MATCH REPORT: Nottingham Forest 1 Doncaster Rovers 2

Thunderbolt: Frederic Piquionne blasts home on his debut to give Doncaster Rovers the lead at the City Ground.                Picture: Steve uttley
Thunderbolt: Frederic Piquionne blasts home on his debut to give Doncaster Rovers the lead at the City Ground. Picture: Steve uttley
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DONCASTER Rovers boosted their hopes of avoiding a return to League One, at the City Ground, with new signing Frederic Piquionne leading by example.

It was Rovers first away win since November 5 at Ipswich and it extended their unbeaten run to three.

Rovers had shown three changes to their starting line-up.

New loanee from West Ham United, Piquionne, came in for Mamadou Bagayoko with Kyle Bennett being preferred to James Hayter.

Simon Gillett, who came on for injured skipper Brian Stock after just 10 minutes in Saturday’s draw with Brighton, kept his place.

Forest made a late change during the pre-match warm-up, Robbie Findley coming off the bench to replace striker Marcus Tudgay.

Rovers made the early running without really troubling Forest keeper Lee Camp. Findley shot well wide of the left-hand post from around 25 yards in Forest’s first attack of note on five minutes.

Forest’s in-form midfielder Gareth McCleary fired straight at Rovers’ keeper Carl Ikeme with a weak angled effort from the edge of the area.

Giles Barnes shot with a first-time strike from 25 yards out on 14 minutes from James Coppinger’s pass.

Forest striker Dexter Blackstock, a team-mate of Gillett in their days at Southampton, tested Ikeme with a fierce shot from the edge of the area on 19 minutes.

Forest continued to take the game to Rovers and had right-back Chris Gunter, who was unmarked in the box, been able to get his head to a left-wing cross, he could well have given his side the lead.

McCleary shot just wide of the left hand post from the edge of the box on 23 minutes.

Camp could only punch clear from Bennett’s left-wing cross under pressure from skipper El Hadji Diouf.

Piquionne, who looked eager to impress, had a side-footed shot from about 10 yards blocked by a defender after being set-up by Coppinger, who saw his 25 yarder hit a nearby defender on 38 minutes.

Diouf did well to get a cross from the left into the six-yard box but Piquionne was unable to get on the end of it.

Rovers broke the deadlock in the 45th minute with a stunning 30 yard strike by Piquionne out of nothing.

Findley shot just wide of the near post in stoppage time.

Forest got the second half under way with Andy Reid on for Elokobi.

Rovers doubled their lead within two minutes of the restart, the unmarked Bennett volleying home at the left-hand post from Diouf’s ball across goal from the other post.

Rovers suffered a blow a couple of minutes later when left-back Tommy Spurr, replaced by Sam Hird, limped off with what appeared to be a groin injury.

Rovers went close to a third goal a couple of minutes later when Bennett hit the post.

Forest pushed forward for an equaliser but they got no joy out of the Rovers back-four until Blackstock, whose shot may have taken a deflection, beat Ikeme in the 63rd minute. Rovers brought on Bagayoko for Piquionne two minutes later. Rovers made a second change on 71 minutes, John Oster replacing Diouf.

Rovers, who squandered a 2-0 lead against Leeds United at Elland Road when going down 3-2 last month, tried to slow the game down by retaining possession.

Forest went close to an equaliser on 81 minutes after Ikeme had spilled a low shot but Rovers hung on to avenge an early season defeat at home.

Forest: Camp 7 Gunter 6 Lynch 6 Wootton *5 Elokobi 6 ** McCleary 7 Guedioura 6 Chambers 6 Moussi 6 Findley 6 Blackstock 6***Subs: Anderson McGuigan ***74 Reid *5 46 Smith Cunningham **57

Rovers: Ikeme 6 Chimbonda 7 Martis 7 Beye 7 Spurr *6 Coppinger 7 Gillett 7Barnes 7Bennett 7 Diouf 7*** Piquionne 7**Subs Hayter Hird *43 Robert Oster ***72 Bagayoko **65

Goals: Forest: Blackstock (63). Rovers:Piquionne (45), Bennett (47)

Referee: Michael Jones (Chester)

Bookings: Hird (Rovers)

Attendance: 18,521