FA Cup: Doncaster Rovers 2 Stevenage 3

Filipe Morais tries to win the ball back. Photo: Alan Millard

Filipe Morais tries to win the ball back. Photo: Alan Millard - Credit: Archant

Goals from Francois Zoko, Peter Hartley and Darius Charles put Stevenage through to the fourth round

Marcus Haber challenges the defender. Photo: Alan Millard

Marcus Haber challenges the defender. Photo: Alan Millard - Credit: Archant

Doncaster Rovers 2 Stevenage 3

FA Cup: third round

Stevenage booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup by winning this battle of two sides taking a break from struggles in their respective leagues.

Boro went into the game without a win from six league matches while Doncaster have not won since November 30, but in no way did Stevenage look like they were going to lose so poor were their hosts who only started to make inroads following the introduction of substitute Harry Forrester in the second half.

Stevenage’s goals came from Francois Zoko, in possibly his last game for the club, Peter Hartley, back in the team following injury, and Darius Charles in his first match since being injured in the Capital One Cup at the end of August.

The first half was edged by Boro and Filipe Morais had their first chance, the winger firing wide after cutting in from the right.

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Dean Furman, once a team-mate of Morais when current Doncaster boss Paul Dickov was in charge at Oldham Athletic, then tried his luck from distance, but running on to a bouncing ball he fired weakly wide.

The first shot on target was a half-chance from the boot of Luke Freeman. The Stevenage wide man took control of the ball at the far side of the Doncaster box before hitting his shot straight at ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Ross Turnbull who got down quickly.

Freeman then went close with a shot from 20 yards; this time faced with a more powerful effort, Turnbull was forced to dive full length to his left but watched as the ball flew past his post.

Stevenage took the lead three minutes into the second half, with Zoko getting the goal.

Dickov felt that there was a foul in the build up on Paul Quinn by Marcus Haber but the referee allowed play to continue and Zoko strolled into the box before side-footing past Turnbull.

Boro should have doubled their lead after superb play by Zoko saw him go past two players before setting up Freeman whose run into the centre of the box resulted in his shot deflecting out of play for a corner.

Doncaster made a double change with Forrester and Billy Paynter coming on for Furman and David Cotterill, but it was Boro who scored next when, on 65 minutes, Morais put his corner on to Hartley’s head for 2-0.

Doncaster took just six minutes to hit back – while half of their team were appealing for a penalty after Brown had fallen in the box in a challenge with Boro skipper Jon Ashton, Forrester allowed a clearance to bounce in front of him before unleashing a stunning strike past Day for the goal of the match.

Boro made two changes with Morais and Dean Parrett making way for Bruno Andrade and Sam Wedgbury, before soon afterwards Charles made his long-awaited comeback from injury when he came on for Haber.

Stevenage feel the striker has been a big miss for them, and he played a big part in this match when he finished off a fine break by Boro by tapping in Zoko’s pass from the right.

There was one more goal – a fluke cross from Liam Wakefield caught out Day and dipped inside the far post for 3-2 – while Turnbull was let off when he was only booked for a late foul on Michael Doughty as Boro broke forward.

The Boro bench were incensed, believing the goalkeeper should have been sent off, but soon afterwards the whistle blew to put an end to their anger and confirm their place in the hat for tomorrow’s (Sunday) draw.

Doncaster: Turnbull 5, Wakefield 6, Stevens 6, Woods 6, Quinn 5, McCullough 5, Duffy 7, Furman 6 (Paynter 57, 6), Syers 6, Brown 6 (Bennett 73), Cotterill 6 (Forrester 57, 8). Subs: Maxted, De Val Fernandez, Peterson, Khumalo.

Stevenage: Day 6, Jones 7, Hartley 7, Ashton 6, Chorley 6, Freeman 6, Parrett 7 (Wedgbury 75), Doughty 6, Morais 6 (Andrade 75), Haber 6 (Charles 77), Zoko 7. Subs: Arnold, Burrow, Akins, Smith.

Ref: Scott Duncan

Att: 3899 (324 away)