Doncaster Rovers 2-0 AFC Wimbledon: Dons in drop zone as Rovers march on
Fejiri Okenabirhie scored his tenth goal of the season for Doncaster Rovers in their victory over AFC Wimbledon. Photo: George Wood/Getty Images.

Doncaster Rovers moved up to fourth in League One with a comfortable home victory over AFC Wimbledon.

First-half goals from Fejiri Okenabirhie and Taylor Richards, both from outside the box, were enough for Darren Moore’s side to record a seventh win in their last eight league matches.

They closed the gap on second-placed Hull City to three points with as many games in hand, while they trail leaders Lincoln City by six ahead of a trip to Sincil Bank on Saturday.

In contrast, the defeat for Wimbledon saw them drop back into the relegation zone with their winless run in the league extended to 10 matches.

Story of the match

After a Covid-19 outbreak and an FA Cup run which ended last weekend at West Ham United, all focus was now on Doncaster’s promotion push and they set about displaying their credentials from the start with some incisive passing amidst an exciting, end-to-end opening.

Two key defensive interventions denied them early but there was no stopping the blast from more than 25 yards which gave them a 10th-minute lead. Okenabirhie released a first-time effort with enough power to fly past Sam Walker and into the bottom corner, the striker’s tenth goal of the campaign.

Despite their lowly league position, Wimbledon showed bright signs and looked a threat on the counter, but Jack Rudoni put their best effort of the half over the crossbar on the volley.

Their defence was holding on at the other end as Doncaster tried to play through it, until seemingly realising their best hopes were from distance instead. Moments after Brad Halliday smacked the crossbar with a brilliant drive, Richards had a go himself from the edge of the box and a deflection off Will Nightingale gave Walker no chance.

Glyn Hodges’ side reappeared in the second half with more endeavour and substitute George Dobson, on loan from Sunderland, hit the post after home goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe palmed into his path. Another loanee, defender Darnell Johnson on debut from Leicester City, then headed wide from a corner.

Suddenly a two-goal lead didn’t feel quite as secure, and Wimbledon top scorer Joe Pigott had one close effort blocked by Tom Anderson and a more optimistic one claimed by Balcombe. Now it was Doncaster playing on the counter, Richards and Halliday both seeing efforts from outside the box fielded by Walker.

But the visitors’ hopes ran down with the clock, and it was only Rovers threatening further goals in the closing stages as Walker kept out both Elliot Simoes and Reece James with good stops from close range to limit the damage. Pigott headed onto the roof of the net in added time, but far too late.

Man of the match: Fejiri Okenabirhie (Doncaster)

Led the line superbly all night, providing exemplary hold-up and line-up play as well as firing in a superb opener to set Rovers on their way.