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Slick reserves sink Doncaster

4 November 2013

Goals from Lee Stevenson and Anthony Howell eased our second-string to a comfortable 2-0 win over Doncaster Rovers at One Call Stadium.

Stevenson fired us ahead with a well-placed finish prior to half-time, before Howell doubled the lead shortly after the re-start.

The victory strengthens our position on top spot in the Central League (East Division), with just three more matches of the league season to go.

Despite a dominant showing by the Stags, it was Rovers who created the first meaningful chance after just five minutes.

Ben Birch only partially cleared Harry Middleton’s near-post corner, before Lewis Ferguson collected play on the edge of the area and rifled a drive against the upright.

Our side responded with a chance of their own just three minutes later, but Godfrey Poku was unable to test Jon Maxted with a speculative effort from distance.

Maxted also did enough to distract Lindon Meikle, who latched onto Stevenson’s sublime low ball, but blazed over in a one-on-one with the Rovers stopper on the quarter-hour mark.

The Stags slowly started to enjoy a spell of sustained pressure as Rovers were made to defend several set-pieces, and an opener almost arrived on 21 minutes.

Skipper James Jennings flashed a low free-kick into a crowded six-yard box, which ricocheted off Ollie Palmer and drifted narrowly wide of Maxted’s left-hand post.

Moments later, Paul Black also caused havoc with a teasing left-sided delivery that narrowly evaded Palmer, and forced the visitors into more last-ditch defending.

Rovers only caught rare glimpses of the Stags’ goal and after Middleton’s teasing near-post in-swinger was cleared by Keiran Murtagh, Ferguson came no closer with a long-range shot.

Murtagh and Howell both spurned further chances as our team played some excellent football, but were unable to find a way past Donny’s resolute back-line.

However, that changed just five minutes prior to the interval.

Black again tormented his marker on the left -wing and provided a pin-point low cross into the area towards Stevenson, who duly fired beyond a full-stretch Maxted.

The Stags could have doubled their lead within seconds of Donny re-starting play, as Murtagh quickly picked up play and saw his 30-yard strike parried by Maxted.

Palmer was the quickest to react, but somehow the frontman scooped his effort over from the edge of the six-yard box, much to Rovers’ relief.

Meikle then had an effort well-held by Maxted in first half stoppage-time, as the Stags went in at the break with a thoroughly deserved 1-0 lead.

Our team continued to look threatening after the re-start and should have been awarded a spot-kick when Evan Finnegan used his arm to block a close-range effort by Meikle.

Nevertheless, the Stags deservedly doubled their advantage on 52 minutes.

Liam Marsden was the provider as his chipped near-post delivery was flicked on by Palmer for Howell, who spun away from his marker inside the six-yard box and slotted home.

Donny, whose side contained experienced players such as James Harper, Andy Griffin and former Real Madrid star Marc De Val Fernandez, then had a mini-spell of pressure around the hour-mark.

Middleton came close to reducing arrears with a low 20-yard drive that deflected off Birch, and went fractionally wide of Deakin’s right-hand post.

From the resulting corner, Middleton picked out an unmarked Griffin at the far-post, but the veteran full-back blazed his effort into the side-netting.

The Stags then spurned several chances to enhance their winning margin in the last half-hour of the match.

Maxted reacted quickly to palm away Palmer’s header, following a far-post corner by Jennings on 62 minutes, before Howell blazed over on the follow-up.

Meikle was also twice denied by the Rovers custodian, whilst his attempted lob-shot after Marsden’s long downfield ball, fell wide of the target.

Donny almost grabbed a consolation in the closing stages when Chris Whincop flashed a free-kick just wide of the target, from the edge of the area.

However, our second-string were ultimately worthy winners, and stay top of the Central League (East Division) table, with just three matches remaining.

Team: Deakin, Marsden, Birch, Jennings (c), Black, Meikle, Poku, Murtagh, Howell, Stevenson, Palmer. Subs: Fell, Hemagou, J.Thomas, Green, Lamb.

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