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Five star!

Posted on 26 August 2009  - 12:00

Goals from Tom Huddlestone, Jamie O'Hara, Peter Crouch, David Bentley and Roman Pavlyuchenko secured a convincing 5-1 victory over Doncaster Rovers in the Carling Cup at the Keepmoat Stadium on Wednesday night.

Five star!

Goals from Tom Huddlestone, Jamie O'Hara, Peter Crouch, David Bentley and Roman Pavlyuchenko secured a convincing 5-1 victory over Doncaster Rovers in the Carling Cup at the Keepmoat Stadium on Wednesday night.

This second round tie was effectively over at the break with the team 3-0 to the good, but a manager was there to be impressed, places to play for and further goals followed from a re-shaped line-up.

There were seven changes made to the team that began against West Ham on Sunday - Kyle Naughton, O'Hara, Bentley, Pavlyuchenko, Crouch and Giovani dos Santos were drafted in for their first starts of the season, while Alan Hutton made his second.

Carlo Cudicini pulled off a superb reaction save inside the first two minutes, a teasing cross from Gareth Roberts being met with a clean strike by James Hayter. A goal looked very much on the cards until the outstretched hand of the Italian goalkeeper denied a spot of early glory.

His reflexes were tested again three minutes later when a James Chambers cross from the right was again met with force, this time by John Oster. The stop was of equal quality to the first.

Rovers were certainly the dominant force, but an error at the back by Adam Lockwood cost his side dearly in the ninth minute, but Tom Huddlestone was brave and clinical in equal measure.

Lockwood aimed a loose pass at Sam Hird and Huddlestone, not initially favourite to win the ball, closed down Hird and seized possession before advancing and calmly slotting past Ben Smith in the Doncaster goal.

Smith could do nothing two minutes later when David Bentley slipped the ball into the area, Crouch left it in the knowledge that O'Hara was in position to take aim. His aim was true and the ball was quickly rifled into the top right corner of the net.

Oster forced Cudicini into further work, although not stretching him to the extent of the opening moments, before Hayter drilled across the face of goal and narrowly past the post.

Pavlyuchenko fired not too far over with 22 minutes on the clock after a Giovani shot was saved by Smith. Huddlestone, meanwhile, was a real driving force in midfield, snapping into tackles, as well providing his usual variety of precision passing.

On 37 minutes the advantage was extended to three. A Bentley corner was met by the diving head of Crouch, who angled his header across Smith and powered into the net.

The home crowd were stunned further into silence. Having watched their team begin with two clear cut chances that required Cudicini to be at his best, they were now witnessing a first half mauling, with O'Hara and Huddlestone keeping the engine purring and the clicking through the gears.

Lewis Guy attempted to spark Doncaster back into life at the beginning of the second half with a shot from distance that flew just wide with Cudicini grasping thin air. O'Hara then angled a shot inches wide after good work from Hutton and Giovani down the left.

In the 53rd minute the advantage was stretched to four when Giovani managed to squeeze the ball through to Bentley, who executed a fine finish from around penalty spot distance to the right of the area.

Bentley then attempted to turn provider with a devilish free-kick that picked out the head of Crouch and his power-header flew just over the bar.

Harry made a change just before the hour, withdrawing Sebastien Bassong with Huddlestone dropping back into defence. Kevin-Prince Boateng was introduced. He was straight into the thick of the action, blocking a shot with his hand inside the area. Referee Mr Booth allowed play to continue in order to determine whether there was an advantage or not, before pointing for a penalty. Martin Woods drilled home from the spot.

Guy's shot then struck the bar and the rebound bounced just over the head of Hayter, who looked in position to capitalise. Doncaster were salvaging some pride and, in turn, making their supporters find their voices again.

Pavlyuchenko got in on the act on 69 minutes, sprinting onto an excellent throughball from Boateng and slotting past Smith. It was a well deserved reward for a hard working performance from the Russian.

Harry's next move was to introduce Danny Rose for his debut at left-back, with Huddlestone making way and Hutton taking his turn at centre-half. Goalkeeper David Button was also granted a debut with eight minutes left on the clock, taking over from the impressive Cudicini.

O'Hara then rocketed an effort inches over before Byron Webster headed against the post in stoppage time. The draw for round three is on Saturday at 12.15pm.