LEAD­ERS ARE BACK ON SONG

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Steven Chicken

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.”

PIC­TURES: An­thony Thomp­son/ProS­ports

A LEG UP: Niall Ma­son and Carl Winch­ester chal­lenge. In­set: Tommy Rowe shoots STAR MAN AL­FIE MAY Don­caster

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