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22:48 24th September 2011

Doncaster Rovers 1 Crystal Palace 0

This match was one that caught the attention of the media on the eve of the game as the home side decided to make a change in management with former Wales international Dean Saunders being named boss as long serving boss Sean O'Driscoll departed. Dougie Freedman made eight changes from the midweek cup victory over Middlesbrough which included a starting place for Glenn Murray alongside Sean Scannell. The first real chance came on seven minutes for Palace as Mile Jedinak played the ball forward to find Scannell and as he shaped to shoot the ball was put out for the first corner of the afternoon. From the clearance of the corner the ball fell to Murray who tried an effort from 25 yards out and, with Neil Sullivan beaten, his shot landed on the roof of the net. In the tenth minute the Palace management were off the bench believing they should have had a penalty when Murray appeared to be brought down just inside the box but referee Chris Sarginson waved away the appeals. The home side's first effort on goal came from on loan striker Jon Parkin just past the twenty minute mark. He collected the ball from a pass through from ex-Eagle John Oster but the chance went wide of the target,  On the half hour mark Wilfried Zaha appeared to get fouled as he made his way towards goal but play continued and Jedinak found Ambrose down the left and his shot just went wide of the target with Sullivan only a spectator as the effort went past him. The midfielder had another chance three minutes before the break with a free kick from distance but his effort went over the bar. One late chance at the end of the half saw Sullivan saving low down from Murray as the striker broke clear after picking up a loose ball and made his way into the box. A half which didn't include many clear cut chances to either side came to an end after a minute of added time. Straight away at the start of the second half Palace won a corner and from that Ambrose set piece Murray's header was put over the bar by Sullivan.  It was not long before Ambrose was taking another corner after Zaha won it following a good counter attack but from this move Jedinak saw his shot go over the bar without troubling the goalkeeper. On 63 minutes Freedman made his first change of the afternoon from the bench as Jermaine Easter came on for Scannell. The deadlock was finally broken on 65 minutes when a shot from Oster took a cruel deflection off Aleksandar Tunchev and Speroni was left wrongfooted and he could only watch as the ball nestled into the corner of the net to give Saunders' men the lead. Easter was involved in another penalty shout as he picked up a ball from Murray and as he ran towards goal he appeared to be sent to the deck but once again the appeals were turned down. A change in midfield was made with fourteen minutes remaining as youngster Jonathan Williams came on for David Wright. The goalscorer was once again creating a chance on 79 minutes as he saw his shot deflected off Paddy McCarthy for a corner and from that Milan Lalkovic saw his left footed shot curl around Speroni as the keeper dived but it went wide of the target. Rovers had a chance to wrap the game up as substitute Billy Sharp found Lalkovic from 12 yards out but he put the ball over the bar with Speroni to beat. Four minutes of added time came and went but apart from a free kick from distance by Ambrose there was not to be anymore opportunities for the visitors to get something from the game. The match was settled by a fluke goal but Palace will be taking a look back on those decisions which went against them when penalty calls were made by referee Chris Sarginson on a couple of occasions. Teams Doncaster Sullivan, O'Connor, Martis, Naylor, Friend, Stock, Oster, Gillett, Coppinger (Lalkovic 57), Hayter, Parkin (Sharp 57). Subs Not Used: Gary Woods, Hird, Bennett. Crystal Palace Speroni, Ramage, McCarthy, Tunchev, Moxey, Ambrose, Jedinak, Wright (Williams 77), Zaha, Murray, Scannell (Easter 63). Subs Not Used: Price, Parr, Gardner. Att: 9, 362   Referee: Christopher Sarginson (Staffordshire).
    Data provided by Press Association