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26 December 2023 Venue Meadow Lane Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Reports

Report: Notts 3-0 Doncaster

Comfortable win and clean sheet

26 December 2023

Goals from Dan Crowley, Macaulay Langstaff and Aaron Nemane handed us a comfortable Boxing Day victory at Meadow Lane.

Having seen Joe Ironside spurn the opportunity to put the visitors in front with a penalty against the run of play in the first half, we made Doncaster pay with a dominant display.

Luke Williams made only one change to the squad that were cruelly beaten at Stockport – and it came on the bench, Dan Gosling making way for Lewis Macari.

That meant Aidan Stone was protected by a back three of Kyle Cameron, Aden Baldwin and Richard Brindley, with Jodi Jones and Nemane out wide.

In midfield, John Bostock and Sam Austin provided the base for Crowley and Langstaff to support David McGoldrick, who continued to lead the line.

Rovers claimed the first shot of the game on three minutes, Jones failing to clear his lines and in turn presenting Jamie Sterry with a shooting opportunity inside the area. Stone made a good save low down to deny him.

Our response came in the shape of two headers which were saved by Ian Lawlor – the first a comfortable denial from Langstaff, the second a more challenging intervention as he pushed Cameron’s powerful effort over.

But, moments after Lawlor had been forced into a good reaction save following a teasing low Crowley cross, we were hit with a sucker punch when Jones was adjudged to have fouled his man as a cross came into our area from the left.

Ironside took responsibility in front of a packed-out Kop but sent his low penalty wide of Stone’s right-hand post, denying his side an unlikely opener.

We soon regained control of the play and, shortly after Langstaff had sent an effort over after the ball had ricocheted to him with his back to goal six yards out, we had the lead.

It came from an excellent left-wing cross from Jones, who delivered the ball on a plate for Crowley to meet it with a volleyed finish into the bottom corner.

The visitors had a half-chance to equalise eight minutes later, Harrison Biggins firing a shot high and wide from inside the D, but it wasn’t long before we doubled our lead as excellent link-up between Crowley and McGoldrick saw the latter’s low centre turned home by Langstaff.

Our incessant pressure continued right up until half-time, with Austin seeing a header pushed over before a Langstaff shot was smothered after he’d been played in by the purring Crowley.

And there was no let-up after the break, particularly from Langstaff who, moments after watching McGoldrick have an effort blocked after he’d brilliantly charged down the keeper, the striker saw his own attempt saved as he diverted Austin’s delightful dink goalwards – only to see Lawlor perfectly positioned to save with his legs.

But any frustration was short-lived as Langstaff went on to play a key role in our third goal – linking up superbly with McGoldrick to scamper into the area. His effort was pushed towards the back post by Lawlor, where Nemane was first on the scene to score.

Doncaster’s Molyneux struck the post and tested Stone as he led his side’s response, with Lawlor pushing Jones’ goalbound cross-shot wide in spectacular style at the other end.

Langstaff and McGoldrick then saw efforts blocked following a speedy Jones counter-attack – and that proved to be the winger’s final action of the game as he, Cameron and Brindley made way for Ollie Tipton, Connell Rawlinson and Jim O’Brien.

There was a nervy moment for Stone moments later as he had to scoop a shot out of his own net at the second attempt - but we soon created another big chance as Tobi Adebayo, fresh on to the field as part of a double switch along with youngster James Sanderson, burst away down the right and crossed low for Langstaff. The forward had to check on to his left foot and could have supplied the unmarked Sanderson for the finish – but instead saw his left-footed shot saved.

The youngster, making his EFL debut, did get his chance shortly afterwards as Crowley dinked the ball up invitingly for him from the byline. He couldn’t wrap his foot around the volley, however, firing what proved to be the final chance of the game off-target.

STARTING XI: Stone; Cameron (Tipton 68'), Baldwin, Brindley (Rawlinson 68'); Jones (O'Brien 69'), Nemane (Adebayo 77'); Bostock, Austin, Crowley, Langstaff; McGoldrick (Sanderson 78')

UNUSED SUBS: Chicksen, Macari

ATTENDANCE: 12,785 (1,223) 

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