DONNY GET THAT DERBY BITE BACK
DARREN FERGUSON was thrilled after his Doncaster side ended their derby hoodoo with a victory over local rivals Grimsby.
Rovers performed poorly in derbies last season but maintained the hunt for promotion thanks to this win. Liam Mandeville scored the game’s only goal with a sumptuous early free-kick which had the Keepmoat boss purring afterwards.
“We were poor during derby games last year, so this was all about the result and we fought all game, which I like to see,” said Ferguson. “There’s scrappy sides to games and we did that well.
“We deserved to win and it was a fantastic goal and it was fantastic that it was the winning goal from Liam.
“Our fans have seen a strong display and the atmosphere was brilliant. We’ve a long way to go still, but we are where we need to be.”
There was a lively atmosphere before the game, with over 4,000 Grimsby supporters packing out the away end for the first league meeting between the two sides since 1990. But they were soon silenced when Rovers got off to a stunning start.
Mandeville, who scooped the EFL Young Player of the Month gong for November, curled a delicious free-kick into the top-left corner for his ninth of the season.
Grimsby’s first attempt didn’t come until the 21st minute, although when it did Danny Collins should have done better than to glance his header wide from a few yards out.
Most of the first 45 minutes was played inside the Grimsby half, with Doncaster zipping the ball about nicely and pressing high up the field when out of possession.
Grimsby came out after the restart with more gusto and Tom Bolarinwa capitalised on a Rovers defensive mistake but couldn’t get a clear shot out from his feet when put straight through.
Mandeville almost doubled Doncaster’s lead on 74 minutes but his well-struck free-kick was kept out by the hands of James McKeown in the Town goal.
Grimsby’s best chance to claim a point arrived in the final minute but James Berrett failed to connect to a far-post cross as Rovers held out for the victory. Mariners chief Marcus Bignot said: “I’m gutted for the players. Doncaster really had to work hard for those three points because we tried everything. “We shaded chances without getting them on target but we tried to be positive.We fell short to a bit of quality.” First-choice striker Omar Bogle missed the game after picking up an injury. “He hasn’t trained all week,” added Bignot. “He came through on Friday but had a reaction in the morning. He will be okay after this nine or ten-day break.”
OH MANDY: Doncaster players mob Liam Mandeville after his early goal
STAR MAN LIAM MANDEVILLE Doncaster GLOVELY: Doncaster’s goalscorer Liam Mandeville