Doncaster Rovers 0 Fleetwood Town 1: Cod Army debutant makes an instant impact

Ellis Harrison scored on his debut to earn Fleetwood Town a precious three points at League One basement side Doncaster Rovers.

Saturday, 8th January 2022, 5:21 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th January 2022, 5:22 pm

Harrison’s arrival from Portsmouth was announced a couple of hours before kick-off and the 27-year-old striker duly netted a second-half winner at the Eco-Power Stadium.

Town’s second away win of the season - their only previous win on the road also came in South Yorkshire at Rotherham United in September - kept them one place above the drop zone but moved them nine points clear of a poor Doncaster side.

Fleetwood had much the better of the first half against a young Rovers team woefully lacking in confidence.

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Fleetwood Town celebrate Ellis Harrison's debut goal Picture: Sam Fielding/PRiME Media Images Limited

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Stephen Crainey’s men would have been disappointed at half-time not to have made more of an impression in the final third.

The Cod Army got their noses in front shortly after the restart and Rovers never really looked like responding.

Matchwinner Harrison went straight into Town’s starting line-up and led the line with Paddy Lane and Cian Hayes supporting from out wide.

Town started the game brightly and on the front foot, enjoying more controlled possession, and had the ball in the net after seven minutes - only for Harrison Biggins’ effort to be ruled out for offside.

A quick break saw Hayes get in behind but an outstretched leg from Rovers goalkeeper Pontus Dahlberg kept out the game’s first meaningful shot on target after 18 minutes.

Dahlberg then had to make another smart save to palm away a trademark free-kick from Danny Andrew.

Another dangerous Andrew set piece led to claims that Tom Clarke was pulled down at the back post but referee Darren Bond was not interested.

Dahlberg also made comfortable saves from Lane and Harrison as Town failed to make their superiority count.

Alex Cairns was merely a spectator in Town’s goal as the home side took until first-half stoppage time to register any sort of attempt but Omar Bogle’s header drifted harmlessly wide.

Town were again quicker out of the blocks at the start of the second period and Dan Batty’s powerful hit from outside the box was diverted over by the impressive Dahlberg.

The breakthrough finally arrived on 50 minutes when Lane made good inroads down the right and his cross was tucked home from close range by Harrison.

Rovers almost responded immediately when Tommy Rowe glanced a header from a corner inches wide of the far post.

Harrison was replaced by Anthony Pilkington just after the hour mark as Town attempted to reseize the initiative and put the game to bed.

They should have had a penalty when Rovers defender Joseph Olowu clearly appeared to handle the ball from a corner prior to Andrew fizzing a shot just over the bar.

Rovers had barely threatened but Town were indebted to Cairns who made a stunning save from Charlie Seaman in stoppage time to preserve the victory.

Doncaster Rovers: Dahlberg, Knoyle, Williams, Olowu, Rowe, Smith, Galbraith, Horton (Cukur 87), Barlow (Dodoo 63), Hiwula (Seaman 73), Bogle. Subs not used: Jones, Blythe, Greaves, Hasani.

Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Johnston, Clarke, Johnson, Andrew, Batty (Boyle 90), Biggins, Camps, Hayes (Morris 90), Lane, Harrison (Pilkington 64). Subs not used: Crellin, Baggley, Conn-Clarke, Bird.

Referee: Darren Bond.

Attendance: 5,648.

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