LEADERS ARE BACK ON SONG
D ARREN Ferguson claims it was Doncaster’s professionalism that won the day as they breached in-form Cheltenham in both halves to maintain their fourpoint lead atop the table.
This was only Rovers’ second win in eight games as Andy Butler and John Marquis were the men to find the net.
Yet it was a second clean sheet, following last weekend’s effort against Crawley, that left Ferguson particularly pleased.
“It’s good to have back-toback clean sheets,” said Ferguson, whose side hold a healthy 14-point advantage over fourth-placed Stevenage.
“It’s really important at this stage of the season to start picking up more clean sheets because we’re a team that are obviously capable of scoring goals and creating chances.
“Cheltenham were very wellorganised and have come into this game on a really good run. Apart from Stevenage they’re the form team in the league.
“Goals do make a difference, obviously, and to get that first goal at home, it’s the first time in four games we’ve gone in front, and I thought we managed the game well after that.”
Matty Blair was excellent throughout from full-back and his first of many successful forward expeditions set Alfie May up for a first-touch rabona that Scott Brown saved well.
The league leaders went ahead four minutes later as Butler converted Blair’s quick free-kick – Cheltenham’s first goal conceded in five games.
May had three successive attempts blocked shortly after, and it was the same story for James Coppinger as Will Boyle cleared off the line after more good work from May.
Boyle was sent off for a second yellow on 71 minutes after a clear foul on May, having been cautioned for blocking Coppinger in the first half.
May was once again at the centre of it all four minutes later, creating space for Tommy Rowe to pick up the ball and play in Marquis, but Brown superbly tipped his shot over the bar.
But there was nothing the keeper could do as Marquis struck a fierce low drive off May’s unselfish square ball to return to the top of the League Two goalscorer charts.
Rovers would now need to drop at least 14 points from their last ten games not to achieve automatic promotion.
Cheltenham assistant manager Russell Milton said: “You’d want Doncaster to bring out their class to score against you and I suppose they did in a way with their quick-thinking and bright play (for the first goal), and we were dopey to it.
“They seized their moments when we didn’t.
“We knew Doncaster and the next game at Exeter away were going to be crucial and I think if we can get out of them without teams gaining too much on us it’s going to stand us in good stead.
“Obviously we need three or four wins to be sure, so we need to get them sooner rather than later.”
A LEG UP: Niall Mason and Carl Winchester challenge. Inset: Tommy Rowe shoots STAR MAN ALFIE MAY Doncaster