HomeMatch Reports2002-2003 - Wigan Athletic 0 Doncaster Rovers 1

LDV Vans Trophy First Round - Tuesday 12th November 2002

Wigan Athletic
Wigan Athletic
Doncaster Rovers
Doncaster Rovers
Mark Albrighton 67
Kick-off: 19:45
Venue: JJB Stadium
Referee: Mark Cowburn (Blackpool)
Attendance: 2,030

Report by: John Patrick Heeley

Wigan Athletic lost for the first time since the end of August with Conference side Doncaster Rovers taking a prize scalp away from the JJB Stadium with a deserved 1-0 win thanks to a goal midway through the second half.

The LDV Vans Trophy may not be the most glamorous of competitions, low attendances in the early rounds only go to prove that, and it may not have been high on the list of Paul Jewell's priorities, but a defeat is a defeat at the end of the day and when it comes at home against a side made up of amateurs and league rejects who are currently two divisions below them it is obviously going to upset a few people.

Doncaster however are currently battling hard in the Conference and are a good bet for a return to the Football League after a 5 year absence and it would be difficult to differentiate between Rovers' performance and that of many of the opposition sides that have graced the field in league encounters.

The South Yorkshire side made their first visit to Wigan in almost six years, a time when Latics were heading for promotion from the Third Division as champions, so this was obviously their debut game at the JJB Stadium, slightly grander surroundings than their previous jaunt across the Pennines.

However, Wigan's status as the form team in Division Two and the salubrious surroundings of their £39 million stadium didn't overawe Dave Penney's side who battled from the outset and where still there at the end.

Paul Jewell, as expected, did change the side around considerably but it was still a strong line up that started the game with a wealth of experience on the bench as well.

Jason De Vos was rested altogether after he strained a thigh muscle prior to the weekend win at Bloomfield Road with Matt Jackson returning from his one match suspension to captain the side and partner Ian Breckin in the centre of the back four.

John Filan dropped to the bench ending a 47 match straight run in the starting line up, ever present since he joined the club 11 months ago.

43-year-old Dave Beasant stepped in to make his Wigan debut, giving the Aussie keeper a well earned rest, and in doing so became the oldest player to appear for Latics since they entered the Football League in 1978.

Gary Teale partnered Neil Roberts in attack leaving Nathan Ellington to warm the bench alongside Filan with Tony Dinning and Jason Jarrett also amongst the substitutes as Mike Flynn and Ged Brannan, making his first appearance since mid September after recovering from injury, took up the central midfield roles.

Gary Teale saw his shot well saved in the 12th minute and Neil Roberts had an effort blocked by the keeper soon after.

Peter Kennedy went close for the home side in the 14th minute he stuck a boot on the end of a left wing centre from Nicky Eaden with Rovers keeper Andy Warrington only managing to parry the ball but a defender was on hand to clear the danger.

The Northern Ireland international saw a second attempt on goal take a deflection from 20 yards out a minute later with Eaden chasing the rebound but again a defender was on hand, this time putting behind for a corner.

Beasant made his first real save of note with a minute of normal time remaining in the first half when he got down low to block at close range from former Rushden and Diamonds striker Justin Jackson.

Moments later Gary Teale blasted over the bar from outside of the area as the first half finished goalless.

Paul Jewell made two changes for the second half with Nathan Ellington and young left back Leighton Baines taking to the field in place of Mike Flynn and Neil Roberts.

Doncaster were the first to go on the offensive after the break with Dave Beasant eventually collecting a cross from former Halifax and Scunthorpe midfielder Jamie Paterson.

At the other end Ellington cracked the post and then header a Nicky Eaden right wing cross over from yards out.

Scott Green could have done better minutes later when he beat the offside trap and chased onto a through ball from Leighton Baines but he couldn't finish the move off properly, allowing the keeper to save.

Paterson wasted a chance to put the Conference side into the lead just before the hour mark when a long ball forward from Dave Morley was nudged on by journeyman Paul Barnes with Paterson getting the better of the Wigan defence but luckily for the league side the 29-year-old midfielder blazed his shot over the bar with Beasant seemily beat.

Rovers were awarded a free kick out on the left flank following a foul on Justin Jackson by Matt Jackson with 66 minutes on the clock.

Skipper Gareth Owen took the responsibility of delivering it into the middle of the penalty area and MARK ALBRIGHTON stole in to flick the ball past a helpless Beasant.

Doncaster continued to look strong and defended well in the closing stages of the game as Wigan put them under a bit of pressure as they looked for an equaliser with Ellington probably coming the closest when he darted forward through the middle of the Doncaster rearguard but his shot from 20 odd yards failed to test Warrington who comfortably collected.

Various stoppages, including treatment for Doncaster defender Simon Marples who took the full impact of a fierce Leighton Baines shot full in the face, saw the Blackpool official add 5 minutes of stoppage time to the end of the second half but Wigan never looked like scoring despite the efforts of Dave Beasant who raced upfield for a corner kick.

The final whistle when it arrived signalled the end of Latics' participation in this season's competition, their 16 match unbeaten run and saw Doncaster victorious on Wigan soil in this tournament for the second time following on from their 2-1 victory in the Northern Quarter Final tie at Springfield Park in January 1990 when a Jimmy Carberry goal proved not enough with Rovers grabbing an extra time winner and eventually reaching the Northern Final where they lost out over two legs against eventual winners Tranmere.

With another Conference side to face in the FA Cup on Saturday Paul Jewell will be hoping his players can pick themselves up in time and not suffer the same fate as they take on Hereford in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

  • Doncaster Rovers
  • Andy Warrington
  • Simon Marples
  • Tim Ryan
  • Dave Morley
  • Mark Albrighton
  • Gareth Owen
  • Paul Barnes
  • Justin Jackson
  • Jamie Paterson 88
  • Jamie Price
  • Ben Muirhead 88
  • Stuart Nelson
  • Robert Gill
  • Paul Green 88
  • Steve Foster
  • Ricky Ravenhill 88
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