Tag Archives: League 2

Accrington Stanley vs Doncaster Rovers – Preview

So it begins again. The joy, sorrow and insanity of the football season. 46 games over 9 months where only a few things are certain: we are going to moan, we are going to be very cold, and at the end of it all, whether we finish 1st or 24th, we’re going to be wishing our summer away begging for it to come back so we can do it all over again.

This year, we’ve wished our summers away so that we can wake up on Saturday morning and cross the country to go to Accrington. Call us mad they may, but this promises to be a great occasion with many intriguing questions set to be answered. How will the Rovers adapt to life back in the basement tier? Will Accrington be as formidable as they were last term? Will we actually have eleven men fit to play in the game?

That last one has been the main talking point over the last couple of weeks. A ludicrous run of bad luck has befallen the club before a ball has even been kicked in a competitive setting, with no less than four players going off injured in a friendly with Newcastle and several more hitting the treatment room, severely depleting the manager’s available resources.

New defensive maestro Mathieu Baudry will not have recovered from an achilles injury in time to make his debut at Accrington, whilst fellow new boy Joe Wright is also a fitness concern. Long serving midfielder Paul Keegan is also out, as is Gary McSheffrey. Joe Wright may be fit to make his debut against his former club, and there should also be Rovers bows for Matty Blair and John Marquis. Luke McCullough joins all those previously mentioned on the treatment table with a season ending injury.

Another Accrington old boy now in the hoops, or rather not in the hoops as he’s a goalkeeper, is Ross Etheridge. The young stopper impressed in the Stanley side that surprised everyone to make the play offs last season, and looks certain to be the new first choice between the sticks for Darren Ferguson this season.

Accrington themselves have been busy replenishing their squad this summer after losing several key men, including Etheridge. Josh Windass and Matt Crooks have departed north of the border to Rangers, with Arron Davies and Elliot Parish coming in to the new look squad, among others. Manager John Coleman has a tough task to emulate the superb efforts of his team in 2015/16, but only time will tell if they are up to that challenge.

Both sides will field unfamiliar line-ups this weekend that will need time to gel together, but it is always an exciting time of year when the season gets underway so hold on to that hope, and tell yourself that it can’t possibly go as wrong as it did last year.

Adam Stubbings

York City vs Doncaster Rovers – Preview

My only previous trip to Bootham Crescent came during our glorious league winning season of 03-04. Unfortunately the day will forever live in ignominy as the away end toilets were broken, which resulted in a steady stream of brown coloured water collecting at the bottom of the terraces. On their return to York, Rovers will be without their own shit puddle, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, due to injury. 

Joining ATS on the treatment table are (deep breath): Mathieu Baudry, Joe Wright, Harry Middleton, Craig Alcock, Gary McSheffrey and, of course, Paul Keegan. The injury situation at the Keepmoat has become so grim that a proposed friendly game against Kidderminster had to be postponed, much to the relief of anyone that had taken leave of their senses and had been toying with the idea of attending a pre season match between Doncaster Rovers and Kidderminster Harriers.

York City were sadly relegated out of the football league last season, finishing bottom of the league in the process. The Minstermen have since acted swiftly to force an upturn in fortunes this summer, bringing in no less than 15 new faces, with 14 players leaving the club, including former Rovers loanee Michael Ingham.

Our Yorkshire cousins received a 6-0 shellacking from Middlesbrough in their first pre season game but have since recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory over Stalybridge Celtic before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat at Bolton. Rovers will be looking to build on their impressive performance in the 2-2 draw against Newcastle United but preventing further injuries will probably be Darren Ferguson’s main priority. The injury to Harry Middleton is particularly galling as this season is vital to the academy graduates progress. If there is one silver lining to Middleton’s injury, the fact that it pushes a move for Paul Green ever closer, is surely it.

Whilst friendly games should always be taken with a pinch of salt, York City were a League 2 club last season so this should be a good opportunity for Rovers to gage the potential performance levels of some of our divisional rivals.

Doncaster Rovers vs Newcastle United – Preview

Rovers welcome a second North East club to the Keepmoat in as many games as the magpies of Newcastle head south for this fixture. Both sides tasted the bitter disappointment of relegation last season, and there will be a plethora of new faces on both team sheets for this one.

Darren Ferguson got to see his new-look defence tested for the first time in a 2-0 defeat to Premier League new boys Middlesbrough on Saturday, Tyler Garratt starting at left back with youth team prospect Reece Fielding also featuring. Thus far, the manager has been trying out the diamond formation in midfield with Tommy Rowe at the point, whilst Riccardo Calder impressed on the left hand side as a half time substitute against Boro.

The midfield is still missing Paul Keegan due to a minor injury, but centre half Joe Wright could be available to make his first appearance in the hoops on Wednesday night, as could Luke McCullough fresh off his enlightening trip to Ibiza following the European Championships.

It should be another good crowd after nearly 3,000 turned up to catch a glimpse of former Barcelona superstar Victor Valdes, although they instead had to make do with George Friend and Mustapha Carayol, and the star names keep on coming as Rafa Benitez, one of the biggest managers in world football, brings his big guns to the Keepmoat.

Matt Ritchie scored a superb debut goal in a friendly with Bohemians of Ireland at the weekend, and fellow new signing Dwight Gayle was also on the score sheet. There were also goals for Dutch international Gini Wijnaldum and tricky winger Rolando Aarons, although Aarons went off injured soon after netting and is a doubt for this game.

Adam Stubbings

Rossington Main – Away Day Review

Every pre-season at Doncaster Rovers begins the same: a local, non-league club who play on a glorified playing field.

After a long summer period of watching England disappoint in the Euros, reminding them that Rovers aren’t the only team that fails at every hurdle, a collection of fans who should know better gather together, to get back into the swing of things. Some reluctantly bracing themselves for the inevitable disappointment, some excited to finally leave the house again.

As I write this article, I am travelling to beautiful, sunny Florida to enjoy a holiday of happiness and relaxation, in somewhere so aesthetically pleasing it is a feast for your eyes, with clear blue skies, water, palm trees, stunning architecture etc etc. Obviously Rossington provides quite a stark contrast.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

There is something quite charming about visiting a place like this, but also something that makes you feel happy – relieved almost – that most grounds you visit this season will be better in terms of facilities (although in League 2 I do worry that may not be the case at times).

There are some aspects of Oxford Street that certainly evoke nostalgia among Rovers fans too. From the man walking around proudly declaring the total raised during the raffle (although he was missing a large whiteboard to display it on) and the questionable standards of the toilets, to Paul Green and James Coppinger recreating their corner routines from the last time they graced the field together.

However, there was one large issue. The burger queue. A companion of mine had quite the ordeal when attempting to provide himself and fellow fans with sustenance. Not only did he queue for all of half time to realise that particular queue served solely pies and no burgers whatsoever, but the actual queue he required was equally as long. What the burgers did to his bowel movements is best left to the imagination.

Personally, I don’t think the football pre-season should start any other way. A good crowd, an away win, a huge increase in income for a local club. It’s something that is truly heart warming and gets me super excited about the season ahead of us.

Lizzie Robinson

Rossington Main vs Doncaster Rovers – Preview

So it begins. The big one. Rossington Main away.

There is always an air of reluctance around preseason. A friendly against Rossington Main in July, is like being awoken early from a satisfying dream, only to be handed a shovel and directed towards a particularly odious pile of shit. Nobody is really ready yet.

Having said that, there is at least, an unfamiliar feeling of optimism around the Keepmoat Stadium at the moment. CEO Gavin Baldwin has confirmed that promotion is the only acceptable outcome for the coming season and eight new signings back up those strong intentions. Tommy Rowe is perhaps the marquee signing but an entire new back five (bizarrely sans a new right back) is also a welcome addition. John Marquis’ partnership with Andy Williams up front could be interesting and both Matty Blair and Gary McSheffrey come with a good pedigree (the latter having impressed in last season’s loan spell).

Like Rovers, Rossington Main are also coming off the back of a poor season. Just six wins in 2015/16 saw Rosso finish 20th in NCEL Divison One, their lowest ever league finish since joining the NCEL in 1991. My research has come up with a blank as to whether this means Rossington were relegated or not but 105 goals conceded ensures 2016 will live in ignominy for the Doncaster based side.

Rossington Main played Doncaster Rovers in a friendly back in 2013, a match that saw the highest ever attendance at Oxford Street (1243). Rovers won 3-0 on that occasion with Chris Brown, Paul Quinn and David Syers on the score sheet. Such is the upheaval at the Keepmoat Stadium since then that only Luke McCullough and Harry Middleton remain from the squad that made the short trip to Oxford Street.

It remains to be seen how many new signings will feature but this friendly gives Rossington the chance to earn a much needed financial boost and at only £6 a ticket, there is surely nowhere else you would rather be on a Tuesday night in July. Domestic football is back, we might as well embrace it…

 

Top 5 Potential Rovers Away Days Next Season

Relegation brings heartbreak but also opportunity. As Homer Simpson knows, the Chinese word for crisis and opportunity is the same. With that in mind we are trying to take a glass half full approach to next season by taking a look at the best potential away trips…

5. AFC Wimbledon

Whilst AFC Wimbledon have our full backing in their play off campaign, the prospect of seeing the Dons play against Rovers for the first time is a mouth watering one. Some of us may have already made the long trip to Kingsmeadow as Donny played there against Kingstonian back in the non league years but for many fans AFC Wimbledon promises a new ground and a new team to tick off.

4. Newport County

Rovers haven’t played Newport County since Valentine’s Day 1987 and The Exiles have since moved from their old stadium so Rodney Parade should be a new ground for everyone. Surprisingly, Rodney Parade is the second oldest stadium in the football league behind only Preston North Ends Deepdale although the away end is sadly all seated.

3. Forest Green Rovers

This one depends on how Forest Green fare in the National League play offs where they will play Dover Athletic in the semi final. Forest Green is hardly a glamour tie but having been there a couple of times during the non league years, I can confirm it is a good day out. FGR have moved from The Lawn to the imaginatively titled The New Lawn since then, so yet another potential new ground for the travelling Donny faithful.

2. Grimsby Town

Ahh Grimsby. One of the most aptly named towns in England. It does give Rovers fans a chance to sample some proper fish and chips at a ground not too far away. Rovers haven’t won at Blundell Park since 1979 and haven’t even played there in the league since 1990 so a trip to the seaside is as tantalizing as a league 2 football match can ever possibly be. Again it depends on the Codheads progress in the National League play offs in which they face Braintree Town.

1. Mansfield Town

The Stags had been regular sparring partners with Rovers right up until our last season in league 2 when Rovers secured a famous 2-1 victory at Field Mill on the way to winning the league. Emotions always run high when the two teams meet due to the incendiary history between the two towns related to the miners’ strike of 1984. This is the game that everyone will look for when the fixtures are announced. Mansfield away… it doesn’t get much more league 2 than that.

Doncaster Rovers vs Crewe Alexandra – Report

The fat lady finally sings. A fitting end to a wretched season…

  • The starting line up yielded no surprises and whilst it is of course disconcerting to see Evina and Lund operating at full back, the quality within the squad is so poor that Darren Ferguson unfortunately didn’t have much choice. It was this inherent lack of ability that would eventually cost Rovers.
  • Rovers started off brightly against a Crewe side who looked every inch like a team at the bottom of the table with nothing to play for. Alex were there for the taking and had Donny played at 20% of what they are capable of it would have been an easy victory.
  • It was no surprise then Rovers went 1-0 as Tommy Rowe slammed home from the edge of the box. Rowe was a threat every time he had the ball in the first half and combined well with both Coppinger and Williams. If only we had signed him earlier into the season.
  • Crewe responded quite well to going behind but it was still against the run of play when their farcical equalizer was poked home by Callum Ainley. Coppinger gave the ball away, Lund was out of position and Matthews should have claimed the cross but only Cedric Evina will know what he was doing trying to chest the ball down in his six yard box. Evina will be thrown under the bus for this admittedly terrible error but he has shown time and time again that he isn’t defensively good enough to play left back and should be employed further forward. The goal summed up Rovers season.
  • The worst part about Crewe’s equalizer is that it came about through a lack of technical ability. If Evina was confident in using his right foot he could have easily cleared the ball to safety. Instead he was forced to try and chest it. A league 1 footballer should be happy using both feet. No excuses.
  • If their first goal was classic Rovers than Crewe’s second goal was Rovers in exelcis. A terrible combination of Taylor-Sinclair and McCullough somehow allowed an easy finish for Marcus Haber. The amount of individual errors those two players have made this season is almost unbelievable.
  • Here are some adjectives: abysmal, embarrassing, disgraceful, woeful, shameful, heartless, dismal, clueless. Pick as many of them as you want to describe Rovers second half performance. All of them are accurate. When the fans demanded a reaction they instead got a team of disinterested players bottling it. They should all be deeply ashamed. Rovers fans sang that the players were not fit to wear the shirt. They aren’t even fit to step foot on a football pitch. With the exception of Coppinger, Butler, Rowe and begrudgingly Williams, every one of those players should be looking for a new club next season.
  • The manager of course must take a large slice of the responsibility as well and the decision to bring on Mandeville for Tyson was not just odd it was downright negligent. The fact that Rovers only decent chance of the second half fell for Mandeville was telling. The young striker opted to take the ball wide when through on goal before squaring to nobody. Not good enough.
  • Some of the players dropped to their knees at the final whistle. I’m sorry but if they cared that much Rovers would not be in this mess. The time to show emotion had long since passed. Ferguson going straight down the tunnel was also telling. He said after the game that Rovers fans should expect big changes. The first one should be a change of manager. Ferguson has failed in every single remit he was tasked with this season. The Rovers fans deserve a fresh start on their return to league 2 next season.

Winners

Crewe Alexandra – It is a sorry state of affairs when an already relegated team clearly wants it more but they really did. Credit to the Alex. They deserved it. I still can’t condone a team with nothing to play for taking the ball to the corner flag mind.

Tommy  Rowe – The only bright star in an otherwise shocking performance. The boards first priority should be trying to sign Rowe permanently in the summer.

Crewe Alexandra youth players – With kick off bizarrely delayed for 30 minutes we were treated to an on pitch performance from the Crewe youth team. It was of much better quality than the senior game that was to follow.

Losers

The Entire Rovers Squad – I hope they are really fucking hurting right now. They brought this completely on themselves.

Rovers ‘fans’ – Refused to go down with dignity with seats being ripped up and yet more pyro from the juvenile section of the crowd. We also must have the ugliest fan base in English football. Some real mutants in the away end at Gresty Road.

Darren Ferguson – If he had anything about him he would quit.