Doncaster Rovers’ hopes of automatic promotion toomk a severe blow as they were beaten 1-0 at home by mid-table Notts County..
County conjured up the first real threat, Campbell-Ryce finding space but his cross was comfortably held by Sullivan. The visitors were enjoying some oy down the right. Judge drifted in from that side and tested Sullivan’s handling from distance.
On 14 minutes a nervous looking Rovers side did fall behind, and the goal came in spectacular fashion.
After Jones felled the lively Judge, LABADIE struck home a vicious free kick from all of 30 yards, into the top corner and out of the reach of Sullivan.
Doncaster’s first attempt on goal came via a Notts head when Sheehan’s back-header from Cotterill’s cross had to be dealt with by Spiess.
Lundstram tried an ambitious half volley from well out but his effort went flying over, before Rovers did have the ball in the net, only to be denied by an offside flag.
Coppinger’s inswinging cross from the left was headed back across the face by Paynter but Furman, who nodded it past Spiess, was adjudged to be offside.
Cotterill got into some good positions on the right but on more than one occasion his cross failed to beat the first man
Rovers were finally starting to play - and relax a little. Coppinger played a neat one-two with Paynter on the edge before his goalbound effort was blocked, before Lundstram forced Spiess into a good save with a rasping 20-yard drive.
Rovers were ending the half well on top. Coppinger saw an effort cleared off the line and when it fell to Brown his header was saved by a sprawling Spiess. Things had to improve after the break.
Rovers were keen to start the second period on the front foot. And they did.
A throw on the right was cleverly hooked on by Coppinger but Paynter, unchallenged eight yards out, rose to head over the bar with only Spiess to beat.
Rovers were awarded a free kick on the angle of the penalty area but Cotterill’s effort, blasted high and wide, summed up a so far frustrating afternoon.
Cotterill had another chance to test Spiess from a free kick on the hour mark as Rovers threatened to turn the screw but his effort was blocked by the wall.
Syers was introduced in a straight swap for Lundstram.
McCombe headed over a Cotterill corner from the right.
Syers almost made an immediate impact. He latched onto Brown’s knock down but his shot was blocked, before he and Coppinger got in each other’s way as another chance went begging.
Rovers came the closest they had come to an equaliser when Paynter latched onto a ball over the top, rounded the keeper but his goalbound was blocked by a covering Pearce.
It was to be the striker’s last real involvement as he and Cotterill made way for Hume and Bennett.
County almost doubled their lead out of nothing as the game reached the 80 minute mark, Labadie sweeping an effort just wide of the far post from the angle of the penalty area.
Rovers were awarded another free kick right on the edge of the box. If Rovers were going to score this afternoon, it would be from a set piece.
This time Coppinger’s effort did force the save from Spiess, who gathered the loose ball at the second attempt.
Rovers threw Jones forward, while Hume smashed a volley across the face of goal which was blocked.