Category Archives: Match Review

Doncaster Rovers VS Fleetwood – Match Report

A retrospective look at Rovers first league win of the season.
Stray Observations

  •  Leeds aside it has been all doom and gloom for Rovers this season , finally we have a win to celebrate, and a good performance to boot.
  • All the pre match talk was of Richie Wellens handing in a transfer request. While the reasons for this surprising turn of events are still unclear, what is obvious from the Fleetwood victory is Rovers are a quicker and more fluid team without Wellens in it. The second goal was a case in point as Rovers counter attacked quickly to punish Fleetwood. This was to be the story of the first half as only tactical fouls stopped Rovers from hitting the visitors on the break time and time again.
  • While Wellens could still be a valuable squad player this season, his seemingly impending transfer is a relief for those of us who believe he is no longer good enough to start every game. If he does leave replacements must be sought in this area but this could be a blessing in disguise.
  • Wellens fellow veteran James Coppinger has also come in for some stick from a minority of the Rovers fans this season but he answered those critics with an impressive performance. It was not just a rare headed goal but also a brilliant ball to Williams that led to Curtis Main adding a second. It was an energetic and complete performance from Copps and he will hope for more of the same with his surely now inevitable record breaking appearance looming large.
  • 4876 is a poor crowd and is indeed the lowest ever recorded at the Keepmoat for a league game. It is worrying what depths attendances might reach when the cold weather kicks in. Another reason why home victories like this are so important.
  • Cameron Stewart made a complete mess of the one excellent opportunity that came his way but on paper he looks a decent signing, albeit in a position that Rovers don’t really need strengthening.

Winners

Andy Williams – Whilst Copps received the official man of the match accolade it was Williams who most impressed with a complete strikers performance. All that was missing was the goal that his battling display deserved. As well as the excellent assist for Curtis Main’s goal, Williams was a handful throughout and seems to be improving with every game.

Curtis Main – Boy did he need that… hopefully Main’s goal and another strong performance will be the catalyst for him finally fulfilling his potential and not another false dawn.

Rovers youngsters – The continued success of our youth team players has been the biggest positive of an underwhelming start to the season. Middleton had his best game yet against Fleetwood – neat and tidy in possession whilst also constantly giving the visitors midfield no time on the ball. Lund too, overcame a couple of nervy moments and a nasty looking ball in the face to once again show that he is a prospect. Whilst it is troubling that we have to rely on products of the youth system so much, it is still encouraging to see them making the step up.

Rovers Defence – A clean sheet the entire back five can be proud of. Stuckmann again pulled off a couple of quality saves, Butler and Mackenzie look to be easily our strongest centre back pairing and Aaron Taylor Sinclair was brilliant both going forward and at the back. If we do eventually sign a specialist right back and a reserve centre back, we have the makings of a strong defensive unit.

 

Losers

The South Stand – Whilst it was lovely to see Rovers actually score some goals, they are yet to score in front of their own fans (Harry Forrester’s freak goal aside).

Richie Wellens – No matter his reasons for handing in a transfer request, Wellens stock has never been lower after Rovers put in comfortably their best performance of the season without him. Like Middleton, Chaplow was functional without being spectacular in the centre of the park but against most clubs in league one that is all you need. Thanks for the memories Richie.

Trevor Kettle – While it was disappointing to see Andy Williams go down holding his face following a tangle of legs with Fleetwood right back Conor McLaughlin, there is no doubt that McLaughlin should have been sent off for his retaliatory knee in Williams back. Kettle spotted it but then only issued a booking. An incorrect and totally inexplicable decision.

Conclusion – A much needed win for both Dickov and Rovers. Tuesdays game against Burton takes on a bit of extra significance now as it is vital Rovers build on this win to kickstart their season. For now though a win, a clean sheet and a good performance has gone a long way to improving Dickov’s faltering reputation.

Doncaster Rovers vs Ipswich Town – Match Report

Another day. Another home defeat…

Doncaster Rovers vs Ipswich Town

Continuing the match review in it’s new format, we take a look at Tuesdays defeat to Ipswich.

  • Whilst it took until extra time for Ipswich to pull clear, don’t be mistaken, this was a game dominated by the visitors. 27 shots to Rovers 15, 13 on target to Rovers 4. Only Stuckmann kept Rovers in it with a string of excellent saves, particularly in the second half.
  • Dickov’s decision to pull the squad in for extra training on Sunday appeared odd at the time, it seems downright ludicrous now. Following another 120 minutes and with another three game week coming up, Rovers already stretched squad appears to be at breaking point – especially following injuries to Jones and McCullough.
  • The two biggest talking points of this season were both addressed. One by Dickov and one by accident. Dickov finally paired Andy Williams up front with another striker and the reward was a much improved display from the former Swindon man. The second issue constantly raised by the Rovers faithful is the need for a specialist right back. That it has taken an injury for McCullough for Lund get on the pitch this season seems bizarre and he instantly looked more assured than his out of position team mate. He may not be a long term answer but Lund to start against Fleetwood.
  • Another who should definitely start on Saturday is Curtis Main who was bright throughout and caused problems for the Ipswich defence. Main has the potential to be the next Dean Windass, he is strong, good on the ball and has a formidable shot. This season has to be the year he turns potential into ability.
  • A quick word on the attendance. 3729 is an utter shambles and is possibly the biggest indicator yet of how much the Rovers fans have lost faith in Dickov. It is difficult to blame them after yet another bleak home performance.

 

Winners

Andy Williams – Topping the winners list this week is Andy Williams after an exquisite headed goal to put Rovers ahead. The important thing about this goal is that no other current Rovers player is capable of scoring it thus proving Williams’ potential influence on the coming season.

Cedric Evina –Evina’s positional switch further up the field has been a rare success story for Dickov this season and his glorious assist for the first goal was one of the highlights of Evina’s Rovers career so far. That it was followed by a poor second half performance after he was dropped back to left back only strengthens his new found role as a winger

Rovers youth set up – While the inexperience of the Rovers side probably led to the scoreline of 1-4 it was encouraging to see Lund, Middleton and Whitehouse on the pitch for the first time. Despite being the most unsung of the three Lund has actually been the most consistent in a Rovers shirt so far and looks to be a prospect. Middleton was unlucky to come on just as Rovers capitulated and Whitehouse looked like an actual footballer for the first time rather than a competition winner.

 

Losers

The Rovers old guard – Coppinger and Wellens are in a position where no matter how bad they perform they know they are going to play every minute of every game. Coppinger you suspect is going through a bad spell rather than a full decline but Wellens looks to be completely disinterested unless an opportunity for personal glory presents itself. Rovers badly need a couple of new faces or at the very least a fit Paul Keegan.

Andy Butler – With such an inexperienced defence you expect the more senior players to step up. Butler was awful against Ipswich. He constantly gave the ball away and was out of position. Butler has been our best centre back by miles since joining last season so this needs to be a blip and not the end of the honeymoon period.

James Alabi – Celebrated in front of the Rovers fans as if he had scored a wonder goal not a three yard tap in. All he achieved was the hatred of a few thousand strangers. As bizarre as it was unnecessary and it was disappointing not to see him booked.

 

Man of the Match – Williams and Main both impressed but it was Stuckmann again who was our best player. Looks nailed on for player of the season at this rate.

 

 

 

 

Rovers vs Southend United – Match Report

As you can read match reports from various sources all over the internet as well as being able to view highlights and also you know… watch the game live with your actual eyes, it seems a bit archaic to write a match report for an unofficial fan site in this day and age.
Rather than add another match report we have decided to publish a post match review that is more of an opinion piece in order to spark debate and offer an alternative to the more traditional match report format.

Stray Observations

• Going into this game the general consensus was that McCullough still isn’t a permanent solution at right back, Williams is ineffective as lone front man and either Wellens or Middletons need a rest having both played 120 minutes against Leeds and 90 minutes against Wigan and yet… and yet inevitably Dickov did nothing to attempt to remedy these problems and the result was a listless and painfully dull performance.

• I’m not one for booing but after last season’s dismal home form, the boos heard at the final whistle were hardly a knee jerk reaction but more understandable frustration and foreboding that this season could be as disappointing as the last.

• The attendance for the Leeds game was low especially considering the huge amount of away supporters and Wednesday nights crowd of 5,164 was even worse. With Rovers having been so poor for so long at the Keepmoat however who can blame people for staying away?

• Southend manager Phil Brown arrived at the Keepmoat with a clear game plan. Sit back, invite pressure, try and nick a goal from somewhere and if not for Stuckmann’s stunning second half save it would have worked. Entering into Dickov’s third season as manager it is still unclear what his style of play, game plan or even preferred formation actually is. For all their flaws Saunders and SOD had very distinctive game plans. Dickov still seems unwilling or unable to stamp a particular style on his squad.

Winners

• Stuckmann tops the winners list and was an easy choice for man of the match with one world class save and a couple of other decent stops too. Hopefully he is the goalkeeper we have been crying out for since Sullivan started to decline.

• Curtis Main didn’t pull up any trees when he came on but it is a testament to his character that his confidence seemed unabated after his horror show against Leeds. He will need to continue to be thick skinned and maintain his self belief if he is to emerge from his current poor run of form.

• Mackenzie and Butler didn’t really put a foot wrong and have the potential to form a formidable defensive spine along with Stuckmann.

Losers

• The Rovers fans – It was another dire display for the Rovers faithful to endure. Dickov would have a lot more good will from his critics if he could find an answer to our lacklustre home form.

• Taylor-Sinclair has looked solid in his first two games but he was awful tonight. He gave away possession numerous times, was shoved off the ball and his set pieces never beat the first man. Improvement needed.

• Forrester also gave the ball away far too often and was poor throughout. He was either missing all together or a liability and his decision making was once again all wrong. Possibly his worst game of 2015.

• It was a game too far for both Wellens and Middleton, both of whom looked knackered and it was no surprise when Middleton was replaced by Chaplow on 54 minutes. Chaplow instantly looked lively and a period of Rovers dominance followed albeit with very few chances created.

Final Word

Doncaster Rovers Match Report
Being unbeaten is all well and good but until Rovers win a game this stat runs the risk of becoming negative rather than positive. If Rovers lost to Port Vale on Saturday it will be ‘4 games without a win’ rather than ‘3 draws and a loss’ and the dissenting voices against Dickov will grow louder. Dickov has to find a way to win at home and he has to do it fast. Under normal circumstances it would be ridiculous to say the pressure is on after 4 games including a victory over Leeds, but this pressure has built up from last season and if things don’t improve even Rovers seemingly uninterested board will be forced to act.

Doncaster Rovers vs Leeds United – Match Report

A night to remember as Rovers beat Leeds on penalties…

Scum Review

As the Rovers players lined up before kickoff it was a surprise to see both Evina and Middleton in the starting line up. Evina is still finding his feet again following a stop start career at Rovers so far and this was a baptism of fire for Middleton who was starting only his fourth game since making his first team debut way back in 2012.

Despite the deafening noise from the Black Bank and following a scrappy opening 20 minutes it was Leeds who struck first as McCullough was out of position and dived in on the right hand side allowing Leeds to break. Stuckmann got a hand to the resulting shot but only succeeded in pushing the ball out to Lewis Cook who couldn’t miss.

Rovers nearly hit back immediately as Coppinger lifted the ball over Ross Turnbull from close range only to see his effort cleared off the line. Leeds looked to be in control of the tie after this scare and almost went 2-0 up after Doukara played a one two on the right wing but Dallas couldn’t connect with his cross.
Leeds were to be their own worst enemy (adding themselves to the list of clubs that hate Leeds) however when Taylor-Sinclair fed Evina, who was scythed down in the box by Scott Wooten on 31 minutes. Andy Williams stepped up and made the 5000 or so Rovers fans in attendance collectively shit their pants as Ross Turnbull looked to have saved Williams penalty, only for it to wriggle under his body. Williams caused problems for Leeds again minutes later when a sensational 60 yard crossfield ball from Coppinger landed at Williams feet and he escaped the attention of two Leeds defenders before Turnbull saved his shot.

There were to be three main talking points going into the second half. The first was goalscorer Lewis Cook committing the most ‘Leeds’ tackle of all time on Aaron Taylor-Sinclair. In the left hand corner of Rovers half with no real advantage to be gained Cook lost control of the ball and then dived in with both sets of studs showing and off the ground. It was an easy decision for the ref. Rovers began to settle after Cook received his marching orders and should have gone 2-1 ahead when Evina pulled the ball back to Coppinger who somehow contrived to miss the target from 8 yards.

The third and perhaps most contentious talking point of the first half was a Rovers ball boy falling on his arse while trying to retrieve the ball. This sparked never ending debate about whether Dickov had positioned him in the right place or even if he should be a ball boy at all. Would the ball boy have caught the ball had he been employed under Sean O Driscoll’s more free flowing and aesthetic ball boy system? Was it the smoke from the pyrotechnics that caused the ball boy to so embarrassingly fall to Earth with a soft thud?

Rovers utterly dominated the second half with Coppinger running the midfield and continuously causing problems for Leeds. Williams saw his turn and shot saved well by Turnbull on 57 minutes and Coppinger had numerous efforts that flashed just wide. Coppinger turned provider for Rovers best chance of the second half as his teasing cross was somehow missed by everyone, with Williams closest to connecting at the back post. It was not to be for Rovers inside 90 minutes however, despite carving out enough chances to win four games and a couple of penalty appeals.

Perhaps unsurprisingly considering the age difference between the two sides, Leeds actually came out stronger in extra time despite having a numerical disadvantage. Indeed Rovers fans could only look on in abject horror as Antenucci’s weak shot looked to have gone in off Stuckmann only to hit a post and nestle back in his strong arms. Rovers held on though as penalties loomed.
After Tyson, Forrester and Williams converted it was up to Wellens to finish the job and he did so emphatically following Sam Byron and Chris Wood delivering two of the worst penalties in living memory for Leeds.

Stray observations
• It appeared that Dickov had learned nothing from the Bury game or pre season as McCullough again started at right back and again left Rovers horribly exposed leading to the opening goal. Following the sending off however, McCullough settled and actually delivered one of his finer performances in a red and white shirt.

• Speaking of the opening goal, Stuckmann should be disappointed with the manner in which he parried the ball straight into the centre of the penalty area. It was to be a poor night for the big German who failed almost every test that came his way with poor distribution and nearly allowing Antenucci’s effort to slip past him.

• So Middleton’s first big test… While he was anonymous for large stretches of the game he was neat and tidy and had bags of energy. A couple of late crosses into the box were high points and compared to recent youth team graduates Liam Wakefield and Alex Peterson who looked woefully out of their depth in their first few games, Middleton should consider this a huge success. An exciting prospect.

• Coppinger must be a horrible player to play against with ten men and he rolled back the years with a phenomenal performance. When Coppinger is on form he is unplayable and he stole the show in a famous victory, once again confirming his status as club legend.

• Tyson also was fantastic after coming on with twenty minutes remaining, culminating in smashing home one of the most emphatic penalties I can remember in the shoot out.

• Tyson’s explosive cameo must have been grim viewing for Curtis Main who delivered perhaps the worst single performance ever in a Rovers shirt. I counted 5 touches from Main. Two were passes straight to the opposition under no pressure, and the other three were long range shots wildly blasted over. Main needs to start performing and soon or he will go the same way as Theo Robinson.

• If ever anyone had any doubts about the Black Bank they must surely have dissipated completely. On a night when social media was awash with neutrals commenting on the atmosphere, the Black Bank achieved a number of goals that would have seemed impossible only a year ago. Create an atmosphere as good as Belle Vue? Check. Build a media profile so all encompassing that the South Stand has virtually been renamed the Black Bank? Check. Do all this while still keeping traditional working class football values and keeping everyone happy in the process? Check and check. A truly inspirational achievement.

Man of the match
Stuckmann and Main aside this was a very strong performance from the entire team but it has to be James Coppinger. He loves a big occasion and he thrived again here. A performance that the phrase ‘he did everything but score’ was invented.

BURY MATCH REVIEW BY ROB JOHNSON

Rovers kick off their season in the most bizarre fashion imaginable.

 

Ahh the first game of the season. Before your star striker becomes injured. Before the fans are calling for the managers head. Before the first pie and peas (and gravy) has been served. Before the players stride onto the hallowed turf and before the roar of the crowd. It is these moments that football is all about…

Off the back of an encouraging pre season campaign Rovers started brightly against Bury with Forrester creating space on the left with a trademark jinking run only to fire tamely into Bury keeper Christian Walton’s arms on five minutes. Minutes later Andy Butler (who I had backed to score first at 28/1) headed a dangerous corner down into the ground but couldn’t beat Walton. Rovers continued to look bright as a promising counter attack was only halted when Curtis Main found the ball at his feet, stopped dead and looked like a man who had never seen a football before in his life until a Bury midfielder put him out of his misery and pinched the ball off his toes.

On 18 minutes Forrester found himself clear of the Bury defence only to shank his cross into the opposition fans before promptly falling over. It would end up being a strange afternoon for young Harold.

Bury came into the game on 20 minutes when first Chaplow then Butler missed a tackle on the right hand side which led to Leon Clarke whizzing a shot just past Stuckmann’s left hand post. Stuckmann made two other smart stops minutes apart from each other as Bury marauded down the left wing with McCullough completely absent in his role at right back.

Rovers best chance came and went in the 26th minute when Coppinger fed Main at the edge of the box only for him to snatch his left footed shot well wide. It was scrappy, end to end stuff until the 39th minute when Williams beat Walton to a long ball but then chose to shoot from a ridiculous angle which inevitably hit the side netting.

Bury had the final say of the first half when Rovers were again carved open on the left wing only for Leon Clarke to blaze the cutback miles over and in acres of space.

Bury also had the best of the opening exchanges of the second half, twice coming close before Clarke hit the post with Tom Pope causing all sorts of problems for the Rovers defence. Rovers had perhaps their best chance of the second half soon after this as Coppinger’s low cross was narrowly missed by an onrushing Andy Williams.

With three quarters of the game gone Stuckmann was once again called into action as Bury’s attack strolled through Rovers static defence (bringing to mind Glen Wilson’s ‘barbershop poles stuck in the ground’ metaphor) and Clarke rolled the ball to the edge of the area only for Stuckmann to appear from nowhere to stop a certain goal.

Rovers had two strong penalty appeals turned down with ten minutes to go and that seemed like it would be the end of the action. Until everything suddenly went mental!

 

Bury put the ball out for Nathan Cameron to receive treatment only for Forrester to accidentally lob Walton and put Rovers 1-0 up. Following a brief melee and to their eternal credit the Rovers players allowed Leon Clarke to smash the ball home from one yard with a fine finish.

 

Stray observations:

  • To be a full back in modern football you need to be strong in both defence and attack. McCullough can barely do either. He was woefully out of position all game and offered nothing going forward. We need a specialist right back, preferably in time for the Leeds game.
  • For a team with genuine top six ambitions, Wellens should be a squad player, not somebody to build a team around it was disconcerting to see him play 90 minutes.
  • Never under any circumstances should Curtis Main start ahead of Nathan Tyson. Main was arguably more of a hindrance than a help for the reds today.
  • On a positive note the Black Bank was an unqualified success. The challenge now is to improve with every game. Shouldn’t be hard considering our next opposition.
  • Taking aside the sportsmanship argument for a second. Had we not allowed Bury to score it would have been a completely undeserved victory and would have tarnished our reputation as a football club forever. It simply wasn’t worth it.
  • When you are bringing on Cedric Evina and a man with 3 appearances to his name off the bench (Harry Middleton) to try and win a game it shows an alarming lack of squad depth.

 

Man of the Match – Forrester was brilliant for the first hour before fading but we would have lost comfortably had it not been for Stuckmann. Hopefully not a sentence I have to write too often this season.

Rovers vs Wolves match Review

It is easy to be dismissive about Rovers famous invincibles preseason side of 2015/16, so easy in fact that I have just done it, but do you know what? Beating a full strength Sunderland side 2-0 is a fucking great result and one that the players should be proud of.

Sunderland arrived at the Keepmoat with nearly 3000 screaming Mackems at their back and left with their tails between their chunky legs as goals from Cedric Evina and Harold (I’m trying to rebrand him as a new, more mature footballer this season) Forrester put the Black Cats down like a stray bullet from an American dentist.

Following the news that another experienced and established lower league player has signed in the shape of Danny N’Guessan there are a lot of reasons to be confident going into the new season, something which has been blatantly missing from the last two disappointing campaigns.

Forrester’s goal against Sunderland was a timely reminder that he has the potential to be one of the best players in league 1 next season and if Cedric Evina can convincingly volley home a flowing move than literally anything is possible.
Wolves
It is with this positivity in mind that Rovers welcomed Wolves to the Keepmoat for their final pre season game of the Summer. Wolves have had a quiet summer transfer wise so far with only three players coming in with the aim seemingly to move some of the high profile big earners off the pay role with Kevin Doyle, Tomasz Kuszczak and Sam Ricketts all departing. Still at the club however is former Rover Carl Ikeme who started in Wolves recent 2-2 stalemate with Aston Villa.

Rovers played some nice stuff against Wolves but conceding three goals from corners is massively worrying with imposing figures like Butler, Jones and Stuckmann at the back. On a more positive note Forrester and Wellens looked lively and Stuckmann impressed. Elsewhere this game should be evidence enough that Andy Williams should not be playing up front on his own and we still desperately need a first choice right back. Mitchell Lund has done very well under difficult circumstances but he is not ready to be the only right back at league one club with genuine promotion aspirations.

Further cause for optimism is the continued success of the Black Bank project that has captured the imagination of many in the South Stand. Those of us that are old enough to remember, often speak of how much we miss the unforgettable atmosphere that was present at Belle Vue and while it is perhaps unrealistic to hope of a return to that, it is very encouraging to see something being done to improve the lack of noise at the Keepmoat.

So a few decent signings, a more vocal crowd and coming off the back of a fantastic win against premier league opposition. Start of the season optimism ay? Nothing quite like it!

CHARITY LEGENDS MATCH REPORT

DRSG Committee Member and Charity Hero Rob Johnson gives us a Match Review of his experience in the Charity Legends Game:

On 23rd May I was given the glorious opportunity to fulfil a lifelong ambition to play on the Keepmoat pitch – what follows is my account of a surreal but brilliant experience.

After a classic athletes night of preparation (7 pints and a pizza) the night before, I woke up early on the morning of the game to butterflies in my stomach and dreams of scoring in my mind. I was cautiously optimistic despite my head still being a bit fuzzy from the night before and I set off to meet my fellow players at the Earl of Doncaster. On the way I received a text: ‘Right wing. Second half’ I shuddered at the prospect of having to play midfield on such a massive pitch as I glimpsed my beer gut in the reflection of a car window but I was pleased to be playing in the second half rather than having to come off at half time.

I arrived at the Earl and was relieved to see my anxiety and nervousness mirrored on the faces of my teammates as we waited for the coach to take us to the Keepmoat. News filtered through that Darius Vassell had dropped out to be replaced by Mark Draper which made all of us breathe a sigh of relief – particularly the defenders.

When we arrived at the ground we were filmed coming off the coach and friends and family were on hand to give us a cheer as we emerged from the coach, all of us were trying to play it cool but I spectacularly failed at not grinning like a lunatic at the ludicrousness of the situation.

Entering the home dressing room for the first time to see my kit hung up with ‘Johnson 17’ on the back was a huge thrill obviously despite my slight annoyance at been given number 17… I imagined some of the arses that have sat on the bench I was sitting on and all the great players who had strolled victorious into that same room as well as the countless shit players who had trudged in after a defeat and the nerves really started to kick in.

We walked around the pitch in our suits for a bit evoking memories of Liverpool’s ridiculous white suits from the 1995 FA cup final before changing into our training tops for a warm up. Before I knew it we were walking out in our kits and shaking hands with the legends as kick off hurtled ever closer. I literally couldn’t believe how bloody massive Dave Beasant was, my penis shrank inside my body as we shook hands and I was also struck by how much Darren Anderton looked exactly the same as in his Euro 96 heyday.

Charity Heroes Team Photo

The game kicked off and despite our co manager Danny Schofield (ex Huddersfield Town) telling us to take our time and enjoy it, the charity side looked nervous in the first few minutes. Former Arsenal striker Perry Groves must have offended our left back Andy Mankin at some point as he felled him in the box three times in the first half, with referee Andy Butler awarding a penalty for one of them which Rob Pick duly dispatched for 1-0. Darren Anderton smashed home a second from 25 yards which led to my first Anderton inspired semi on of the day and before long the Legends were 3-0 up. The upside of this for me was that the pressure was lessened for those of us playing in the second half as the game seemed to be lost already.

Legends take a storming leaad

From nowhere though a Ryan Becks inspired come back began, starting with a pretty hilarious mix up between Beasant and his defence (don’t tell him I said that) and ending with Adam Myers levelling the game at 3-3 just before half time with a composed finish from Tom Ambler sandwiched in between. The second half team looked at each other with grim faces as the realization kicked in… it matters a lot more now. Shit.

Charity Heroes Hit Back

The second half begun with the charity team swapping all 11 players which meant that I started on the right wing. Everyone had said it was important that your first touch be a positive one and my first pass went without a hitch, it was to someone stood 3 yards away but still a strong start. My second touch was to someone clearly stood offside. My third touch was a shanked cross as was my fourth – a cross so mis-hit it actually looked like a shot. I came worryingly close to curling up in a ball and violently weeping at this point but Danny Schofield took me aside and basically just told me to calm down and I regained focus.

From there the match was a blur of goals, sideways passes (shout out to Mark Wilson) and one glorious crossfield ball from me that led to one of Karl Harrison’s two goals which I spoke about at great length to anyone who would listen for the rest of the night.

Charity Heroes score again

My first abiding memory is of feeling sick with the effort of trying to track Lee Hendrie, looking up at the score board with horror at the realization that only four minutes of the second half had passed. The Legends regained the lead of course, but the charity team fought valiantly and we pegged them back a couple of times before fitness and the outrageous ability of Darren Anderton, Julio Arca and Lee Hendrie started to show. At one point I had a ten yard head start for the ball against a 43 year old Darren Anderton and he just glided past me and stole it away. He looked so handsome as he did it as well. What a guy.

So the game wrapped up with a Dolly Parton approved score line of 9-5 to the Legends team but I will always have THAT 30 yard pass, the knowledge that I merked Phil Babb and hearing my mates chanting ‘you fat bastard’ from the stands.

Doncaster Rovers 5-2 Scunthorpe United: Match Review by Rob Johnson

Just under ten thousand showed up for the final game of the season against Scunthorpe United and what a game it was. The Rovers faithful didn’t have to wait long to hear Tom Hark as Forrester was scythed down on the left hand side and Bennett’s resulting free kick was powered into his own net in convincing style by Scunthorpe defender and failure at life Niall Canavan

Five minutes later Scunthorpe endured another hilarious moment as Wellens sprinted 20 yards to keep the ball in play near the right sided corner flag only to play a terrible back pass to Rob Jones who was so slow to react he appeared to be a walking tree whose roots were still stuck deep in the ground. Kevin van Veen picked up the loose ball and in the resulting scramble the ball fell to Neal Bishop who somehow contrived to hit the bar from 8 yards out with Marosi in no man’s land. Cue huge ironic cheering from the South Stand.

Scunthorpe’s glorious misery was further compounded on 33 minutes when the lively Forrester performed a bit of skill that left me hiding my erection from my fiancé before cutting inside and setting Kyle Bennett free on the right hand side to hang a perfect cross up to the middle of the goal for Tyson to bundle home.

Rovers surprised everyone by continuing to look like an actual football team, unlike in recent weeks, showing passion and composure to keep Scunny at arm’s length with Evina of all people looking solid and Jones and Butler dealing with a series of corners convincingly. Just before half time an unusually quiet Coppinger created a yard of space for himself to fire in a low shot from 20 yards which was parried round the post by Scunthorpe keeper and general bad human being Luke Daniels. Forrester whipped in the resulting corner and Rob Jones headed home almost as emphatically as all round joke Niall Canavan earlier in the half.

So Rovers went in 3-0 up at half time much to the amazement of the fans and most of the players. Alarm bells were ringing early in the second half when Scunny dominated possession resulting in the now inevitable ridiculous piece of defending and a goal for Scunthorpe. An innocuous ball into the box was somehow not dealt with by first Jones, then Marosi, then Butler with all three stumbling around like new born baby deer before the ball came back off the post and hit a confused looking Andy Butler and trickled into an empty net. Not surprisingly this led to Scunthorpe’s best period of the match but a lot of possession and balls into the box heralded few chances with Rovers rearguard remaining strong and Dean Furman mopping up well in the middle of the park.

On 67 minutes we saw a sign of things to come as a rare Rovers breakaway saw a majestic ball over the top from Wellens to put Bennett through on goal albeit at a difficult angle but Bennett struggled to get the ball out of his feet and the chance went begging. More fruitless Scunthorpe possession followed but they didn’t heed the warning from Rovers previous counter attack with Wellens again playing a brilliant long ball to Harry Forrester who drew a quite frankly ridiculous tackle from one of the Scunny lot in the box. Forrester was going nowhere and had two players marking him. Tyson stepped up confidentally and sent the keeper the wrong way to put Rovers 4-1 up.

Things went from bad to worse for poor old Scunthorpe as brilliant run from Forrester starting thirty yards from Scunthorpe’s goal and ending with him being completely taken out in the box after already beating two men. Tyson again stepped up this blasting straight down the middle to send the Rovers fans into rapture and also evoking memories of a certain famous Mickey Norbury hat trick. Scunny’s players and few remaining fans seemed to want the game over as soon as possible so other than the introduction of former Rovers favourite Dave Syers (to a nicely observed ovation from the Rovers fans) on 81 minutes nothing else much happened until added time when Rovers decided to let the clowns out of the clown car one last time this season with another laughable goal conceded. 18 year old Scunthorpe forward Hakeeb Adeola Abiola Ayinde Adelakun (this is honestly his name) clipped a free kick into the box only for all our defenders to miss it and rookie goalkeeper Marko Marosi to inexplicably decide to leapfrog over the ball.

While this took the sheen off an otherwise brilliant win ever so slightly, Nathan Tyson has written his name in the Rovers history books forever and Dickov should be encouraged by a much improved performance and a blindingly good showing from Harry Forrester.

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