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.
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.
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.