Category Archives: Match Report

Doncaster Rovers vs Scunthorpe United report

Well after all the build up and excitement of recent games, what a massive let down that was…

  • Rovers started lively but were soon deflated by Madden’s 20th minute goal. While there was more than a touch of offside about his close range finish, the ball should never have been allowed to get as far as the back post in the first place. Alcock had diverted a similar cross behind for a corner only moments earlier and this should have been a warning sign.
  • Following the goal Rovers really were woeful with nobody having the confidence to bring the ball down and try and play it. Rovers attacking trimutive of Williams, Tyson and Grant were completely marked out of the game.
  • Rovers were ponderous in possession allowing a sea of yellow to engulf any player who did find himself in a decent position. In comparison the Iron often found themselves in acres of space and if anyone looked like scoring before half time, it was the visitors.
  • Harry Middleton has been excellent during Rovers resurgence but this perhaps was a game too far for the young midfielder. Too often he was overran in the middle of the park and it probably came as a relief to him when he was sacrificed at half time for Paul Keegan.
  • Rovers started the second half brightly with Keegan offering a calming presence in midfield and Copps finally leading by example (the least you would expect of your captain in a local derby) with some excellent passes as well as a couple of good tackles.
  • Nobody comes close to Paul Keegan in the tackling stakes though and one particular cruncher just inside Scunthorpe’s half was almost the catalyst for a Rovers come back as the Black Bank roared its approval.
  • Further substitutions  followed and while Stewart and N’guessan were an improvement on Lund and Tyson it always felt like an equalizer would be just beyond Rovers grasp. Cameron Stewart came closest with his long range, curling effort thumping off the bar and out for a goal kick. Not our day.
  • Andy Butler is an excellent defender but in a formation that calls for quick, counter attacking football, his lack of any kind of actual footballing ability is becoming a problem. Too many times Butler headed blindly forward when he had the time to bring the ball down and play it.
  • Whilst it jars against Rovers perceived dominance in the second half, Scunthorpe actually had more possession and more shots on target than Rovers over 90 minutes. A more telling statistic is Scunthorpe’s 3 bookings and 13 fouls compared to 0 bookings and 7 fouls for Rovers. It may not have been pretty but local derby’s rarely are. Which side truly wanted it more?

Winners

James Coppinger – Probably Copps best 45 minutes of football since the glorious second half against Leeds as he took the game by the scruff of the neck and almost grabbed Rovers an equalizer with his excellent turn and volley that was well saved by Luke Daniels.

Paul Keegan – Calm, assured, accurate passing. It remains to be seen whether Paul Keegan has the legs to fit in to Darren Ferguson’s 5-3-2 formation but on this evidence, Middleton should receive a well deserved rest against Oldham on Monday.

The Black Bank – Despite Rovers turgid first half performance the Black Bank never stopped singing. Obviously buoyed by recent events against Crewe and Burton, the Rovers fans remained vocal right until the end.

Scunthorpe’s defence – Probably the best defensive performance I have seen all season. Scunthorpe pressed high, gave Rovers no time on the ball and formed a yellow brick wall at the penalty spot even as Rovers surged forward more and more. Pains me to say it but a deserved win the Iron.

Losers

Conor Grant – Something had to give with the Everton loanee’s mightily impressive recent performances and sure enough he was totally anonymous against Scunthorpe on boxing day. With his talent you would think this is a blip rather than a downturn in form however.

Mitchell Lund – Despite playing some of his best football, Lund has been subbed in each of Rovers last three games. You feel that as soon as Ferguson finds a replacement, the youngster will have to settle for a place on the bench.

Nathan Tyson – Cut a frustrated figure throughout and other than one first half surge offered little against a resolute Scunthorpe defence. Could have been sent off for a petulant kick out just before being hauled off by Ferguson. A world apart from his hat trick in this same fixture last season.

Doncaster Rovers vs Burton Albion – Match Report

Since when has following Rovers been so damn entertaining!

Match Report DRFC vs BAFC

  • Where to start! In a game full of flash points Rovers struck first blood when Andy Williams brilliantly brought down Mitchell Lund’s cross and fired in a great finish. Lund had something to prove after being hauled off against Crewe and he offered more going forward in this game than in all his previous outings in the red and white hoops.
  • The only surprise about the first Burton equalizer was how long it took to arrive with Burton completely in control of the first half. Rovers couldn’t string two passes together with the Brewers suffocating Conor Grant and in doing so cutting off the supply line to Tyson and Williams.
  • Whilst Middleton and Grant were being overrun in the middle, the annoyingly excellent Mark Duffy was repeatedly tearing Rovers apart and he should have scored when put through 1 on 1 in the first half.
  • It was surprising to see Rovers come out after half time with the same line up and formation and sure enough Burton immediately took control once again.
  • Despite Burton’s dominance Rovers should have taken the unlikeliest of leads shortly after half time after Tyson was wrongly adjudged to have been fouled by referee Mark Haywood. Williams resulting penalty was surprisingly poor. It is possible he was still reeling from giving the ball away under no pressure for Burton’s equalizer.
  •  Williams penalty miss was enough to make Darren Ferguson act and he brought on Keegan and McCullough to try and win back the midfield battle that had been so emphatically lost in the first half and presumably to get Evina off the pitch before Duffy reduced him to tears.
  •  It must have been doubly frustrating then for Ferguson that Burton went ahead from a simple ball through the middle with Calum Butcher once again showcasing some calm finishing.
  • Ferguson’s change of personnel and tactics finally started to pay off after Burton went ahead and it was this coupled with Rovers new never say die attitude that resulted in a deserved equalizer albeit from the unlikeliest of sources. People audibly groaned when Keegan stepped up to take the free kick – how wrong we were. Two direct free kicks scored in consecutive games. Not seen that since the days of Kevin Mcintyre!
  • From there Rovers edged a thrilling end to end contest and it was no surprise to see the reds take the lead after a needless push on Andy Butler in the box. Tyson’s penalty was dispatched confidently and I hope he remains our number one spot kick taker going forward. Wonderful scenes when Tyson scored and it started to feel like another chapter in the book ‘Games we never would have won under Dickov Vol. III’
  • Alas it was not to be. Burton threw everything at Rovers but it took a moment of real quality to draw level as Duffy combined with Abdenasser El Khayati to score the best goal of the day. A fitting end to a thrilling contest that neither side deserved to lose

Winners

The Rovers Fans – How nice is it to actually be excited to attend games again? Under Darren Ferguson it genuinely feels like anything could happen and the last two games alone have been more exciting than anything Dickov served up during his turgid spell as Rovers manager. With Scunthorpe and Stoke up next at the Keepmoat as well as winnable away games at Oldham and Southend there is sure to be more drama in the near future.

Mark Duffy – Pains me to say it but The Duff Man was by far and away the best player on the pitch on Saturday and he deserved his equalizing goal. It is clear to see why Burton are top of the league as they are quick and incisive when attacking. Wish it had been anyone else though…

Conor Grant – After being totally cut out of the game in the first half it could have been easy for the young Everton loanee’s head to drop but he forced himself back into the match and by the end he was bossing the midfield area with some calm and intelligent passing. It will be interesting to see how Rovers cope if he does go back to Everton.

Paul Keegan – Take a fucking bow Keegs. Keegan has his detractors but his glorious free kick was a moment to savour. A proper ‘I was there’ moment.

Stuckmann and Alcock – While all around them were losing their heads, Stuckmann and Alcock kept things respectable at the Pirelli stadium with a series of great saves and last ditch tackles. Alcock was also excellent in the air all afternoon.

Losers

Harry Middleton – Maybe a game too far for Middleton who looked tired. The game passed him by for large spells but he is still learning and you would back him to come back stronger based on his recent performances.

Andy Williams – Despite scoring his 10th goal of the season it was an afternoon to forget for the former Swindon man as he gave the ball away needlessly for the first goal and also missed a penalty. It has been an unbelievable turn around in fortunes for Williams since Ferguson arrived and he is still on course to hit 20 goals in all competitions.

Mark Heywood – The referee gave some baffling decisions against both sides and was indecisive throughout. Most annoyingly of all Heywood was inconsistent as Andy Butler was booked for a nothing foul while other more serious infringements (from both sides) went unpunished.

Doncaster Rovers vs Crewe Alexandra

As a fellow Rovers fan so succinctly put it ‘that is how you win a fucking football game’…

Rovers vs Crewe_report

  • As always I was writing this match report in my head throughout the game and I had to change the tone and narrative about four times. What. A. Game.
  • Under Paul Dickov, Rovers scored 5 goals in 9 games in all competitions this season. Under Ferguson Rovers have now scored 17 goals in 11 games. This is a team transformed.
  • Crewe arrived at the Keepmoat with seemingly no game plan other than show up and hope for the best. When they found themselves 1-0 up they looked like they had no idea what to do and it was inevitable that Rovers would equalize (shout out Conor Grant). It would have been a scandal if Callum Saunders goal had won the match for the Railwaymen after constant second half pressure from Rovers.
  • Speaking of young Saunders, he once sought me out on Twitter after I had slagged off relegation specialist and Callum’s father Dean Saunders. Never mind ay son. Enjoy league 2.
  • Whilst rovers success under Ferguson has been built on attack, the defence has also performed admirably. It was two (admittedly awful) lapses in concentration that led to Crewe’s goals rather than a bad defensive performance as a whole. Stuckmann was back to his best and Butler and Alcock are mostly performing well together.
  • The two wing backs however had more mixed fortunes with Evina struggling to get in the game and Lund’s first touch constantly letting him down. Lund has been much improved as part of a central back three but he proved again today that he isn’t good enough going forward to play full/wing back.
  • The obvious answer to Lund offering no attacking threat was to push Alcock to right wing back and bring Lund back into central defence. Fergie is nothing if not adventurous though and his decision to call on Cameron Stewart changed the game. No other Rovers player is capable of scoring a free kick from that position. Sumptuous.
  • Now to Andy Williams glorious winner. To have the composure to turn and get a shot away like that showed true quality. Goal number 9 for the former Swindon man. If he keeps performing like this there is no reason why Williams can’t get 20+ goals again this season.

Winners

Conor Grant – Another assured performance from the Everton loanee capped off by his 4th Rovers goal. Grant looks a better player than Ryan Mason did when he was at Rovers albeit in a division lower. The youngster will be happening to follow in Mason’s footsteps rather than those of John Lundstram.

Grant coming in for Wellens has probably been the biggest catalyst behind Rovers recent upturn in fortunes. Meanwhile Richie Wellens new club Oldham slid into the relegation zone today.

Harry Middleton – Middleton’s work rate allows the likes of Grant and Evina the freedom to express themselves further up the pitch. At just 20 Middleton has the potential to be the next Paul Green. No pressure son.

Andy Williams – Williams has scored some quality and important goals this season but his goal today truly seemed like the proper start of his career at Rovers. Watching that goal fly in through the pouring rain felt like a season defining moment. For the first time it feels like Rovers genuinely could have a shot at the play offs. Move aside Billy, the Black Bank has a new hero…

Losers

Crewe – Despite being seconds away from an unlikely victory, Alex were bereft of ideas and vulnerable defensively. With fellow strugglers Blackpool winning away at Wigan it was a dark day for Crewe.

Harry Forrester – Not even on the bench. It is not hyperbole to suggest that we probably won’t see Forrester in a Rovers shirt again.

Scunthorpe United – Rovers are hitting scintillating form just in time for our annual humbling of Scunthorpe. Roll on Boxing Day!

People who leave football games early – You get everything you deserve. Support your team until the final whistle!

Doncaster Rovers vs Stalybridge Celtic

What could have been a potential banana skin ended as a little more than a glorified training session. Rob Johnson dissects Rovers second consecutive home victory:

 

  • Well that was easy! From the moment Tyson’s brilliant run and cross was fired home by Andy Williams to the final whistle, Rovers were in complete control. No goals conceded from set pieces. No injuries. The closest Rovers came to an uncomfortable moment was when a Stalybridge fan exposed his magnificent Northern arse cheeks to the cold November air.
  • Having said that this should have been a walk in the park considering that Ferguson undoubtedly picked his strongest side with Mattioni coming in for Cameron Stewart as the only change from Saturdays victory over Colchester. The first XI stepped up to the challenge accordingly and swept Stalybridge away.
  • Front to back this was a strong performance from Rovers with Stuckmann having little to do but looking convincing when Stalybridge did trouble the reds, particularly a close range header in the second half. The back four were once again composed and solid since the switch to 5-3-2 and Middleton and Grant made for a hard working engine room which again gave Coppinger, Tyson, Evina and Williams a platform to build from.
  • Coppinger actually didn’t do a great deal but he showed glimpses of what has kept him in the first XI for 12 years and based on his improvement in the last few games he is once again being picked on talent and merit rather than reputation. The roar and standing ovation during the 26th minute were a testament to everything Copps has achieved at Rovers. Two stadiums, four promotions, numerous players and managers and 469 appearances. As I said when writing about Colin Cramb, the word legend is thrown around a lot these days, particularly in football, but in the case of James Coppinger it is the only word to describe what he means to the club and to the fans.
  • What was promising was the link up play between Copps and Mattioni. Copps has played in front of some absolute dross in the last few years and he thrived from having someone on his wavelength overlapping and linking up. Mattioni was a revelation. Quick, skillful, positive, he was everything you look for in a full/wing back. I tried not to get to excited as this is only Stalybridge Celtic after all but when Mattioni beat three men and played a perfect ball to Copps in the second half I definitely felt my dick move.

Winners

Tyson & Williams – Nathan Tyson’s determined cut back and Williams composed finish are hopefully a sign of things to come this season as the partnership clicked immediately against Stalybridge. Williams continued where he left off against Colchester and he was unlucky not to get a hat trick.

Cedric Evina – From laughing stock to one of the first names on the team sheet. Nobody would begrudge Evina such a meteoric rise. His work rate and willingness to run at players was once again a joy to watch against Stalybride.

The Stalybridge fans – Decent numbers and made a fair bit of a noise. The Celtic boys put a lot of league 1 clubs to shame. Extra marks for a couple of verses of ‘We all hate Leeds scum’

 

Losers

Harry Forrester – It shows how influential Forrester is that I have written about him so much this season even though he has barely played. It is hard to image that he won’t go elsewhere in January and that is a shame but something must be going on to keep him so firmly on the bench.

The Rovers stewards – Don’t they know the only way to end a pitch invasion is for ten of them to jump on the offender and beat the shit out of him? Send them back to stewarding school.

Man of the Match – Could have been Mattioni, Williams, Evina or Grant but for me Harry Middleton was the best player on the pitch. A complete performance. Bad news for Richie Wellens.

Doncaster Rovers vs Colchester – Match Report

All the talking points from the emphatic 2-0 victory over Colchester:

DRFC match report

  • Copps assist. Williams goal. From open play. In front of the Black Bank. A number of demons finally exorcized there. Fitting for Halloween.

  •  For Copps the pressure was higher than usual after his compatriot Richie Wellens was dropped to the bench. With two assists and the man of the match award his selection was more than vindicated.

  • Team selection was bold all over the pitch with Ferguson opting to play three at the back and wing backs. This worked to a degree with Lund looking much more comfortable having been relieved of the duty to do any kind of attacking but Cameron Stewart clearly struggled at right wing back and Rovers were lucky that Stuckmann was on fine form to deny a couple of dangerous looking shots that resulted from Stewart’s defensive indiscipline.

  • A massively inexperienced central midfield duo of Middleton and debutant Conor Grant was also a gamble for Ferguson but both were excellent in breaking up play and feeding Tyson, Williams and Coppinger further forward. Grant in particular looked assured in possession and his stunning opening goal was the icing on the cake of a very strong performance. Chaplow and Gobern must have winced as Grant’s strike hit the back of the net…

  • Colchester have conceded the most goals in the football league this season and it is easy to see why. If James Coppinger is outmuscling Tosin Olufemi as he did for the opening goal then you know something is very wrong. It looked at first that Copps had overhit the pass for Williams goal but he actually played it perfectly, allowing the ball to run across Williams body taking the Colchester goalkeeper out of the game.

  • The switch to five at the back made for a much stronger defensive unit with Butler resuming normal service after a shaky few games and Taylor Sinclair also putting in an unexpected strong performance. Any Rovers defence that doesn’t feature McCullough is a winner in my eyes.

  • Ferguson will have a welcome headache when Rovers return to league action away at Blackpool in a fortnights  time. Last season’s player of the season Nathan Tyson was superb against Colchester and did everything but score. When fit Tyson simply has to start. This leaves Williams and Anderson battling it out for the second striker spot. It is nice to have an embarrassment of riches rather than just an embarrassment.

  • A word for the Rovers substitutes. It was great to see Keegan back again and he was mightily impressive during his 15 minutes on the pitch making a number of crunching tackles and reading the game perfectly. What a difference the Irishman could make if fully fit. This brings us nicely onto Curtis Main… As always Main ran himself into the ground before providing the most Curtis Main moment he has possibly ever produced with an exquisite touch and turn to create the space for himself before shanking his finish well wide. Don’t ever change Curtis.

Winners

Thorsten Stuckmann – The big German has undoubtedly been our best player this season and he was on stunning form to deny a previously free scoring Colchester side. His second half save to deny Darren Ambrose’ header was Stuckmann’s best moment in a Rovers shirt yet.

James Coppinger – His match winning moments may be less frequent than in  years past but this was a performance to silence the growing number of Copps’s dissenters saying he had nothing left to offer Rovers. The challenge now is to install some consistency.

Andy Williams – This may be a turning point for Williams or it may just be a one off but either way he enjoyed it and so did the fans. The standing ovation for the former Swindon striker upon being substituted was both warranted and heart warming.

Conor Grant – A debut goal to remember for the 20 year old loanee to cap a strong performance. Welcome to the Keepmoat Conor.

Losers

Harry Forrester – Oh dear… dropped by Dickov and seemingly even more out in the cold under Ferguson. It is difficult to see Forrester staying beyond January if he doesn’t get some game time soon.

Richie Wellens – Rovers looked a much more energetic and quick side without Wellens on the pitch. Maybe his status as an automatic starter is finally at an end. It has been a long time coming. Wellens still has a lot to offer but he is not someone to build a side around. If only Dickov had realized in two and a half years what Fergie has after 4 games.

Man of the MatchThorsten Stuckmann

Copps did have a good game and Conor Grant was excellent but all their attacking exploits would have been in vain if not for a number of first half saves from Stuckmann. Possibly Paul Dickov’s only positive contribution this season was signing the Big (CENSORED) German.

Doncaster Rovers V Bradford City – Match Report

By Rob Johnson

 

Well if Darren Ferguson didn’t know how big a job he had to turn this team around before, he certainly does now…

 

  • The decision to recall Gobern seemingly from nowhere was puzzling enough but seeing McCullough lining up at right back was incredibly disconcerting. He was of course appalling until moving into a more central role following Butler’s injury.
  • By playing Chaplow, Wellens and Gobern together the plan seemed to be to overrun Bradford in midfield and this kind of worked as Wellens was given the space to pull the strings from a deep lying midfielder role. Unfortunately Rob Jones didn’t account for Coppinger and Williams being utter rubbish thus negating most of Wellens good work.
  • Rovers fans had every right to be optimistic following the appointment of Darren Ferguson and the victory over Barnsley but Bradford pissed on the red and white bonfire after just 50 seconds when Devante Cole (who was excellent) poked Bradford in front. Yet another soft goal conceded in front of the Black Bank.
  • Rovers actually have some decent options from the bench for the first time this season. Nathan Tyson was a handful immediately after replacing Richard Chaplow but it is a scandal that Stewart, N’Guessan and particularly Forrester remained on the bench as Rovers were chasing an equalizer. Forrester is by far our most creative player and he must be relishing Rob Jones stepping down from the managerial hot seatto be replaced by someone more adventurous.
  • Because of all their possession in the Bradford half it is tempting to say that Rovers were unlucky. In reality Bradford were happy to allow Rovers as much possession as they liked in midfield before closing ranks whenever the ball went near the box. With Cole and later Hansen providing an outlet up front it was the perfect away performance. For all Rovers possession they managed 1 shot on target and had less corners than the Bantams. This was not a smash and grab.
  • It initially felt cruel that Rovers had a goal disallowed after recent contentious decisions have gone against us but on reflection there did appear to be a handball in there and the Rovers players didn’t protest too much. Having said that for all the doom and gloom Rovers have been pretty lacking in any kind of good luck. Hopefully Ferguson will bring a change in fortunes.
  • Evina continues to impress in a variety of roles. It would be a shame if we do sign an actual right back and Evina loses his place in the side as he has probably been our best outfield player this season.

 

Winners

Richie Wellens – Far and away Wellens’ best performance of the season and he was unlucky to be on the losing side. Almost every positive move came from Wellens and he came closest to unlocking the Bradford defence on a number of occasions only to be let down by those in front of him. Wellens’ even chipped in at the back with a brilliant last ditch tackle to deny Devante Cole from going through on goal.

Nathan Tyson – It was great to see last season’s top scorer make his return to the fold with an impressive performance. Tyson did more in his first thirty seconds on the pitch then Williams in the entire game. Has to start on Tuesday.

Losers

James Coppinger – This is fast becoming a season to forget for Copps. A couple of bad games has turned into a slump and Coppinger was awful against Bradford. Even the simplest passes were over hit and he gave the ball away time and time again. Such is his character and talent that Copps could definitely bounce back and make a big contribution this season but maybe it is time to try someone else for the time being.

Andy Williams – The former Swindon man did everything but score consistently in his first few games at Rovers and the manner of his performances kept his critics at bay. Against Bradford he was utterly anonymous and cut a frustrated figure. No longer coming deep to get the ball, Williams spent the majority of the game as a peripheral figure. If any one player needs a fresh start it is Williams. Hopefully Ferguson will help to get the best out of him.

 

Man of the Match –Easiest choice of the season. Take a bow Richie Wellens.

Doncaster Rovers vs Barnsley – Match Report

A win! An actual win! Rob Johnson takes a look at the main talking points of the Barnsley game.

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• Wow… Just wow. It is not hyperbole to suggest that Richard Chaplow’s stunning 90th minute winner against Barnsley could be a season defining moment. Rovers have desperately needed that kind of release and as that goal hit the back of the net, the relief was almost tangible.

• It is hard not to be happy for Chaplow. His assist for Keshi Anderson’s first goal was his first meaningful contribution of the season. He didn’t have to wait long for his second.

• Anderson impressed once again and was a handful throughout. With Nathan Tyson close to fitness we have the makings of genuinely threatening strike force all of a sudden. Two in two for the Crystal Palace youngster now, hopefully his form will continue.

• Rob Jones will be very pleased with his days work. Persevering with Chaplow and Wellens despite their recent poor from was a risk that absolutely paid off and every substitution was spot on. A lot of people were puzzled by the decision to bring Copps off for Middleton while Forrester remained on the bench but the youngster repaid Jones’ faith with a killer pass to pick out Chaplow for the winner.

• Jones also identified that Horsfield had become a complete liability at right back. Kadeem Harris ripped Horsfield apart throughout, and the Manchester City loanee was probably relieved to come off. One negative from an otherwise hugely successful afternoon was the fact that the right back problem seemingly still hasn’t been resolved. It is predictable that a midfielder playing out of position who has never started a senior game before Tuesday is probably not going to be the answer.

• It was an up and down day for the back five. Butler was once again very solid and McCullough did okay considering it was his first game back from injury. Evina did well and is becoming a bit of a Cedric of all trades, once again filling in at right back after Horsfield came off. Stuckmann was his usual reliable self. More on Horsfield below. The concern is that for the second game running Rovers conceded from a corner. Set pieces are cheap goals to concede and this must not become a trend.

• They didn’t have much to shout about but how flat were the Barnsley support? To bring a crowd like that and be pretty much silent throughout seems odd. Barnsley were poor though and the quality of the goal reflected Rovers eventual superiority.

Winners

Richard Chaplow – Finally a glimpse of what has kept Chaplow in the upper echelons of the football league for his whole career.  He still gave the ball away too often but he seemed fitter and more positive and his assist for the first goal was a welcome confidence booster. Chaplow took that confidence into his goal and it was a brilliant and composed finish.

The Rovers fans – After all the shit we have been through this season we deserved that. One of the most cathartic victories in recent memory.

Harry Middleton – Jones left a few fans scratching their grotesque heads when Middleton came on but his sumptuous assist was glorious vindication. It is this kind of match winning quality that has been missing from previous products of the youth system such as Alex Peterson and Liam Wakefield. It was a ball that Middleton’s mentor Richie Wellens would have been proud of.

Losers

Harry Forrester and Curtis Main – Forrester was poor before his early season injury and the fact he didn’t even make it on the pitch shows how far his stock has dropped since the start of the season. Forrester was most people’s pick to go to a bigger club in January but that seems like a distant memory at the moment. As for Main with Anderson scoring his second Rovers goal, Williams an automatic starter and Tyson on the verge of coming back he is miles away from the first team at the moment. It is hard to see a future at Rovers for the talented youngster at present.

James Horsfield – I hope that Horsfield proves me wrong but on this evidence he is woefully out of his depth. It was a bit of a strange signing in the first place. Let’s just hope we don’t see McCullough make an unwelcome return to the right back spot.

The referee – Lee Mason booked Chaplow for over celebrating after his goal because he ran to celebrate with his kids. When will this farcical law be rescinded. It was one of the moments that football should be all about.

Reece Wabara – ‘I’m a Barnsley player now – and I want to win’ said Wabara on the eve of the game. Pipe down Reece.

 

Doncaster Rovers Vs Sheffield United – Match Report

By Rob Johnson

 

Yet another Rovers defeat…

 

  • Rovers have had some controversial decisions in the last few games but the harsh reality is the Gillingham goal probably crossed the line, the Oldham goal definitely crossed the line and MacKenzie probably should have been sent off against Sheff Utd. Going for the ball or not you can’t dive in with your feet that high in the modern game and he knows it. The time for blaming the officials is long gone.

 

  • The worry is that Rovers have actually improved in the last two games but still only have one point to show for it. Last season Rovers went to Bramall Lane and were the better team in a 3-2 defeat. This year Rovers could have lost by 4 or 5. It is disheartening that we have fallen so far behind the Blades when we are a team with supposed play off ambitions.

 

  • Speaking of which whilst it is far too early to be worrying about a relegation battle, a promotion push looks more and more unrealistic. Rovers are 9 points off the play off places already.

 

  • Rob Jones audition for the main gig has brought about some positives but he clearly isn’t ready for such a role. Dany N’Guessan was our best player by far against Oldham so it is criminal that he spent the entire game on the bench while Chaplow (who has been awful all season) came on.

 

  • Andy Williams has to take some part of the responsibility that the players share for our current plight but it is hard not to sympathise. This is a critical time in Williams’ career and if we lose against his former club Swindon on Tuesday night he will surely be asking himself ‘what have I done?’

 

  • There was always the suspicion that Richie Wellens wasn’t playing to his full potential as he was disgruntled to be playing under Dickov. There were whispers that Dickov’s sacking could lead to a resurgence for the former Rovers talisman. On today’s showing it isn’t a lack of motivation but a complete loss of interest and form that Wellens has suffered. He was the worst player on the pitch against the Blades closely followed by James Coppinger.

 

  • I have written in previous reports of my hope that Copps indifferent start to the season is down to a blip rather than a decline. Saturdays performance culminating in a trademark through ball for Billy Sharp’s inevitable goal was evidence of the latter. With good players around him Copps could still play a big part for Rovers but it pains me to say that he has shown before that he isn’t the kind of player you want in a relegation battle.

 

  • ‘Did Billy celebrate?’ – Does it matter? Not really. Billy Sharp should always be considered a legend for what he achieved at Rovers and his general attitude whilst at the club. I don’t begrudge him celebrating a goal for his home town club. Good luck to him.

 

  • I love Bramall Lane, it is one of my favourite grounds but to say there was over 20,000 there, the home crowd were incredibly quiet. Maybe they just don’t bother singing anymore because they know their season will finish with a playoff defeat anyway?

 

  • It was a promising debut for Keshi Anderson at least…

 

 

 

 

Winners

Thorsten Stuckmann & Andy Butler – With Rovers yet to sign a right back and Taylor-Sinclair looking more of a liability every week you have to feel for Butler at the back who is carrying the Rovers defence at the moment. Stuckmann has undoubtedly been our best player this season. Frankly they both deserve better.

Cameron Stewart – A rare moment of quality this season and Stewart was one of the only players to get his head down and run at the Blades defence.

Losers

The rest of the squad – Stuckmann, Butler and maybe Williams aside can anyone say that they would care if the rest of the squad never played for Rovers again? Dickov has assembled a spineless, passionless and mostly talentless squad and we are now paying the price. As I said after the Gillingham defeat: ‘Rovers currently have a team of journeymen, youth players, crocks and stop gaps.’ It is hard to argue with that.

The Rovers fans – Correct me if I’m wrong but I am pretty sure that aside from Forrester’s fake goal on the opening day, Rovers are yet to score in front of their own fans. It really has been an awful start to the season.

Rob Jones – Any lingering doubt that Jones may be the right man to lead the club forward have now been emphatically allayed. We need an actual manager and we need one quickly.

James Coppinger – His short back pass that led to Billy Sharp’s goal is without a doubt his worst moment in a Rovers shirt. Let’s hope it doesn’t get any worse.

 

Man of the Match – Thorsten Stuckmann. I might as well just start using copy & paste for this bit.

Doncaster Rovers vs Oldham Athletic – Match Report

A very frustrated and penniless Rob Johnson dissects the 1-1 home draw with Oldham…

DRFC vs Oldham match report

  • Jones made some bold decisions with his startling XI with Evina playing in a central three and Copps and Taylor-Sinclair as wing backs. Despite Rovers going 1-0 up this didn’t really work. Evina has been our best outfield player this season so to drop him back to defence seemed odd. He was much more effective when switching to a more traditional right back position in the second half.
  • Dickov got a lot of stick for constantly blaming the officials for Rovers abject performances but… it was all the ref’s fault that Rovers failed to take home all three points today. Aside from Oldham’s ‘goal’, Andy Woolmer constantly disrupted the flow of the game by failing to play advantage and also failed to award a blatant corner following N’Guessan’s blinding run and shot in the second half.
  •  With £50 to last me until payday but £28 resting in my Skybet account, I made the uncharacteristic decision to put it all on Rovers to beat Oldham so forgive me if the proceeding match report comes across as bitter or furiously angry.
  •  For the goal itself see my match review of the Gillingham game: ‘Footage of the  ‘goal’ has proven inconclusive which suggests that the linesman couldn’t be absolutely certain the whole of the ball had crossed the whole the line from his vantage point which makes his decision to award a goal both inexplicable and incredibly harsh on Rovers.’  – to be writing this exact same thing again just two weeks later leaves a sour taste in my fat mouth.
  • On paper Keegan and Gobern perhaps lack flair as a centre midfield partnership, when flanked by Coppinger and Cameron Stewart and with Williams and Main up front there should be potential for a goal threat there. Despite N’Guessan’s man of the match performance off the bench it is a shame that Williams didn’t get a crack at a dodgy looking Oldham defence. As with almost every other aspect of the season, Rovers have not had much luck with injuries in 2015 and it is hard not to believe that Oldham would have been defeated if Rovers were at full strength.
  • This marked the return of Richie Wellens to first team action against his former club and he played two killer balls to almost put Rovers clear. Wellens talent has never been the problem however and it will take more than an impressive cameo to win over the Rovers faithful who emphatically booed Wellens as he came on.

Winners

Dany N’Guessan –  A tremendous performance from the Frenchman, particularly in the second half where he did everything but find the back of the net. N’Guessan won almost every aerial challenge against the Latics and it is difficult to remember the last time Rovers had a striker so threatening in the air.

Cedric Evina – Predictably a bit dodgy as part of a centre back trio but once again brilliant going forward. Jones doesn’t appear to fancy Evina for some reason but he has to start at Bramall Lane on Saturday.

Losers

Andy Williams – It is too early to suggest that Williams will become another gravestone for the strikers graveyard that is the Keepmoat Stadium but despite some battling performances from Williams, it has been a distinctly average start for the former Swindon man. Williams spent the afternoon with a suspected broken nose while Dany N’Guessan played an absolute blinder. Not the best of days for Williams.

Curtis Main – I have been one of the more patient fans when it comes to Main but his ‘performance’ against Oldham was perhaps his worst yet. He was either giving the ball away or utterly anonymous. We are at the stage now where even if there is no second striker to come in then a change of formation would be the only solution as Main simply can’t continue to play upfront while ever he is so desperately out of form. The most frustrating Rovers player since Sean Thornton needs to spend some time on the bench or out on loan.

James Coppinger – Harry Forrester would have relished playing in such a stretched game but in his absence it was up to Coppinger and Stewart to try and make something happen from wide positions. Stewart was bright throughout but Copps was once again a passenger for large stretches. In Michael’s McIndoe’s last few games at Rovers he stopped trying to take players on and seemed content just to keep the ball  – Copps latter Rovers career has also been plagued by a similar lack of imagination.

Man of the Match – Dany N’Guessan

An absolute no brainer. N’Guessan was a handful in the air and caused problems throughout the second half for the beleaguered  Oldham defence. The decision to award him a two year contract doesn’t seem quite so ludicrous now.