FULL TIME: Wanderers 3 Doncaster Rovers 0
WANDERERS got back to winning ways – killing this one stone dead with two goals inside six impressive first-half minutes before Neil Danns put the gloss on the result with a late third.
After initially struggling to break down the Doncaster barrier, new boy Joe Mason capped his first start by netting the opener from close range on 33 minutes.
That advantage was quickly doubled as Andre Moritz hit his second goal of the season via the inside of the post to bring the Whites level on points with local rivals Wigan, who provide the opposition at the DW Stadium next Sunday.
Dougie Freedman had made five changes – replacing Rob Hall, Zat Knight, Jermaine Beckford, Neil Danns and Medo Kamara with Mason, Chris Eagles, Alex Baptiste, Darren Pratley and Chung-Yong Lee.
And while few would argue the changes fared well, for 30 minutes the frustration of not being able to make the breakthrough threatened to undo Wanderers.
Darren Pratley scuffed a volley wide and then had a big penalty appeal turned down by ref Richard Clark after Ross Turnbull had pulled off a fine low save from Mason.
Doncaster looked intent on sitting back and snapping up chances on the break and they came within a hair’s breadth of taking the lead when Theo Robinson headed a corner against the woodwork 19 minutes in.
On balance of play it would have been harsh on Wanderers to find themselves down but they continued to try and carve out chances, with Mason and Moritz at the fulcrum of much of their good attacking work.
Richie Wellens’ last-ditch tackle prevented Moritz from opening the scoring but the White s managed to keep the pressure on, and moments later the Brazilian was feeding Mason with a fine chipped pass over the top, collected by the striker, before being stabbed home via a deflection.
Relief subsided, Wanderers quickly went about making it two, and after Mason had been denied a second by Turnbull’s low save, Moritz kept his calm on the edge of the box to drill home a curling shot off the inside of the post.
There were chances to make it three either side of the break but thanks largely to the stubbornness of Rovers’ keeper Turnbull, Freedman’s side did not completely run away with it.
The ex-Chelsea stopper twice blocked efforts from sub Neil Danns and also frustrated Moritz and Mason as they scampered through.
Matt Mills also had a header disallowed 15 minutes before the end.
Medo came off the bench and went close to finding the elusive third, bringing another fine save out of Turnbull after some excellent work by Chung-Yong Lee on the left.
Danns then grabbed the goal we’d all been waiting for after Hall and Mason had worked the ball down the right and cut the ball back to the edge of the box.