The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Ricky Charlesworth

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.”

PIC­TURES: Of­fTheBenchMe­dia

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