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Doncaster put one foot into play-off final with first-leg win at Crewe

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Luke Molyneux scored the opening goal for Doncaster (Richard Sellers/PA)
Luke Molyneux scored the opening goal for Doncaster (Richard Sellers/PA)

Doncaster took a giant step towards securing a place in the League Two play-off final by continuing their impressive end-of-season form with a comfortable 2-0 first-leg win at Crewe.

Goals either side of the break from Luke Molyneux and Harrison Biggins stretched Grant McCann’s side’s unbeaten run to 13 games – 11 of which have been won – in what has proved an extraordinary turnaround in fortunes.

Crewe, in contrast, had staggered into the play-offs with one win in nine games and they failed to find an upturn in form as they failed to muster much of a response after Harrison had struck the second shortly after the interval.

Crewe started brightly and Thimothee Lo-Tutala coped with early headers from Elliott Nevitt and Rio Adebisi, the second following a trademark long throw from Crewe skipper Mickey Demetriou.

Then Tom Anderson got an important block in to prevent Shilow Tracey pulling the ball back into the path of Nevitt at the end of a surging run.

But some clinical finishing saw Rovers take a 34th-minute lead with Matt Craig slipped clear on the left after an exchange of passes with Hakeeb Adelakun.

The midfielder’s low cross was met by Molyneux, who drove a first-time effort into the roof of the net.

Crewe’s immediate response was a 25-yard effort from youngster Matus Holicek which just cleared the crossbar.

But the hosts were guilty of some poor passing out from the back which Doncaster made the most of. Biggins glanced the crossbar with a first-time effort after the visitors again found space on the left.

A mistake by veteran Demetriou let the away side in to double their lead soon after the restart.

The defender let a through ball slip under his boot and Joe Ironside was left in the clear to drive the ball into the box. The striker squared it for Biggins, who finished with aplomb into the bottom corner.

The goal celebrations proved to be the last action for Biggins, though, as he limped off to be replaced by Tommy Rowe.

Crewe boss Lee Bell also reached for the bench with the tie slipping away from the Railwaymen in their home leg, by drafting Conor Thomas into the middle and bringing on Courtney Baker-Richardson and Chris Long to try and pep up an ailing attack.

The hosts offered little to suggest they could stage a turnaround at the Eco-Power Stadium. A hopeful long punt from Adebisi bounced awkwardly forcing Lo-Tutala to tip the ball over his crossbar.

From the resulting corner, Zak Williams’ header was flicked over by Long.

Molyneux was looking to add a third when he broke clear and his blast was diverted around at the near post by Max Stryjek

Playwire

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