shrimpers at Roots Hall earlier in the season, but Darren Moore’s on-song side were worthy winners.
And with victory, their 11th in League One this season, Rovers moved a step closer breaking into the promotion play-off frame.
Ennis handed the hosts the perfect start when he put them with a clinical 24th minute strike. The 20-year-old forward lost his marker on the edge of the box and finished smartly for his third goal of the season.
But Rovers were thankful to be ahead after keeper Timothy Dieng was forced to produce a smart point-blank block to deny Stephen Humprhys early in the action.
Humphrys hit the woodwork as the visitors went within a whisker of levelling, before Sadlier’s shot skinned the outside of a post as Rovers nearly doubled their lead.
Tom Anderson had a header cleared off the line as Rovers pushed for another goal, while Phillips shot wide for the visitors.
Dangerman Humprhys limped off injured and Rovers bagged their second when Sadlier latched on to a James Coppinger pass and coolly curled a shot beyond keeper Mark Oxley.
Republic of Ireland hopeful Sadlier headed home from Jon Taylor’s corner for his tenth league goal of the season 10 minutes after the restart.
Ben Sheaf, Brad Halliday and Taylor all had chances to increase the lead before Phillips scored, but it was job done by Moore’s men.
Doncaster Rovers: Dieng, Halliday, Anderson, John, James, Sheaf, Whiteman, Taylor (Blair 65), Coppinger, Sadlier, Ennis (Cole 78). Unused substitutes: Wright, Gomes, Jones, Amos, Watters.
Southend United: Oxley, Demetriou (Goodship 83), Bwomono, White, Kiernan, McLaughlin, Milligan, Mantom (Hutchinson 65), Phillips, Humphrys (Barratt 38), Kelman. Unused substitutes: Clifford, Rush, Kinali, Taylor.
Referee: D Drysdale (Lincolnshire)