Ellery Balcombe the hero as Doncaster Rovers dethrone Lincoln City

Ellery Balcombe was the hero with two penalty saves as Doncaster Rovers knocked Lincoln City off the top of League One to strengthen their own promotion credentials.

Hero: England Under-20s goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe helped Doncaster Rovers knock Lincoln City off top spot. (Picture: PA)

The Imps had a three-point cushion heading into Saturday’s action, but they were undone by Taylor Richards’ 15th-minute strike from outside the box.

Lincoln had chances to secure something from the game, but Jorge Grant and Anthony Scully both failed to convert from 12 yards in the final half hour.

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Doncaster boss Darren Moore was effusive in his praise for the 21-year-old loanee from Brentford, and his side’s resilience.

“For Ellery to make two penalty saves, it will live long in the memory for a lot of us with the type of game it was,” said Moore.

“Lincoln were very, very good over 80 yards of the pitch,.

“And they didn’t allow us any sustained time on the ball. They moved the ball very well.

“Usually where we have been good with the ball, we weren’t. We gave away cheap possession which meant the ball just kept coming back.

“I’ve said throughout this season that our work off the ball has got to be better.

“We’ve continued working on it in training and everyone to a man, the one part of the game we did get right was defending our 18-yard box.

“I thought everyone was spot on. The crosses they put into our box we got headers to, we got block tackles in, we nicked, we spoilt them and their play.

Moore admits he was also concerned early on that his side would not have the legs required for the win, after their energy sapping FA Cup outing at West Ham United last weekend, which was followed by the win over AFC Wimbledon in midweek.

“After 15 or 20 minutes I thought it was a game too far from the game at West Ham,” he said. “Playing that game at West Ham, I knew it was a red flag moment for what was to come.

“But what I’m really pleased with is that we’ve managed to come through this week and it’s been a really good week for us. Everyone to a man can feel really proud to finish off the week by coming through a game like that.”

City boss Michael Appleton said: “We made them look ordinary.”

Lincoln City: Palmer, Eyoma, Jackson, Walsh, Edun, McGrandles (Scully 77), Bridcutt,Grant, Johnson, Hopper, Rogers. Unused substitutes: Melbourne, Montsma, Jones, Anderson, Long.

Doncaster Rovers: Balcombe, Wright, Anderson, Butler ,John, Smith, James, Halliday, Richards (Gomes 66), Simoes (Lokilo 66), Okenabirhie (Taylor 90). Unused substitutes: Robertson, Jones, Williams, Greaves.

Referee: D Bond (Lancashire).

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