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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:30 8th April 2017

Report: Doncaster 1-0 Stags

Mansfield Town left empty handed from the Keepmoat Stadium in a tightly fought contest on a day when Doncaster's promotion from League Two was confirmed.

Tommy Rowe's 74th minute header made sure of Rovers' elevation to football's third tier and it would take a brave man to bet against Donny becoming champions of the division with five games remaining.

Despite defeat, Stags still remain in the hunt for the play-offs and should have added to their points tally in this afternoon's affair.

Danny Rose and Alfie Potter both had attempts cleared off the line, whilst Ben Whiteman curled wide of the post. And late into the contest, Stags should have had a penalty when Potter was pushed to the floor, but referee Dean Whitestone allowed play to continue.

In a game of few clear cut chances, however, Doncaster enjoyed more of the ball, as expected at home, but Mansfield made them work tirelessly to earn their promotion confirmation.

Over 2,000 Mansfield fans watched the affair on a sun-drenched afternoon in South Yorkshire.

Stags' boss Steve Evans fielded the same XI which started in last week's 2-1 defeat at home to Exeter City.

There was a solitary change to the subs' bench, with teenage striker Zayn Hakeem making way for Yoann Arquin.

Mansfield made the brighter start, penning Doncaster into their own half in the opening three minutes, but the final ball was found wanting.

But it was Jake Kean, the Stags' goalkeeper, who was first called upon, when he stopped with his legs a close range header by John Marquis from a sweeping Gary McSheffrey free-kick. 

At the other end, striker Shaq Coulthirst showed good strength to win a corner in the 11th minute. But the subsequent flag kick, the first of the match, was met with a ballooned header from Rhys Bennett, allowing home goalkeeper Ian Lawlor to claim.

Midway through the first half, Doncaster striker Andy Williams dragged an effort wide on the edge of the box.

Stags then briefly switched formation before reverting to their 4-4-2 shape.

As Doncaster began to increase their possession, Mal Benning was well placed inside his own goal area to head clear from a Luke McCullough cross.

Similarly, Benning then turned architect when he drifted a low cross into the Rovers' box a few minutes later. However, Neil Mason was on hand for Rovers to hack away.

The half's best chance came in the 32nd minute.

Rowe found space inside the Stags box and his attempted shot was denied firstly by Krystian Pearce, before Benning helped out, when a goal looked certain. 

Two minutes later, Ian Lawlor was well behind an Alex MacDonald pot shot from 20 yards.

Danny Rose then won two free-kicks for the Stags in quick succession; the second of which, taken by Joel Byrom, had to be punched away by Lawlor on the edge of his goal area.

In time added on at the end of the first half, Williams headed over from a sizzling free kick by McSheffrey on the Rovers' right channel.

The last kick of the half saw Coulthirst blaze over from 25 yards.

Stags then defended two consecutive corners in the first six minutes of the first half and from the second launched an almost deadly breakaway.

Danny Rose expertly spotted the advancing Coulthirst, and after a darting run with the ball to the right of the box, laid it back across the face of the box only for Benning to hit wildly wide.

Rovers made a double change before the game entered the hour, as James Coppinger and Alfie May took to the field for McSheffrey and Williams.

And Coppinger wasted no time in testing Kean's handling, forcing the 'keeper to turn away a rifled shot at his near post.

Stags then pushed forward and MacDonald was prevented from pulling the trigger when Alcock got to the ball first from Coulthirst's floated assist.

In the 69th minute. May then miscued inside the Stags' box after a cross from the left side.

Winger Alex MacDonald then departed to be replaced by CJ Hamilton.

As the game opened up, McCullough teed up Rowe to unleash a blistering drive from the edge of the box, which was superbly turned behind by Kean, getting down low to his right.

But Rowe wasn't to be denied in the 74th minute when Rovers won a corner. Taken by Coppinger, the midfielder's deft header from ten yards was planted into far corner, leaving Kean with no chance.

On 76, Stags threw numbers forward in a bid for an instant reply. And after Benning had crossed from the left, Green's acrobatics sent the ball to the back post, where Rose's header from an acute angle had to be stopped on the line by a Rovers' defender.

Kean then beat away three Doncaster efforts and Rovers thought they had added to their tally when Matty Blair powered the ball into the roof of the net, only to have been adjudged offside.

Ben Whiteman then directed a curling attempt wide of the upright with ten minutes of normal time remaining.

In the 86th minute, Alfie Potter came on for Danny Rose. 

Three minutes later, the diminutive midfielder was pushed inside the area but the referee waved play on, as Stags tried to pull one back.

Defender George Taft was sent upfield to aid the forward line in the closing stages as Stags added to their attacking arsenal.

In time added on, Matt Green latched on to a long punt into the penalty area, but couldn't find a route beyond Lawlor.

And as home fans lined up behind Kean's goal line in huge numbers, the referee blew for full time as soon as the Stags' goalkeeper sent forward a goal kick - confirming Rovers' promotion from League Two.

DONCASTER: Lawler, Blair, Butler, Baudry, Alcock, Rowe, McCullough, Mason (Wright 90 +3), McSheffrey (Coppinger 58), Williams (May 58), Marquis

UNUSED SUBS: Marosi, Taylor-Sinclair, Grant, Middleton

STAGS: Kean, Bennett, Pearce, Taft, Benning, MacDonald (MacDonald 70), Whiteman, Byrom, Green, Rose (Potter 86), Coulthirst

UNUSED SUBS: Jensen, Lee Collins, Howkins, McGuire, Arquin

REFEREE: Dean Whitestone

ATTENDANCE: 9,903 (2010 Stags' fans)