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Bramall Lane (ATT 26,555) 27th January 2009 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: A Wiley

Sheff Utd Sheffield United vs Doncaster Rovers Doncaster

Rovers rock rivals Blades

O'Connor grabs the only goal in South Yorkshire derby

Last Updated: 27/01/09 10:09pm

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O'Connor: Doncaster hero

O'Connor: Doncaster hero

Sheffield United suffered a first defeat of 2009 as Doncaster Rovers claimed a shock 1-0 win at Bramall Lane.

James O'Connor grabbed the only goal of the South Yorkshire derby to boost Rovers' hopes of avoiding relegation.

Danny Webber twice tested Doncaster keeper Neil Sullivan, with the Blades having won their previous five games in all competitions.

Billy Sharp had the first decent chance for the home side, sending his shot just wide in the 12th minute.

Gary Naysmith created United's next effort, breaking well before finding Greg Halford six yards from goal.

Halford connected with the cross but remarkably failed to force a save as his header flew harmlessly over the crossbar in the 20th minute.

Former Sunderland and Reading defender Halford tried his luck again two minutes later but he was no more successful from 20 yards than he had been from six.

Webber tested Sullivan's hands after 25 minutes and the Scottish keeper reacted nervily, fumbling his save.

But somehow Rovers held on, with Martin Woods offering a solitary effort on the home goal with a hopeful strike on the half-hour mark.

Spurred on

With five minutes to go before the whistle, Sullivan again saved sloppily from a 20-yard hit from Webber but the keeper did better when reacting smartly to punch a curling Stephen Quinn corner away from the danger area as the half came to a close.

Doncaster seemed to be spurred on by their good fortune in surviving the first period unscathed and were one goal up within five minutes of the restart.

First Jason Price and then O'Connor pressed forward for Sean O'Driscoll's revitalised side before John Spicer found space on the left side of the penalty area.

Spicer's cross found O'Connor at the far post and he converted left-footed from close range.

Kyle Naughton returned fire for United soon after but his shot from the edge of the box did not force Sullivan into action.

Kevin Blackwell sent on Jamie Ward just before an hour's play, removing the ineffective Sharp, but the game soon descended into a series of scrappy fouls.

Quinn had several chances to create an equaliser from the corner flag but an organised Doncaster defence were holding up well.

On the one occasion centre-half Chris Morgan did evade his marker to get on the end of Quinn's inswinging delivery, he headed wide from 12 yards.

Doncaster had created little after the opener and Richie Wellens was hopeful to think his effort, from at least 35 yards, would test Paddy Kenny.

Blackwell's side, though, were getting closer.

First Nick Montgomery teed up Darius Henderson, who wasted a good chance when heading over with 20 minutes left, then Ward earned a corner when his strongly-hit shot from inside the area was palmed over by Sullivan.

But United could not find the final ball and there were few further chances of note as Doncaster held on to the points.

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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 39 73
2 Watford 39 72
3 Middlesbrough 39 72
4 Norwich City 39 70
5 Derby County 39 67
6 Ipswich Town 39 67
7 Brentford 39 66
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 65
9 Nottingham Forest 39 57
10 Blackburn Rovers 39 54
11 Charlton Athletic 39 54
12 Sheffield Wednesday 39 53
13 Leeds United 39 52
14 Cardiff City 39 51
15 Birmingham City 38 47
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 39 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 45
18 Huddersfield Town 39 44
19 Reading 38 44
20 Fulham 39 43
21 Rotherham United 39 40
22 Wigan Athletic 39 35
23 Millwall 39 33
24 Blackpool 39 23