Category Archives: Opinion

Portsmouth FC Vs Doncaster Rovers: Match Preview

No win in two games classes as a bad run for Rovers at the moment, so off we go to the South Coast to try and put it right…

17 points, 3rd in the table…it is a “satisfactory” opening ten games according to Darren Ferguson, who rightly acknowledges that we can be better despite almost being exactly where we want to be at present. Indeed, if the season were to end right now I think we’d all be pleased, as it’d mean we will be making the immediate return to League One that has been demanded by all at the club.

Luton undid us in our last away outing, and despite a good response on Tuesday a draw was all that could be taken from a combative encounter with Carlisle, so Rovers are yet to beat a true promotion rival. Our next opponents Portsmouth are exactly that, the favourites for the title who unfortunately are scoring goals for fun at Fratton Park.

Despite this Rovers are the highest scoring team in the division outright, a fact that also enables to sit directly above Portsmouth, and the automatic promotion line, by virtue of netting more in the first ten games. That stat could be even better, but Rovers have ironically struggled to put away chances including three penalty misses, all from different players after Tommy Rowe’s spot kick struck a post with the scores at 2-1 against Carlisle.

Portsmouth have scored in every home game going back to March, and have 12 goals in their last 3 matches on home turf, winning the lot. The Pompey ranks include no less than four ex-Rovers players, and whilst Enda Stevens and Milan Lalkovic can probably expect good receptions from the travelling fans the same cannot be said of Kyle Bennett or Curtis Main, two players who flattered to deceive in the red and white hoops.

Rovers may finally turn to Mathieu Baudry to start in central defence, but it would be wise to expect minimal changes again as Fergie looks to keep the consistency in our ranks going. James Coppinger has begun to look a little weary in the past week but is still a pivotal part of the midfield, and strike duo Williams and Marquis will look to continue their personal battle for the Golden Boot, now locked together on five apiece along with Coppinger.

One to Watch

Eyes may turn to Curtis Main if he is selected, but the biggest threat up front for Portsmouth has to be Conor Chaplin. The teenager is carving out a great reputation for himself having broken into the first team at the back end of the 2014/15 season, and has scored 3 goals in his last 4 games.

Big Weekend

John Marquis scored another superb effort against Carlisle, bringing his tally for the season up to five, and he will have a point to prove going back to one of the many clubs with whom he spent time on loan from Millwall. Marquis is also one booking away from a ban, which would be a big blow to the front line that lacks any real cover.

Adam Stubbings

Luton Town vs Doncaster Rovers: Match Preview

The squad face their toughest test of the season to date as we head to Kenilworth Road…

Darren Ferguson may have been dismayed by the performance last time out but the 2-0 win over Newport was the side’s fifth in six games and has put us into the heady heights of 2nd place going into this weekend’s clash with the Hatters. Optimism is creeping back in to the Rovers fanbase but the more level-headed among us have been keen to stress the difficulty facing us in the next few games.

Four of our five league wins have come against sides currently in the bottom five places in League Two but the shape of the table is still fairly irrelevant at this early stage. Luton pose a significant threat, but have been beaten in their last two games falling from the top of the pile to the edge of the play offs, and momentum is something that always matters in football.

Unlike recent opponents such as Newport and Yeovil, Luton will attack us and do possess quality throughout the team, most notably up front with summer signing Danny Hylton netting five goals already this season, among them an impressive hat-trick against Wycombe. Hylton has stated his belief that Luton are capable of winning the title this year so the aim is clear for both sides.

Rovers though have their own 5-goal forward with a treble under his belt this season, and the battle at opposite ends of the field between Hylton and Andy Williams will be something to keep an eye on if you’re travelling down south on Saturday, Williams on target again along with James Coppinger in the victory against Newport to take the Reds past Luton as League Two’s top scoring team of 2016/17 so far.

Frazer Richardson should return at right back to relieve Matty Blair from the unfamiliar role, although the attacker has done very well deputising there in the past two games. Mathieu Baudry is also close to featuring but will not be rushed in by Fergie, nor will Paul Keegan or Gary McSheffrey although all played a part in a midweek friendly at Cantley Park.

This is our first meeting with Luton since 2008, and we are unbeaten in four matches against them although all four of these games came in League One in the last decade and are our only clashes since 1970.

One to Watch

Hylton may be the main target man but young midfielder Cameron McGeehan could be the game-changer in this one. McGeehan has notched four goals and two assists himself in a promising start to the campaign, and has attracted attention from bigger clubs in recent months. He is also a former U21 international team mate of Rovers defender Luke McCullough, although surprisingly quit the Northern Ireland team citing a change of heart regarding his nationality.

Big Weekend

With several injured players not far from returning, now is the time for those in the line-up to earn the right to keep their place. That means a stellar performance is needed from Harry Middleton, replaced after an hour in each of the last two games, with the soon-to-return McSheffrey threatening to take his place and Riccardo Calder also keen to impress from the bench.

Doncaster Rovers vs Newport County – Preview

Doncaster Rovers vs. Newport County: Match Preview

After Saturday’s uplifting victory by the seaside, it is seemingly impossible for a Rovers fan to not look forward to our next game…

With arguably the best performance since Darren Ferguson came to the club against Morecambe, the Rovers players surely must be on a high – especially considering that no one was added to the ever-growing injury list. Hopefully, Fergie’s men will be able to build on a stellar performance, maintain their winning mentality and manage to recreate something similar. With players like Coppinger, Marquis and Blair on sublime form this seems exceedingly likely.

On the subject of injuries, Tyler Garrett finally made it back onto the bench and may become closer to first team football sooner rather than later. Both Baudry and Alcock are also close to making a return, which may cause the Rovers manager to flirt with the idea of a back five featuring these newly fit players alongside Butler and Wright. Considering our current form with a back four though, such drastic changes to the personnel and formation seem highly unlikely. The only change to the starting eleven that could justifiably be made would be replacing Harry Middleton for Ricardo Calder who was particularly impressive over the weekend, even though he played on the right hand side, when he came on in the second half. Frazer Richardson may also make a return to the side, considering the knock he took at Crewe wasn’t severe, whilst players like Paul Keegan and Gary McShefferey are still very far away from fitness.

The last time we met Newport County was in 1987, where we lost 1-0 to the Welsh side. Admittedly, this means our previous form against them isn’t much to go on when it comes to predicting how the game will go. The Exiles have only won one game so far this season, leaving them in 20th in the league. Warren Feeney’s side’s last game ended in a 2-2 draw against Cheltenham, a side that sits one position above them in the table, with new signing Jon Parkin scoring two goals.

One to watch:

Newport’s aforementioned fixture against Cheltenham brings us swiftly to my ‘one to watch’ for this game: the ex-Rovers striker Jon Parkin.  So far, the infamous ‘beast’ has netted three goals for the side – two of which were in Newport’s most recent fixture. Although he was desperately unlucky during his tenure for us, he has always performed well elsewhere and is part of a long line of Rovers strikers who produced nothing for us in comparison to their work at other clubs.

Big Weekend:

Cedric Evina – Although he started the season moderately well, it seems that since Crewe away the left back’s confidence has diminished, making him much weaker than he previously was at the back. The main concern with Evina in my opinion is that he is much more competent when attacking than he is in his actual role as a defender, with most attacks from the opposition coming from the left. Now Tyler Garrett is fit the Frenchman has to ensure that he is solid at the back so he doesn’t lose his place in the team full stop by being demoted to the bench.

Lizzie Robinson

Crewe Alexandra vs Doncaster Rovers – Report

Rovers snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again…

  • If I was going to summarise the entirety of the game against Crewe in one word I’d go with ‘frustrating’. However, Rovers’ performance was anything but woeful. At times, it was absolutely brilliant which made the result as disappointing as it could get. Especially considering Rovers basically dominated play for 90 minutes. It was frustrating because we were so damn good and threw it all away.
  • Having said that, Rovers didn’t get off to the greatest start, it was a bit slow and lacklustre at times. We managed to have most of the possession, but struggled to really create anything. Once we got into the swing of things however, we were suddenly unplayable but seemed unable to pose any real threat of scoring.
  • The first time Crewe’s strikers got into our half, they hit the back of the net. It was very disappointing that Marosi didn’t manage to save the ball, especially considering the form he has been on as of late and how impressive most of his saves are.
  • Once we had conceded, we suddenly began to fully immerse ourselves in the game. Rovers’ latest signing, Frazer Richardson, was excellent in providing much needed width to the game, and he worked very well alongside Matty Blair on the right hand side of the pitch. Houghton, Coppinger and Rowe were also essential in creating chances from the remaining areas of the field.
  • Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to matter how many chances were created because not one player managed to capitalise on them. Williams and Marquis missed sitter after sitter, a particular highlight being where Marquis ran half the length of the pitch before sending a beautiful cross to Williams who somehow managed to miss a goal that seemed to be set up perfectly, and was totally unmissable. The constant missing of chances from both strikers caused Rovers fans to wonder how we were ever going to equalise if we were unable to score whilst being so dominant.
  • During the second half, Ferguson made one of his most bizarre double substitutions yet when he took off Wright and Richardson and replaced them with Middleton and Calder. This left Rovers with one real centre back in Andy Butler and forced Evina and Haughton to join him in the back three, which was as odd as it sounds.
  • Middleton didn’t seem to make any impact during the game, but Calder was something else entirely. The guy was unplayable, beating man after man. I was truly impressed with his performance, which was on another level in comparison to his many games for us last season.
  • Eventually, we equalised. Personally, I believe that the referee (who was diabolical throughout the game) began to feel sympathy for us when we missed every single attempt on goal and simply awarded the penalty because we deserved it after trying so hard. Tommy Rowe effortlessly made Rovers level at long last and the fans celebrated like it was a winning goal, mainly because most presumed we’d just miss it given our terrible luck with penalties this season.
  • Despite the substitutions helping to improve our chances of scoring, the minute Crewe began to attack we totally fell apart at the back, resulting in a late winner. This was entirely down to our sudden lack of defenders and left Rovers fans disappointed. Despite the excellent attacking performance, we ended up with a loss we didn’t deserve.

Winners:

Frazer Richardson: First impressions are very important in football, and he nailed his. Although he was subbed off, presumably due to fatigue after a lack of game time, he defended well and wasn’t afraid to go forward and create chances.

Ricardo Calder: I’ve already sang the Villa loanee’s praises plenty in this report, but that still doesn’t do his performance justice. He must be getting closer to a place in the starting eleven.

Tommy Rowe: Basically because he was the only player who managed to score.

Losers:

Cedric Evina: Crewe seems to be a ground that never favours the French defender, who seemed nervous despite an excellent spell so far this season. Last season he made a shambolic error that was a huge factor contributing towards our relegation, and it definitely hindered his performance on Saturday. The Crewe management noticed this and swapped the pacy Kiwomya to the right wing to fully expose his weaknesses, and boy did he run rings around him.

The front two: Both of them failed to score on numerous occasions, despite being fed constant chances. Both of them have scored a decent number of goals this season so far, and they need to ensure that they don’t get out of the goalscoring habit.

The referee: Despite him being a very experienced premier league referee, he was unbelievably biased towards Crewe (if you don’t take the sympathy penalty into account). The situation with Marquis’ head injury in the first half exemplified this, where he awarded the striker with a booking for re-entering the pitch after receiving treatment – only to realise that he had already been allowed back on by the fourth official.

Lizzie Robinson

Crewe Alexandra vs Doncaster Rovers – Preview

Three wins on the bounce and suddenly life is grand at Doncaster Rovers again…

Fergie takes his in-form side to Gresty Road this weekend to take on Crewe, a quick return for Rovers to the ground in which our pathetic relegation to League Two was confirmed only four months ago. Writing the wrongs of that day – and indeed the season – will take at least the entirety of this campaign but we have started well and can go a long way to banishing those bad memories with a fourth straight victory here which could even send us to the top of the table.

The Railwaymen are without a win in six matches since claiming their sole maximum of 2016/17 at Stevenage, meaning their last home win was that fateful 3-1 result that consigned Rovers to the bottom tier on a soggy spring afternoon. Whilst Rovers have kept three clean sheets in the last four games, goals have been flying in in Crewe’s games – they drew 3-3 with Hartlepool in their last home fixture and lost a seven-goal thriller at Blackburn in the EFL Cup last week.

A typically low key end to the transfer window at the club saw free agent Frazer Richardson become the only new addition to the squad this week, but the former Leeds and Rotherham defender is a vital addition to cover the still growing injury list, with Mitchell Lund out for two months. The better news from our bloodbath with Yeovil last Saturday is that both Joe Wright and Matty Blair escaped serious injury and will be available for the trip west.

One to Watch

Chelsea loanee Alex Kiwomya is a highly rated addition to Crewe’s young squad, the twenty-year-old having already notched three goals in his first four games for the club. Kiwomya, nephew of former Ipswich striker Chris, utilises his excessive pace and skill to threaten from the wide areas and must be considered the main dangerman in the opposition line-up.

Big Weekend

Joe Wright – Defender Wright withdrew from the Welsh U21 squad due to the club’s injury crisis and will be hoping that decision was justified as he looks to improve on a shaky performance in the 4-1 win over Yeovil. Wright is a work-in-progress and needs to add consistency to his game if he is to command a regular starting berth once injured players are fit again.

Adam Stubbings

Mansfield Town vs Doncaster Rovers – EFL Trophy Match Report

Unlike the embarrassing 337 who couldn’t help themselves and don’t have the capacity understand the nature and relevance of a boycott, we didn’t attend. Because of this, and in tribute to all of our shit cunt supporters the match report will instead feature a list of our top 10 worst chants ever heard at rovers:

In no particular order heres our cringe-worthiest verses ever sung on the terraces:

1.) We’re proud of you,
we’re proud of you,
we’re proud of you,
we’re proud.
(Sung after losing or being knocked out of tournaments)

2.)  We don’t care about Rotherham,
we don’t care about Leeds,
all we care about,
is DRFCeeeeeeeeeeeee

3.) O’Driscoll says,
we’re bouncing round the ground,
bouncing round the ground,
bouncing round the ground.
(He never, ever said that. Nor condoned that behaviour i’d imagine)

4.) Easy, Easy, Easy, Easy.
(Sung after scoring, courtesy of the worst type of LAD culture)

5.) I am a Yorkshire man,
I am a Rovers fan,
Don’t know what i want but i know how to get it,
*muffled misplaced lyric*
Cos iiiii wanna beeeee,
DRFCeeeeeeee
(To the tune of Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols)

6.) Woke up this morning feeling fine,
got Donny Rovers on my mind,
we play football the way, the way it should
(sometimes) <<<<<*LOL*
Something tells me we’re into something good
(To the tune of I’m into something good by Herman’s Hermits)

7.) Who needs Mourinho,
We’ve got Dave Pe-enney

8.) Fergie had a dream,
To build a football team,
He had no players so he had to sign them on loan,
We play from the back,
With Marquis in attack,
We’re Donny Rovers,
We’re on our way back,
De, de,, de, de, de, de…

9.) Is this the way to hammer Villa,
Every night I’ve been hugging my pillow,
Dreaming dreams of Donny Rovers,
And the goals they score for me,
We showed you how to hammer Villa,
O’Leary’s weeping like a willow,
Cyring over ref’s decisions,
And the Rovers’ victory,

Sha la la la la la la la – Rovers.
(Tin pot as fuck)

10.) Billy Billy Whitehouse,
Is better than Ronaldo,
Cos we saaaaid so,
Cos we saaaaaid so.
(To the tune of Cum on Feel the Noise by Quiet Riot. It literally doesn’t get any worse than this)

5 things to do instead of going to watch EFL Trophy Fixtures

As I’m sure you’re all woefully unaware tonight marks the beginning of the English football league’s brand new, shit-smeared format for the EFL Trophy (formally the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy).

No doubt we all squealed with delight at the thought of having to pay yet another 20 odd quid to see our proud boys square off against a Norwich youth side in a match of total insignificance for a trophy of little prestige. Reality has drawn us in our ‘group’ opener against Mansfield; a match with all sorts of genuinely exciting, meaningful and passionate connotations (scabs, scabs, scabs) soiled by a trophy that has undergone such a politically and financially dubious re-brand. Naturally, we at the DRSG (as well as loads of other supporters across the country) have called for a boycott of these fixtures, for the sake of both our sanity, dignity and our bank balances.

Knowing you however, the apathetic, lonely, bored and feckless lower-league football supporter, we’re more than aware how difficult it might be to turn down the temptation of blowing a tenner on wasting a night in another shite northern cess-pit. So to counter this we’ve decided to comp together a list of suggestions for things that you could do that would definitely be more fulfilling than going to watch any EFL Trophy matches:

1.) Do the same shit you do every other night that the EFL Trophy doesn’t exist.

That’s right, you the reader being the stereotypical football supporter this means we’re suggesting you cosy in with your Iceland frozen curry, watch endless re-runs of Top Gear specials, share the shit out of Lad Bible memes and wank yourself furiously to Habbo Hotel. (Just us then?)

2.) Go and actually play some football.

That’s right, football isn’t just a sport reserved for moisturised, tattooed dickheads! You too, the urban dickhead, can enjoy a good old fashioned game of togger too. Get yourself down to the Keepmoat Stadium cages to add an extra ‘edge’ to your boycott by spending your hard earned pennies on our cash-thirsty club anyway; there’s a small chance you’ll shift a few pounds, and a large chance you’ll play better than ATS does every week.

3.) Take a maniac out for a pint

Being a Rovers fan, it’s only natural we assume you are a total social recluse with a desperate desire to have friends. Good news! Being from a town with literally nothing else to do on an evening but get shit-faced there’s a whole host of like-minded desperate souls who’ll gladly share a pint and a story about the good old days about when they got caned at school and life daan t’pit. Doncaster town centre is a real hive for these toothless, thirsty companions; why not take that scruffy bloke who’s ‘lost his key’ for a 99p J-bomb?
If you lack the motivation to actually go outside, Viking Chat’s ‘Off Topic’ section offers a similar experience to spend your night debating with pissed up, foggy old Croaks.

 

4.) Book yourself in for some cosmetic surgery.

If you happen to have read John Ryan’s eloquently penned auto-biography ‘Dare to Dream’ you might have noticed a few subtle, between-the-lines references to a plastic surgery company that offers to Make Yourself Amazing. If nothing else, being involved in the DRSG has taught us one thing; that being a rovers fan goes hand in hand with being physically repulsive. If you are one of the masses of cretinous monstrosities that closer resembles football catering to actual human, perhaps a little time on the surgeons table wouldn’t go amiss. A little face-lift or hair-replacement never hurt anyone (apart from actual literal pain it causes); Dean Saunders and John Ryan can testify to it themselves.

5.)Start up a Rovers based supporters group.

Allow us to assure you that being part of a supporters group for rovers fans is wholly fulfilling and not at all a fruitless procrastination from all those things you should be doing like getting better jobs, being nice to your wives or girlfriends, or coming to terms with your rampant, closeted homosexuality. A club like ours deserves at least 3 more supporters groups to palm their personal opinions off as those of the masses and to swan about the stadium with an overwhelming sense of self-importance. With the famous DRSG vs VSC spat being simmered to near luke-warm perhaps its time for a more volatile, more committed and far better looking band of idiots to set up their own group to pretend they’re making a difference with. Viva la revolution!

So there you have it! You have no excuse to be suckered into attending this frankly disgraceful fixture, when all 5 of our alternative evening plans would prove far more beneficial to your mental health, social life and in some cases physical appearance. Enjoy your night off from the relentless grind of being a disregarded football fan, and I’ll see you all on Habbo Hotel!

Doncaster Rovers vs Yeovil Town – Report

Style and finesse wins out over brute force and thuggery as Rovers see off Yeovil comfortably on a rainy afternoon at Lakeside…

  • Andy Williams netted a richly deserved hat trick in the 4-1 win, striking home before half the crowd had reached their seats to give us a first minute lead. This was exactly what our talismanic striker needed – a confidence boost that he took on throughout the rest of the afternoon in a perfect performance.

  • If not for those two late goals, the Man of the Match award had to be heading to the captain again. James Coppinger pulled the strings across the attacking line all game, demonstrating his undoubted class and netting a crisp finish to take us two up before teeing up Williams for the third to put the game to bed.

  • Our visitors Yeovil Town got exactly what they deserved, the game unravelling after a 76th minute red card for Bevis Mugabi. The Glovers’ came to smash us off the park and it worked for a time, but in the end our superior footballing ability won out and we were able to comfortably see out the game against ten men.

  • Despite the scoreline, things were not plain sailing. Tom Eaves squandered two excellent chances before a moment of madness from emergency right back Matty Blair cost Marko Marosi a deserved clean sheet, and within minutes of Ryan Hedges’ halving the deficit from Blair’s mistimed back header, débutant sub Izale McLeod fired wide when he should’ve done a lot better.

  • On top of Yeovil’s brutish tactics, Rovers also had to contend with atrocious officiating from both the referee and his assistants, Martin Salisbury unable to keep a lid on the tension and proving utterly incapable of applying any kind of consistency to his decisions. Coppinger and John Marquis in particular were nobbled again and again without Salisbury batting an eyelash, whilst his assistants failed to grasp the basic rules of offside and the ball going out of play.

  • Two players ended the day in hospital, including Mitchell Lund who went off with a potentially serious rib injury. It is to the team’s credit that we have now won three on the trot and sit third in the table despite a swathe of injuries, and reinforcements may need to be brought in ahead of Wednesday’s loan deadline.

  • One thing we have cracked over the summer is set pieces. The opener came from another well worked Coppinger corner, and Rovers always looked threatening from the dead ball. In addition, crosses provided the assist on all three of the other goals, proving that creating chances and exploiting our width to good effect is no longer a problem.

Winners

Andy Williams: The ultimate confidence man turned in a flawless performance, showing exactly why he is our first choice striker with a well taken hat trick. On top of that, he worked hard all day harrying the Yeovil defence, scaring the keeper and always making himself available to carve out a chance at goal.

James Coppinger: Another vintage Copps display, the puppet master in the middle of the park. He got on the scoresheet, made an assist and his set piece delivery was as good as it’s ever been too. He also chased down every ball and wasn’t afraid to get into the thick of it against a set of brutes, even earning a slightly unjust yellow card for a scuffle in the second half.

Darren Ferguson: Stuck to his guns and played football the right way, ultimately paying dividends against easily one of the most physical sides ever to come to the Keepmoat. Fergie should be commended for getting us on this winning run in the face of so many setbacks, and it’s nice to see a manager always on the edge of his technical area shouting instructions to his players.

Losers

Bevis Mugabi: The young centre back summed up his team’s performance when he was sent off for a second bookable offence. Mugabi favoured sheer brutality in his dealings with our strikers all afternoon, and it’s a shame to see a team who once played proper football kicking superior sides off the park in back end of League Two.

Martin Salisbury: The referee was nothing short of a disgrace, and if he’s officiating in the EFL next weekend then there is no hope. He got so many decisions wrong, alongside his hapless assistants, and a red card was not at all a surprise to see owing to Salisbury’s complete and total inability to control the game.

Joe Wright: One man whose performance stood out for the wrong reasons in Rovers colours was centre back Wright. The youngster is still learning his craft but had a bad afternoon here, struggling to clear simple balls away, being physically outmatched constantly despite his height and getting caught chasing shadows far too often.

Cheltenham Town – Away Day Review

A ground that is referred to as ‘The World of Smiles’ was the venue for Rovers’ most recent away fixture. Taking the result into account, this is the perfect name for such a ground after Rovers fans left in very high spirits – astonished by the first away victory since January – but there are some aspects that may cause fans to question how apt the title truly is…

The ground is located just outside the centre of Cheltenham, meaning that it is surrounded by a plethora of places to get a pre-match meal or drink. This convenient location meant they had loads of decent places to park, once again at refreshingly cheap prices.

Even though Cheltenham are a team that have spent the last few years in non-league, their ground is surprisingly modern in comparison to some grounds in our division. There was actual working toilets and the seats were undercover which was very useful when the heavens opened during the game. However, I was honestly underwhelmed at the lack of character in the ground. In fact, the most unique and interesting aspect of the stadium is its whimsical name.

Despite there being loads of places to eat around the ground, when I read online they sold reasonably priced Pukka Pies I decided that eating in the stadium was a wise choice. I was very, very wrong. The only kind of pie they sold by the time I got there was chicken and mushroom and I don’t know anyone who actually likes that flavour and would order it by choice. Instead, I ordered chips. As I watched the woman prepare these for me, I realised that she had them in the fryer for maybe a minute at most. After eating them, it became very apparent that these were just raw.

Overall, ‘The World of Smiles’ didn’t leave me with that much to smile about. It wasn’t really anything special, but winning there certainly moved it up the rankings considerably. I think at the end of the day results will always swing my opinions of a place, and I’d love to visit again regardless of the quality if we can perform as well as we did.

Lizzie Robinson

Doncaster Rovers vs Cambridge United – Report

A much improved performance sees Rovers finally off the mark…

  • An injury to Niall Mason saw Mitchell Lund return to the starting line up but more surprising was the inclusion of Tyler Garrett and Marko Marosi at the expense of Riccardo Calder and Ross Etheridge respectively. The chopping and changing of the goalkeeper suggests that Fergie doesn’t know who his best keeper is. A worrying thought 4 games into the season.
  • Fergie talked in the run up to this game that Rovers must win at all costs. The players must not have been listening as they should have been behind after 30 seconds. A nothing ball was headed on to find Ben Williamson through on goal but the striker could only hit the side netting. A better striker would have punished Rovers.
  • A hectic start saw Cambridge keeper Will Norris booked for hand ball. He ran way out of his box in his effort to prevent a corner and bizarrely handled the ball. It wasn’t to be the last strange incident on a surreal Tuesday night.
  • Rovers began to get their bearings and when John Marquis was bundled over in the area it looked like Rovers would get some reward for their endeavour. Marquis picked himself up, dusted himself off (as I am required to say by law every time a fouled striker takes the resulting penalty) and saw his tame penalty saved by  Will Norris.
  • To be fair to Marquis he didn’t let his head drop and with Copps pulling the strings behind him, the former Millwall man carved out two good opportunities for himself but couldn’t finish. It is unlikely that Marquis will face a defence as charitable as that of Cambridge again this season and whilst it is encouraging to see him carving out his own opportunities, he needs to be more clinical.
  • The crowd were disgruntled at half time but Rovers had been the better side. The second half continued in the same vein with the U’s offering zero attacking intent. This lack of an outlet allowed Copps to be employed exclusively as an attacker and that freedom resulted in another impressive display.
  • The games second bizarre incident saw the assistant referee unable to continue presumably due to illness. This in of itself is not that unusual but the fact that the issue took 14 minutes to resolve including a request going over the tannoy for a supporter with a ref licence to take over from the fourth official was definitely a first for me.
  • The worry with a big break is that it will slow momentum for the team on top but to Rovers credit they picked up from where they left off as Matty Blair’s pinpoint cross was headed home by a clearly thrilled John Marquis. He had done everything but score.
  • Rovers continued to be the better team but needed a goal line clearance from Andy Butler deep into stoppage time to take all three points. An equalizer would have been harsh on Rovers. A deserved victory.

Winners

John Marquis – The former Millwall man went from zero to hero as he made up for his missed penalty with an emphatic header. Whilst Marquis and Williams seem to still be on entirely different pages, both players are capable of making something from nothing and should trouble even the best league 2 defences.

Matty Blair – It was an industrious rather than flamboyant performance from Blair but his cross for the match winning goal was a thing of beauty. Perfectly weighted, impossible to defend and something Rovers have lacked in recent games. Hopefully it will be the first of many assists this season for Matty Blair.

James Coppinger – Two matches, two man of the match awards. Copps was given space to roam by a poor Cambridge side and he made the most of it. On another night he could have had at least a hat trick of assists and his second half pass to set Williams free on the left hand side was breathtaking. The former Swindon striker’s tame finish was unworthy of such a incisive pass.

Losers

Cambridge United – After a bright start Cambridge lapsed alarmingly and the 1-0 scoreline flattered them. The U’s were toothless in attack, lost the midfield battle and looked disorganized at the back. Only an excellent performance from keeper Will Norris kept the scoreline respectable.

Ross Etheridge – Dropped twice and the season is only four games old with Fergie saying he wanted to take Etheridge ‘out of the firing line’. Worrying times for the young goalkeeper.

Fergie’s critics (myself included) – Darren Ferguson’s stubborn insistence on playing 5-3-2 was probably the deciding factor in Rovers relegation last term but it worked a treat here (albeit in slightly modified form with Houghton sitting as a DM) as Cambridge were totally nullified. This system was initially very successful at the start of Fergie’s reign and he will be hoping that he can make the team click again.