Teenager Ball nets Doncaster Rovers winner with first touch on his debut

A storybook start to his professional career from Doncaster Rovers super-sub Jordan Ball sent JPT holders Chesterfield tumbling out of the competition at the second-round stage.

Teenage striker Ball, 19, recalled following a prolific loan spell at Belper Town just yesterday and registered to play in time for kick-off, scored with his first touch in senior football after being brought on seven minutes from time, powerfully heading home following David Cotterill’s corner from a few yards out.

It proved an inspired change from boss Dean Saunders, who had sent the Mansfield-born first-year pro – a prolific scorer for the club’s juniors last season – on for veteran Robbie Blake just moments earlier.

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Rovers, first winners of the JPT in 2007, had the better of the first half with Martin Woods’s precise low shot parried by Richard O’Donnell early on while Blake nodded over from close range after Billy Paynter and Rob Jones challenged following Cotterill’s deep corner.

O’Donnell also had to be alert to divert a swerving shot from Kyle Bennett, handed a license to roam up front, away from danger.

The Spireites rarely threatened in the first period with their best moment arriving on 22 minutes when Craig Westcarr, a Wembley hero against Swindon in the spring, saw his angled shot saved by Gary Woods.

Rovers continued to patiently probe for a breakthrough on the restart with neat link-up between Bennett and Blake ended by the latter cutting inside before curling a 20-yarder just wide.

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A timely tackle from Jones denied Will Atkinson just before the hour mark and moments later, interval substitute Chris Brown fired straight at O’Donnell after the former Sheffield Wednesday keeper has blocked Blake’s long-ranger.

O’Donnell then kept out Woods’s piledriver, while Paul Keegan saw a fierce strike deflected over.

Chesterfield, who showed plenty of pluck all evening, but lacked an incisive edge, threw bodies forward in a bid to force penalties in front of their visiting contingent of 1,096 fans, who formed just over a quarter of the crowd, but the night belonged to Ball.

Doncaster Rovers: G Woods; Syers, Jones, Spurr, Husband; Cotterill, Keegan, Martin Woods, Blake (Ball 82); Bennett, Paynter (Brown 46). Unused substitutes: Sullivan, Michael Woods, Harper.

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Chesterfield: O’Donnell; Talbot, Forbes, Trotman, Ridehalgh; Darikwa (Boden 87), Clay (Randall 75), Togwell, Atkinson, Evans (Lester 75); Westcarr. Unused substitutes: Wilson, Hazel.

Referee: J Adcock (Notts).