When Rovers and Queens Park Rangers met at the Keepmoat Stadium in November Rovers came into the game off a poor run of form whilst QPR had enjoyed a profitable few weeks which had seen them edge up the table. All pointed towards a Rangers victory, but instead Rovers pulled out a fantastic performance to secure a 2-0 win. With that in mind it was probably only fair that Rangers should triumph in this return fixture. Rovers arrived in West London full of confidence after two impressive back to back wins whilst Rangers came into the game off the back of a wretched run of form. There was only ever going to be one winner, and sods law dictated it would probably be Rangers.
After putting in two great all round team performances against Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday respectively Rovers turned in a performance today which was a shadow of those shifts. Rangers made the better start of the two sides with both Antonio German and Akos Buzsaky getting in shots on Neil Sullivan’s goal, but neither came close to troubling the ‘keeper. Brian Stock and Jamie Coppinger both had chances for the Rovers with efforts from the edge of the area but they fared as well as German and Buzsaky ahd for the hosts.
The breakthrough came midway through the first half as Alejandro Faurlin was given space to lift in a cross from the corner of the penalty area and his delivery was met by a diving header from Jay Simpson inside the six-yard box. Sullivan somehow kept out Simpson’s header with a brilliant save, but he was powerless to stop German poking home the rebound for the opening goal. Approaching half-time Rovers had a great opportunity to equalise as Stock released John Oster on the right and worked his way to the byline before pulling back for Stock, but the captain fired over from ten yards. Rangers could have doubled their lead too before the break but Sullivan did well again to keep out Kasper Gorkss header.
As they had in the first half Rangers made the better start to the second period as Buzsaky hit a left foot shot just wide from the edge of the area, whilst German also saw a header fly just over the bar. However, it was to be Rovers who struck next as they drew the game level through James Hayter. Mark Wilson chipped the ball to Billy Sharp on the right edge of the area and he got to the byline before putting a low ball across the goal and Hayter was on hand to turn it in at the near post. Now even ins core, the game also balanced out in play for much of the next twenty minutes. Rangers did have the ball in the net from a free-kick on the wing, but that was ruled out for offside and at the other end Coppinger had a strike easily fielded by the home keeper.
With quarter of an hour to go the home side extended their lead through Jay Simpson. A neat lofted pass from Buzsaky cleared a Rovers back-line looking for offside and Simpson ghosted in behind to control the ball, turn and finish well to make it 2-1. Rovers struggled to make any sort of inroad back into the game and only really came close in the final five minutes as Stock volleyed just wide. In the end Rangers looked more likely to add to their lead than Rovers did to level the score, and Simpson could have put the game out of reach of Rovers in injury time, but this time he fired wide. It did not matter though as the final whistle sounded soon after to give Rangers an long overdue win.
Queens Park Rangers line-up (4-4-2); Carl Ikreme; Peter Ramage (Adel Taarabt), Damion Stewart, Kaspar Gorkss, Matthew Connolly (Gary Borrowdale); Lee Cook, Akos Buzsaky, Matthew Hill, Alejandro Faulin; Jay Simpson, Antonio German (Rowan Vine)
subs not used: Radek Cerny, Nigel Quashie, Angelo Balanta, Joe Oastler
Doncaster Rovers line-up (4-3-2-1); Neil Sullivan; James O’Connor, Sam Hird, Elliott Ward, James Chambers; John Oster, Brian Stock (Jordan Mutch), Mark Wilson (Gareth Roberts); Jamie Coppinger (Dean Shiels), James Hayter; Billy Sharp
subs not used: Ben Smith, Mustapha Dumbaya, John Spicer, Lewis Guy