MATCH REPORT: Doncaster 3 Fleetwood 0

The referee inspects a sink hole at Doncaster
The referee inspects a sink hole at Doncaster

The appearance of a sink hole just before kick-off was to be an omen as Fleetwood Town dug themselves deeper into a relegation battle with a dismal 3-0 defeat at Doncaster.

That hole at the Keepmoat Stadium was filled in with sand but Town's leaky defence could not find as simple a solution to their problems at the back as they were rocked by two first half Doncaster goals.

The sink hole

The sink hole

They were blows Rosler's side could never recover from and the Town boss is now under increasing pressure after Fleetwood slipped to their seventh straight defeat and nearer to the drop zone.

Reality has now well and truly hit home that Fleetwood are in the midst of a relegation battle and it was a torrid performance by a team that can not justify it's League One status just simply by having a talented squad.

A side with a caliber of players like Paddy Madden, Toumani Diagouraga, Kyle Dempsey and Conor McAleny, who again found himself on the bench, should not be in this position or losing to a Doncaster side who managed to rock Town on their first attack.

It was just once again too easy, the full-back positions since the departure of Conor McLaughlin in the summer and tellingly left-back Amari'i Bell who was sold just after Fleetwood's last league win - the 2-1 victory at Southend - in January have been major areas of weakness for Fleetwood this term.

As too has the goalkeeping position with neither right-back Lewie Coyle and shot-stopper Alex Cairns covering themselves in glory for Doncaster's 15th minute opener that was ultimately to knock the stuffing out of the side as heads once again dropped.

Coyle was one of three players brought back into the side by Rosler after Tuesday's late loss to Shrewsbury Town as Cian Bolger returned from suspension and Wes Burns was recalled as Fleetwood returned to 4-3-3.

That attacking set-up saw Fleetwood create some early chances but they were wasted as Burns nodded wide, Madden headed straight at Marko Marosi and Hunter also fired off target.

With their radar off up top Town were always vulnerable at the back despite the return of Bolger and all it took from Doncaster was simply to run at Town and ask the question.

John Marquis flew into the box and breezed past a Fleetwood side that was once again statuesque, with no tackle flying in from Coyle it was effortless for the Doncaster man to roll the ball into the mix for former Fleetwood man Alex Kiwomya to bundle the ball under Cairns as he outfoxed Eastham and Bolger with Cairns again failing to stop an effort he should have done better with.

As it has done this season, things went from bad to worse for Town as another mistake by Cairns saw Doncaster double their lead.

Alfie Beestin twice tested Cairns as the keeper looked to have shaken off that earlier blow, but it was not to last.

The free-kick that lead to the second was questionable with Bolger harshly ruled to have fouled Anderson just outside the box.

But that age old Achilles Heel of set-piece defending, or lack of it, once again felled Fleetwood as Marquis' low strike went under the jumping wall and hammered straight into Cairns though he could only parry the ball straight to Anderson with Town's defence once again nowhere to be seen in the 27th minute.

As we have seen throughout the season, that second goal is often the hammer blow for Fleetwood and with heads dropping throughout the side there looked to be no way back for this Rosler side.

Before kick-off Town were just three points off this Doncaster side which were by no means world beaters, in fact the key to their success was just simply to put a cross into the mix and simply, put pressure on Town.

This winless streak has seen Town's confidence sapped but Cairns recovered just before the break to pull off a fine save to thwart Anderson who had wriggled free at the back stick to connect with, you guessed it, another set-piece situation that saw Town unravel.

Something had to be done at the break and as he always does Rosler threw the dice with his substitutions sending on forwards McAleny and Jordy Hiwula for midfielder Grant and full-back O'Connor. That attacking move saw a surprise switch by Burns to right back with Coyle swapping over to left-back and McAleny deployed in a midfield role.

Yet despite a plethora of attackers on the pitch it was the opposition who once again asked the questions.

Beestin found himself in space in the area again and his strike kissed the post in the 51st minute but the hosts did not have to wait long for that third goal and it will not take a genius to guess how Fleetwood fell once again.

That Heel once again wobbled with Anderson mopping up after Town's failure to clear a set-piece.

Doncaster looked comfortable at 2-0 but at 3-0 they were out of sight and it was evident from the body language of the players that they too felt a chance of points was lost.

Though to their credit they did keep plugging away to try and find a way back with Dempsey, Hiwula and Coyle all having chances though it was more a case of Doncaster sitting back than attacking ingenuity from Fleetwood.

That lack of ingenuity was part of the melting pot of ingredients that along with a failure to defend set-pieces, fragility of the full-backs and some questionable keeping saw Town slide to their seventh straight defeat and left Rosler wishing that that hole had stayed open as Town fell nearer to the trap door.

Fleetwood are now level on points with 21st-placed Oldham and the threat of relegation is now no longer a threat but perhaps reality.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Bolger, O'Connor (Hiwula, 46), Dempsey, Diagouraga, Grant (McAleny, 46), Burns (Jones, 60) Madden, Hunter. Subs not used: Neal, Pond, Schwabl, Sowerby.

Doncaster: Marosi, Alcock, McCullough, Mason, Marquis, Rowe, Anderson, Beestin (Blair, 79), Kiwomya (May, 72), Boyle, Coppinger. Subs: Lawlor, Whiteman, May, Houghton, Kongolo, Baudry.

Referee: D Drysdale.

Attendance: 7013 (144 Fleetwood)