Scunthorpe United 1-3 Doncaster Rovers
Football League Championship
Billy Sharp returned to haunt his old club as Doncaster Rovers earned a derby day victory over Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park.
Sharp flourished in his two years as a Scunthorpe player, scoring 50 goals and leading The Iron to the League One title in 2007. But his double strike here for Rovers ensured that his old club would end the game empty-handed, despite going in front early on.
Eddie Nolan’s pinpoint cross picked out Martyn Woolford in the 11th minute, and Woolford rose to glance a fine header past Neil Sullivan in the Doncaster goal.
Woolford almost made it two just seconds later, in an attack that was a carbon copy of Scunthorpe’s opener. Nolan again picked out the winger, but this time Woolford’s header went the wrong side of the post.
Scunthorpe faded after their early dominance, and it was Sharp who made them pay as he equalised in the 31st minute. John Oster found Sharp with a clever pass, and the striker gathered the ball in before finishing clinically past Joe Murphy.
Sharp apologised to Scunthorpe fans for an over-zealous celebration in this fixture last season, but again he milked the moment as the fans that once adored him started to jeer.
Doncaster could have taken the lead before half time. The Scunthorpe defence failed to deal with a free kick into the box, but James Coppinger snatched at the ball and his effort flew over the bar.
Early in the second half, it was Scunthorpe’s turn to go close. Woolford dispatched a clever free kick into the box, and having sprung the Doncaster offside trap, Chris Dagnall found himself with ample time and space six yards out. But the former Rochdale man inexplicably screwed his shot down into the ground, and the ball bounced up off the top of the crossbar and out of play.
The Iron were left to rue that incredible miss, as Doncaster won a penalty. More sloppy defending from Scunthorpe allowed Sharp to dart into the box where he was felled by Rob Jones’ clumsy foul.
Sharp picked himself up to slot home the resultant spot kick, and put Doncaster into the lead for the first time.
Scunthorpe tried to get back into the game, but for all their good approach work lacked a cutting edge, and Sullivan was rarely troubled thereafter.
Instead it was Doncaster who sealed the points with a fine goal from James O’Connor. The Scunthorpe defence again backed off, and Coppinger’s delivery was met with a bullet header from O’Connor from 15 yards.
Coppinger himself could have made it four late on, but his effort was repelled by a combination of the post and the gloves of Murphy.