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Crewe Alexandra vs Doncaster Rovers. Sky Bet League Two Play-Offs Semi-Final.

Mornflake Stadium.

Crewe Alexandra 0

    Doncaster Rovers 2

    • L Molyneux (34th minute)
    • H Biggins (48th minute)

    Crewe Alexandra 0-2 Doncaster Rovers: Luke Molyneux and Harrison Biggins on target in League Two play-off semi-final

    Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final first leg between Crewe Alexandra and Doncaster Rovers at the Mornflake Stadium on Monday; Luke Molyneux and Harrison Biggins on target for visitors

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    Highlights of the Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final first-leg match between Crewe Alexandra and Doncaster Rovers.

    Doncaster Rovers took a giant step towards the League Two play-off final as goals from Luke Molyneux and Harrison Biggins in either half secured a 2-0 victory over Crewe Alexandra a the Mornflake Stadium.

    Molyneux finished off a sweeping move to give Grant McCann's side the lead (34) and Biggins pounced on a mistake by Mickey Demetriou to double Rovers' advantage just three minutes into the second half.

    Biggins was immediately forced off the field with a suspected hamstring injury and will be assessed ahead of the second leg on Friday, live on Sky Sports.

    Chris Long missed Crewe's best chance late on when he flicked a header over but following a fourth straight home defeat, all the momentum is with Doncaster, with the winners facing either Crawley or MK Dons at Wembley on Sunday May 19.

    Doncaster produce perfect away performance

    Luke Molyneux fired Doncaster into a first-half lead
    Image: Luke Molyneux fired Doncaster into a first-half lead

    This proved a step too far for Lee Bell's injury-ravaged squad. Doncaster have a foot in the final and an iron grip on this tie. In Joe Ironside, they had the game's best player who inspired this 11th win in 13 outings.

    Crewe, who won just 12 of their last 12 games, made a very bright start as Thimothee Lo-Tutala had to be at full stretch to keep out Rio Adebisi's header from Mickey Demetriou's long throw inside seven minutes.

    Doncaster finished in fifth place during the regular season having sat 20th just two months ago. They were brimming with confidence heading into the play-offs - but they were again forced into some crucial last-ditch defending as Tom Anderson blocked a cross from Shilow Tracey destined for Elliott Nevitt in the centre.

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    Molyneux slides on his knees after opening the scoring
    Image: Molyneux slides on his knees after opening the scoring

    Doncaster absorbed the early onslaught, however, with Molyneux testing Max Stryjek midway through the first half from distance. He would soon be celebrating his 11th goal of a productive campaign.

    Hakeeb Adelakun and Matthew Craig combined down the left for the latter to pull back his cross and there was Molyneux at the near post to lift his shot high into the roof of the net.

    Crewe's immediate response was a 25-yard effort from youngster Matus Holicek which just cleared the crossbar.

    Matúš Holíček and Luke Molyneux vy for possession
    Image: Matus Holicek and Molyneux vie for possession

    McCann's side came close to doubling their lead before the break when Adelakun set up Harrison Biggins for a right-foot curler on the edge of the box which struck the woodwork.

    Three minutes into the second half, Doncaster would double their lead as a mistake from Mickey Demetriou allowed Ironside to set up Biggins for a simple finish.

    The goal celebrations proved to be the last action for Biggins, though, as he limped off to be replaced by Tommy Rowe.

    Crewe boss Lee Bell also reached for the bench with the tie slipping away from the Railwaymen in their home leg, by drafting Conor Thomas into the middle and bringing on Courtney Baker-Richardson and Chris Long to try and pep up an ailing attack.

    There would be very little in the way of a response from the hosts, but they came close to halving the deficit when Rio Adebisi's cross was helped on by Zac Williams but substitute Long could direct his header on target.

    Molyneux was looking to add a third when he broke clear and his blast was diverted around at the near post by Max Stryjek.

    What the managers said

    Luke Molyneux celebrates giving Doncaster the lead at Crewe
    Image: Molyneux celebrates giving Doncaster the lead

    Crewe boss Lee Bell: "I thought we started off the game really well without creating full-on chances. We've gifted them two goals but the tie is not over. We've been 2-0 down at half-time and come back. We've still now got a full game to do the same.

    "We have to look back at this game and be more ruthless in the final third if we want to get anything out of this tie. We're going to need the fans again at Doncaster. But this isn't over. We'll put a plan together and see what happens.

    "We're really struggling with injuries with players playing when they probably shouldn't do but we'll keep going and we still believe we can turn this around. The spirit and character we've got in the dressing room is our biggest strength. We're going to need it more than ever on Friday."

    Grant McCann was impressed by his Doncaster side
    Image: Grant McCann was impressed by his Doncaster side

    Doncaster boss Grant McCann: "I'm pleased with the result. It took us a little while to get going but we scored a really good goal for the opener. I thought we controlled large periods of the game in the second half and scored another good goal but we know it's only half time.

    "Hopefully we can perform like that again on Friday. The boys are playing with really good confidence. It was cagey early on and they had a couple of half chances. But when the second went in, we were in control.

    "We will go to win the game on Friday which is all we've done since I've been in here. It's how I like to play football. We won't be sitting back."

    Ironside: Our gaffer had a vision

    Harrison Biggins celebrates doubling Doncaster's lead at Crewe
    Image: Biggins celebrates doubling Doncaster's lead at Crewe

    Doncaster striker Joe Ironside told Sky Sports:

    "We knew with the talent we've got that if we were given a chance, we'd take it. It's a good performance from the boys and we defended well and scored some goals.

    "We put our form down to a belief in the process. When the gaffer first came in, he had a vision. We didn't start great but he said it is all about how you finish and we've got the momentum."

    What's next?

    Live EFL

    Crewe and Doncaster will face off against one another in the second leg at the Eco-Power Stadium at 8pm on Friday May 10, live on Sky Sports Football.

    The winners will advance to the Sky Bet League Two play-off final, which will be played at Wembley on Sunday May 19.

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