Ir­re­sistible Don­caster gave Grimsby a 5-1 past­ing

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Ricky Charlesworth

JOHN Mar­quis’ first hat-trick in the EFL moved Don­caster to the brink of an in­stant re­turn to League One as Grimsby were ruth­lessly dis­patched.

Bar­ring an his­tor­i­cally cat­a­strophic col­lapse, ta­ble-top­ping Rovers will be pro­moted, as they now lie 16 points ahead of fourth-place Steve­nage with just 18 left to play for.

Last April, Donny were on their way to be­ing rel­e­gated to the fourth tier for the first time since 2004 but fast for­ward 12 months and they look a dif­fer­ent side, as proven by this dis­man­tling of Grimsby.

If other re­sults had gone their way, they would have been math­e­mat­i­cally pro­moted on Satur­day but boss Dar­ren Fer­gu­son ad­mits the out­look is rosy re­gard­less.

“Last sea­son was as low as it’s ever been for me as a man­ager,” said Fer­gu­son. “But the board have been great and there’s a dif­fer­ent look and a dif­fer­ent fresh­ness to the club.

“We need to fin­ish the job off now. The place was stale and needed a mas­sive lift. Hope­fully that isn’t too far off.”

Mar­quis was the star of the show, hit­ting his maiden pro­fes­sional hat­trick in the space of 24 min­utes.

Donny started the brighter but it was the hosts who took the lead through Sam Jones.

Jones, who grew up in Don­caster, drilled a shot into the net from in the area on 34 min­utes.

But it took Rovers just six min­utes to turn the game on its head – thanks to two goals from Mar­quis.

First he nudged the ball past goal­keeper James McKe­own from a few yards out be­fore glanc­ing in a header from Gary McSh­ef­frey’s cor­ner.

The pro­lific marks­man se­cured his tre­ble by calmly slot­ting Tommy Rowe’s through-ball into the bot­tom cor­ner, Andy Williams cut in­side and blasted home on 79 min­utes be­fore Al­fie May bun­dled in a fifth from close-range.

Fer­gu­son added: “It was a mag­nif­i­cent per­for­mance. Five goals away from home shows it has been a very good day.

“We’re nearly there with pro­mo­tion. There was an edge to the game, and there was a good at­mos­phere but they just could not live with us.”

Grimsby chief Mar­cus Big­not was un­der­stand­ably un­happy about the heavy loss and be­lieves the Jan­uary sale of star striker Omar Bogle to Wi­gan is still af­fect­ing his side.

“I don’t like los­ing foot­ball matches and I’m not go­ing to hide it,” said Big­not.

“Sam Jones has done great for us but there has been a knock-on ef­fect from los­ing Omar in terms of our men­tal­ity.

“Is it about men­tal­ity and be­lief ? I don’t know, but we can’t think to our­selves ‘where are the goals go­ing to come from?’

“At th e other end, John Mar­quis was left free in the box. That is an in­di­vid­ual mis­take and we’ve been pun­ished.”

PIC­TURES: ProS­ports/ Craig Zadoroznyj

TRE­BLE BREW­ING: Don­caster Rovers for­ward John Mar­quis com­pletes his hat-trick to make it 3-1. In­set: He bags his sec­ond STAR MAN JOHN MAR­QUIS Don­caster

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