Tag Archives: match Review

Accrington Stanley – Away Day Review

I don’t think Rovers’ return to League 2 could have taken place at a better venue…

Rovers fans, after navigating their way through a housing estate, were welcomed to Accrington (and League 2) by a pile of seats that had been ripped out of the terraces and left to decay slowly on the grass outside the away entrance. I couldn’t help but think about the championship grounds we used to visit in comparison to now, and how I actually wouldn’t have it any other way.

When I was very, very young Rovers still played at grounds like this. It was at these places where my love for football was forged and going back to grounds that aren’t all-seated, sleek looking stadiums and actually have some character just floods me with a blinding sense of nostalgia.

The parking arrangements were excellent too. We left our car in the official away car park, a field that was adjacent to the ground. It cost £2 for parking, which in comparison to the prices over the last few seasons was a shock to the system. Paying £10 for a car park that’s basically the same is bloody extortionate really and the parking charges at Accrington were truly a breath of fresh air.

There are very few things better than standing on a terrace in the August sun, eating chips and slowly cooking in the heat. Well… maybe an away win for once would easily top it. However, believe it or not, Accrington isn’t really the promised land I have made it out to be thus far.

The staff at the Wham Stadium clearly weren’t prepared for the sheer number of fans who would be travelling to the first game of the 2016/17 season. By half time, drinks of any kind were totally sold out. This is hardly ideal in the intense heats and also quite irritating when you’ve queued for a good twenty minutes to be totally turned down. The kiosks also didn’t sell pies of any kind – outrageous really – and £2.50 for glorified oven chips is basically daylight robbery.

Personally, I don’t even want to talk about the state of the toilets, which comprised of half a dozen portaloos and four cubicles (none of which have working flushes) and after thousands of Rovers fans had made use of the facilities it wasn’t a pretty sight at all.

Overall, results aside, the trip to the Wham Stadium was a wonderful day out. It set the tone for League 2 football and if all the grounds this season are of a similar nature (perhaps with better toilets) I cannot wait to visit them.

Lizzie Robinson

Accrington Stanley vs Doncaster Rovers – Report

A brand new season, but the same old story at Doncaster Rovers…

  • For too long now, we have seen Rovers struggle to put their stamp on games. Darren Ferguson’s teams seem incapable of controlling proceedings and always look like conceding. The momentum shifts in this game were typical of his entire tenure at the club to date.
  • A golden opportunity to go in front early was squandered when Andy Williams hit his 2nd minute penalty with all the conviction of a Russian drug tester, and minutes later Rommy Boco slotted in to put Accrington ahead despite suspicions of offside.
  • Tommy Rowe took his goal well to bring us back into the contest, but that was completely undone when Matty Pearson took a pot shot from 30 yards and it somehow managed to squirm into the bottom corner. Debutant keeper Ross Etheridge failed to meet the bounce of the ball and was left flapping at thin air.
  • It was a day to forget for both goalies, Stanley’s Aaron Chapman having a calamitous afternoon. First he bundled John Marquis to the floor for a penalty after only 60 seconds, then he dropped a tame effort from Andy Williams into his own net to level the match at 2-2.
  • Chapman can count himself lucky this day didn’t turn out worse for him, guilty of a succession of bad moments throughout the game, redeemed only by his early penalty save from Williams but in truth he was lucky to go the right way and meet the striker’s weak attempt.
  • The story of goalkeeping woe saw its final chapter in injury time however, Sean McConville meeting a superb cross-field ball from substitute Chris Eagles, scything his shot across goal and past Etheridge, who should have done better.
  • How predictable it is becoming for Rovers to concede early and late. Ferguson needs to drill discipline into his players from minute one, instead of seeing lapses in concentration cost us time and time again. We just don’t know how to shut up shop, staying too open into the latter stages of matches.
  • The stubborn insistence on 3-5-2 continues to perplex. Last season we saw this formation deployed despite the personnel not being right for it, and due to a bad spate of injuries we are left in the same situation again. The manager needs to learn to adapt to the players he has available, not plough on with square pegs in round holes.
  • The biggest victim of this was Riccardo Calder. After an impressive pre-season, Calder struggled on the left hand side as he just cannot defend. He was beaten half a dozen times down the flank, but showed enough going forward to suggest he has a place in the team as a left winger.
  • The lack of pre-season minutes showed, an unfamiliar line-up playing like a group of strangers. They may have trained with us through the week, but Niall Mason and Jordan Houghton looked every bit the Saturday morning signings that they were, and will need more time with the squad before they can make a proper impact.
  • Whilst we lost through our own shortcomings, the officiating did not help. Sebastian Stockbridge utterly failed to control proceedings and his assistants were guilty of alarming inconsistency. Sadly we best get used to this standard of refereeing now we’re back in the basement tier.
  • Despite losing several key players from their remarkable promotion push last season, Accrington acquitted themselves well in this game and never gave up in the face of sustained pressure from Rovers. They showed that there will be no easy games in League Two, and our task to go straight back up will not be an easy one.

 

Winners

John Marquis – Probably our best player on the day, Marquis put himself about and held the ball up well. He also made sure the ball was in the net after Chapman had fumbled Williams’ shot over the line, preventing the officials from having to make a big judgement call.

Matty Blair – His pace was a constant threat to the Stanley back line, and despite concerns over his defensive capabilities he performed well at the back when called upon. Indeed it was sub Liam Mandeville who lost his man on that flank for Accrington’s late winner, rather than Blair.

John Coleman – The Stanley manager adapted to the game with his substitutions and made sure his side were able to bounce back when Rovers twice came from behind. The introduction of Chris Eagles proved crucial, the former Man Utd winger expertly picking out McConville for the winning goal.

Losers

Darren Ferguson – Has he learned anything over the summer? It was the same problems as always that cost us in this game. Yes, we have key players missing, but he is too headstrong when it comes to his formation and takes too long to change things.

James Coppinger – The legendary Copps could not cope with his responsibility in centre midfield. Another victim of the formation perhaps, but as team captain he needs to show more leadership to those around him on the pitch.

Rovers Fans – Not only did we have to suffer the performance of the team, but under the baking summer sun on an exposed terrace, there were more than a few red faces through sunburn at full time as well as due to the result.

Adam Stubbings

Doncaster Rovers vs Newcastle United – Report

A positive result for Rovers but at what cost?

  • Rovers started the game with the same 5-3-2 formation favoured by Darren Ferguson last season. The lack of a decent right back was arguably the biggest catalyst for Rovers relegation. After one half of football it is safe to say that Matty Blair is not the answer. More on this later.
  • Blair was constantly beaten down the right side by the marauding Jamaal Lascelles. The problem with 5-3-2 is that it calls for too many square pegs in round holes. Alcock also looked uncomfortable on the left side of a back three and Evina was non existent.
  • Newcastle started with a strong side featuring Jonjo Shelvey, Daryl Janmaat, Aleksandar Mitrović and Matt Ritchie amongst others. As well organized and hard working as Rovers were, lets not take away from how awful Newcastle were in the first half. Aside from Lascelles, and a few moments of genius from Shelvey, the Magpies were bereft of ideas and lacked match fitness.
  • As both sides were relegated last season, it is unsurprising that the first goal of the game came from a calamitous error. New signing Matz Sels had a shocker in the Newcastle goal as he took a terrible touch from a back pass and then promptly pushed over John Marquis. Andy Williams duly dispatched the penalty. 1-0.
  • The second goal was almost as bad from a Newcastle point of view. Copps floated the ball to the back post, where Andy Butler was possibly the most unmarked a player has ever been from a corner. Butler had time to adjust his hair, top up his tan, and catch a few Pokemon, before heading to the back post where Andy Williams was waiting to nod home 2-0.
  • A solid first half from Rovers was marred by a serious looking injury to Joe Wright who was then replaced by Mitchell Lund. Wright looked assured and calm at the back, something that was definitely missing in the last campaign. Hopefully he will be fighting fit come the start of the season.
  • It was a different Rovers side that came out for the second half with Marosi, Garratt, Mandeville and Calder replacing Etheridge, Evina, Rowe and Blair. Calder was direct and looked confident but Garratt struggled to adapt to playing as part of a back five. You would think that Rovers miserable relegation would perhaps have changed Fergie’s mind about playing wing backs. In fact, he seems to have strengthened his resolve on this matter, despite all evidence pointing to it being a mistake.
  • Newcastle dominated the early exchanges of the second half and grabbed a soft equaliser as Isaac Hayden’s deflected effort looped over Marko Marosi. Fortuitous but probably deserved.
  • More bad news for Rovers just past the hour mark as Harry Middleton was stretchered off. Before the stretcher had even been set down, it was called into action again. This time for Craig Alcock. It was an evening that included all Rovers greatest hits: slapshod defending, freak injuries, bad luck and conceding late goals. Encore!
  • Things went from bad to worse for Rovers as youngster Joey McCormick left the field with a shoulder injury. Despite the fact that Prince Moncrieffe was reportedly waiting in the wings, Rovers finished the game with 10 men. Newcastle took full advantage as Ayoze Perez struck on the 90th minute. Whilst it was disappointing to concede so late, a draw was probably a fair result.

Winners

Rovers goalkeepers – Both Ross Etheridge and Marko Marosi were excellent in the Rovers goal. Marosi in particular made a number of top class saves and he was understandably furious to be beaten by two deflected efforts. Marosi has been a patient and willing understudy and it is pleasing to see him doing so well.

Both sets of fans – 5698 is an excellent attendance for a pre season friendly and the figure of 2352 from Newcastle is, quite frankly, ridiculous, even taking into account all the Newcastle fans from Donny. The Black Bank was vocal and positive throughout. Lets keep it going into the start of the season now. Also nice to see Copps get a smattering of applause from the Newcastle end.

Mitchell Lund – I have written more about our right back problem then any other one thing on this site. It gives me great pleasure then to say that Mitchell Lund was excellent after replacing Joe Wright. Sharp, strong in the tackle and confident. The complete opposite of the boy who looked like a competition winner at the start of last season. Keep it up lad.

Losers

Rovers injury list – Alcock, Wright and Middleton join Mathieu Baudry, Gary McSheffrey and Paul Keegan on the treatment table. Hardly an ideal start to the season.

Rafa Benitez –Not long ago Rafa was managing Real Madrid. Now he finds himself at the Keepmoat Stadium. Presumably he found time to reel off a few facts to Darren Ferguson about his Dad…

Darren Ferguson – I can’t believe that Fergie gave a game to A. Trialist. Such a backward step to be looking at a player who has failed at so many other clubs. Ferguson out!

Whoever picked the man of the match – Matty Blair?? Utterly bizarre. Donny Dog had a better game.

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

Doncaster Rovers vs Burton Albion – Report

Rovers relegation mathematically confirmed in forgettable game of football…

  • Darren Ferguson took the opportunity to give youth a chance with his starting line up with both Harry Middleton and Liam Mandeville included. More puzzling was the inclusion of loanee Remi Matthews. With Stuckmann not even in the squad is this the end for the popular keeper?
  • As well as Stuckmann, James Coppinger and Cedric Evina were also left out, although that was presumably to give an opportunity for Will Longbottom and Matty Davies to appear on the bench.
  • The game started at walking pace and never really got into second gear with both sides struggling to get hold of the ball. Without Coppinger, Rovers only creative outlet was a frustrated looking Tommy Rowe. Chaplow should have been the other attacking force in midfield but he was anonymous until being deservedly subbed just after the hour mark. I don’t think anyone would be too bothered if that is Chaplow’s last contribution in a Rovers shirt.
  • The sides went in at half time 0-0 and with Burton’s promotion rivals Walsall winning 3-0 it promised to be a nervy second half for the Brewers.
  • Rovers fans hoping that Aaron Taylor-Sinclair had decided to spontaneously retire from football were left disappointed to find that he was only injured. That injury left Rovers with 10 men on the field with Ferguson having already made all his subs and effectively ended the match as a contest.
  • From there the game played out like an exhibition match, especially when an injury to Riccardo Calder reduced Rovers to 9 men. This was the most Nigel Clough promotion ever, a 0-0 draw against 9 men. Congratulations I guess?
  • On a serious note nobody can deny Burton their day in the sun and it was nice to see them celebrating at the final whistle. Successive promotions for a club of their size is a phenomenal achievement and along with Leicester and Northampton they have set a wonderful example for teams punching above their weight financially.
  • Quite what some Rovers fans were doing on the pitch is anyone’s guess however. In other news, their next planned acts of rebellion include staying up past their bedtime and refusing to do their homework.

Winners

Rovers Youth Players – One group who may benefit from our relegation is the academy players. It is unlikely in the extreme that Lund, Middleton, Mandeville et al would have played much part next season had we stayed in league 1 but they all have a chance to cement their place in the starting XI next season now. Mandeville will have to stop looking like a competition winner and start to resemble a footballer at some point if he wants to play more of a part however.

Will Longbottom – The latest academy player to make his debut looked lively until Rovers went down to 9 men. Let’s hope he becomes more than just a quiz question.

The Black Bank – Whilst it continues to attract an unsavoury element, on the whole the Black Bank has been a raging success this season. Credit to all involved. They deserve better.

Losers

Fans Of Last Day Drama – One of the worst spectacles I can ever remember at the Keepmoat, and in front of the Sky cameras no less. What an advert for League 1 football…

Rovers Players – The fact that Rovers finished the season unbeaten against the top 2 is a further testament to how ludicrous it is that we have been relegated. Let’s hope Darren Ferguson’s promised clear out comes to fruition. They are a thoroughly rotten bunch.

The Board – Thanks for my free drink. I would have preferred a reduction on my obscenely priced season ticket though.

 

 

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.

Doncaster Rovers vs Coventry City – Report

A dominant Rovers display keeps slim survival hopes alive…

  • The injury to Richard Chaplow caused an enforced line up change as Riccardo Calder was brought in. Other than that it was more of the same as ATS continued to sit out.
  • Rovers dominated the early exchanges and got the goal they deserved on 21 minutes when Gary McSheffrey’s near post corner was flicked into the net by Tommy Rowe. 1-0.
  • McSheffrey’s exemplary set pieces have made the difference in Rovers last 3 games, with 4 goals coming directly from corners. It was concerning to see the Scunthorpe loanee limp off with a jarred knee. Early reports do not sound promising. Expect to see a lot of James Coppinger’s corners hitting the first man in the final two matches.
  • Nathan Tyson replaced McSheffrey and instantly looked bright and made a nuisance of himself. It was his determination to get to the byline, as well as a pinpoint cross, that led to the second goal as Andy Williams headed home at the far post. 2-0 and cruising.
  • The expected Coventry fight back never materialized as Rovers served up what was possibly their best first half performance at home all season. It’s a shame they waited until the penultimate home game of the season to do so.
  • Rovers started the second half as brightly as they had the first and always looked the more likely to score as the Sky Blues struggled to get a foot hold in the game. Deserved man of the match Tommy Rowe dominated the midfield with Alcock and particularly Butler looking strong at the back. Butler has been magnificent in recent games and is hitting peak form at just the right time.
  • Other than a smart save low down from Remi Matthews, a disappointing Coventry side were totally overran as Rovers gave a master class in how to shut down a game. Donny had 60% possession, more shots on target and more corners in a win that never felt under threat.

Winners

Tommy Rowe – Assured in possession, worked hard and took his goal brilliantly. Harry Middleton has had a decent breakthrough season for Rovers but how different things could be had we been able to call on Rowe for the entirety of the season.

Rovers defence – A first clean sheet since 23rd of January, the first win and a clean sheet since 2nd January and the first win and a clean sheet at home since 24th of November (!). More of the same in the final two games please.

Fans of drama – Once again it appears likely that Rovers will go into the final game of the season with everything to play for. Rovers fans have had a lot to grumble about these past few years but it certainly hasn’t been boring.

Tyson/Williams – A strike partnership that looked so deadly at the turn of the year has finally been revived after months of inactivity. It is vital for Rovers survival hopes that their understanding continues into the final two games.

Losers

Richard Chaplow – Despite having a fine pedigree, this has been a poor season for Chaplow and he should be one that is moved on in what should be an inevitable summer clear out. Rovers looked a far better side with Calder in for Chaplow with the Aston Villa loanee tracking back defensively as well as causing problems going forward.

Coventry City – A limp and turgid performance from a side who still harboured hopes of reaching the play offs. One of the easiest games Rovers have enjoyed all season.

Sportsmanship – Whilst it was generally agreed that allowing Bury to equalize on the opening day of the season was the correct course of action, how we could desperately use those 2 dropped points now. If Rovers do go down by a margin of 2 points or less, they will basically have been punished for adhering to fair play. After the farce of the abandoned game at Charlton during our last relegation, this would be particularly galling.

Doncaster Rovers vs Wigan Athletic – Report

Don’t you just love football…

  • After 16 games without a win, it feels like the starting line up barely matters. Even the continued inclusion of Taylor-Sinclair could only raise a meek sigh. That being said there were no real surprises in the starting XI as Fergie continued with a 442 formation with McCullough playing as a holding midfielder.
  • McCullough’s total lack of positional awareness hasn’t been as fatal in midfield as it was at centre back but against a strong Wigan midfield he was continuously lost as the Latics midfield surged forward. He must be a stop gap and not a permanent feature in that position.
  • In the first half and at times in the second, Rovers were worryingly easy to break down with two simple passes often finding Wigan in behind the Donny backline. Butler and Alcock stayed strong however and deserve all the plaudits.
  • It was a familiar story at half time. No cohesion, second to every ball, a baffling goal. Rovers were sinking without a trace. It was the withdrawal of Taylor-Sinclair (something that should have happened weeks ago) that led to Rovers revival. Hopefully that is the last we will see of him this season.
  • The familiar narrative would be ‘God knows what the manager said to them at half time’ but in truth Rovers started the second half just as badly as they had the first. It wasn’t until Butler’s equalizer that the tide started to turn.
  • His was a header bundled home through sheer power of will as Butler pushed his way through at the back post to beat Jääskeläinen. Butler charged through the Wigan back line like a brick wall couldn’t stop him, and whilst this commitment was genuinely joyous to see, it does pose the question why it hasn’t happened sooner.
  • Just four minutes later and Rovers were ahead. Same story as another McSheffrey set piece was forced home by Butler at the opposite post this time. Did it cross the line? Who cares. Rovers are in the position they are in due to mismanagement and poor player performance but nobody can deny that we have also had more than our fair share of bad luck this season. It was nice to see something go our way for a change.
  • The thirty or so minutes that passed between Rovers 2nd and 3rd goal felt like an age but for all Wigan’s pressure they could only muster 2 shots on target all afternoon. There was a time however when a Wigan equalizer felt inevitable as Rovers defenders snatched at clearances time and time again.
  • Finally though, Andy Butler’s 3278th headed clearance of the game fell to Gary McSheffrey who stormed into the penalty box only to be felled by David Perkins. It actually looked outside of the box to me but I’m definitely not complaining…
  • The tension and nervousness around the Keepmoat Stadium was palpable as Andy Williams stepped up to take the penalty. Williams seemed to put 16 games of anger, frustration and heartache into his emphatic penalty kick which slammed past Jääskeläinen and sent the Rovers faithful into rapture. A moment to cherish in an otherwise miserable season.

 

Winners

 Rovers fans – I have been falling out of love with Rovers for a long time. Whilst I can’t foresee a time when I will actually stop going, attending games no longer holds the same excitement that it once did. For the final thirty minutes against Wigan however I felt something that has been missing for some years, finally return. I really really fucking cared. Like when you are a kid and the Rovers result on Saturday is literally the most important thing in your life. It was nice to feel that way again and if Rovers can play like that on Tuesday night at Chesterfield, then we have a real chance of survival.

Andy Butler – In a mediocre season Andy Butler has at least been consistently our best defender. Rovers needed a leader today and Butler stepped up with two towering headers and some crunching tackles.

Andy Williams – Williams’ ran and ran all game and finally got the goal he deserved. He is clearly a confidence player and his goals could be crucial if Rovers are to have any chance of staying in league 1. Let’s all get behind him now. Make yourself a hero Andy.

Losers

Wigan Athletic – Everything about Wigan screamed complacency and when Rovers went ahead the Latics struggled to cope. The Wigan players were petulant and arrogant when things started to go wrong for them and it was no surprise when Perkins was sent off. They will probably still get promoted but they will have to remember they have no divine right to be in the championship.

Aaron Taylor-Sinclair – ATS has long since ceased to be a footballer and has now become some sort of surreal performance artist, testing himself to the very limit of physics and reality, all in the name of discovering how long one man can be the worst player on the park and still be picked. Hopefully his latest bout of passing the ball out of play, failing to stop crosses and randomly falling over, will be his last. Evina has to start on Tuesday night.

Reece Wabara – For once, it was absolutely lovely to see Reece Wabara on the losing side at the Keepmoat. Poetic justice for a player who is as to blame as anyone for our three year slump.

 

Man of the Match – Andy Butler

We don’t normally do these but by God does he deserve it. Imagine the scenes if he had taken the penalty…

Doncaster Rovers vs Blackpool – Report

Rovers somehow find yet another way to lose a game. This time lady luck intervenes…

  • The starting line up brought a few surprises with Calder and Williams on the teamsheet. Completely unsurprising was the inclusion of Aaron Taylor-Sinclair who would probably start even if one of his legs had fallen off. He promptly gave the ball away 4 times within the first 6 minutes.
  • Williams too did nothing to justify his place in the starting XI with a lacklustre performance. The former Swindon striker is seemingly trying to prove to himself that he isn’t utterly bereft of confidence by shooting at every opportunity from all angles. He never came close to testing the Blackpool keeper.
  • Riccardo Calder was much more promising  however and provided Rovers best attacking outlet in the second half whilst also covering well defensively. Perplexing then to see him brought off for Cameron Stewart when Rovers so badly needed a goal.
  • Rovers started the game brightly and dominated possession in the first half but didn’t produce much of note as a stop start game bypassed the midfield. It is not difficult to see why these two teams are struggling at the wrong end of the table.
  • Blackpool came with a game plan to soak up pressure and then hit Rovers on the break with long balls over the top. Only some excellent saves from Remi Matthews kept the match goalless at half time as this plan worked a treat. It also led to the winning goal albeit after constant Rovers pressure.
  • Donny came out fighting in the second half and pushed for what would have been a vital winner with Middleton and Coppinger finally managing to put their foot on the ball. Both were excellent with the ball at their feet and carved out a number of opportunities that were squandered.
  • The blessing in disguise of Luke McCullough being away on international duty meant that Butler and Alcock were able to start together at centre back. The duo confirmed they are by far Rovers best centre back pairing. Alcock in particular made some bone crunching tackles and looked like a man fighting for his club. If only they had played there all season.
  • Lund too was excellent and gave everything for the cause but it can’t be overlooked how easily he was taken out of the game by one long ball for Blackpool’s goal. It was cruel on Lund and Matthews. In fact most of the team had put a decent shift in.
  • Even more harsh was the fact that Rovers had come heartbreakingly close to scoring just minutes earlier. Tommy Rowe had been so anonymous I had forgotten he was playing in the second half until his glorious curling effort from the edge of the box nearly won it for Rovers, instead crashing down off the bar. A moment that will perhaps define our season.

Winners

Blackpool – As much as I wanted Rovers to win the match, all football fans should be united in trying to bring about change at Blackpool. It is a disgrace what has happened at that club and I sincerely hope they go on to stay up (hopefully not at our expense).

Riccardo Calder – The young winger refused to play within himself and it was this confidence that dragged his team mates up from the doldrums. Didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.

Craig Alcock – His best performance in a Rovers shirt. Expect to see him dropped for McCullough at the first opportunity…

Losers

Darren Ferguson –  It is difficult to see what Rovers would achieve by bringing in a new manager at this late stage of the season. The flip side however is a man who has presided over 15 games without a win should not be allowed to manage our football club any longer. Fergie has been a complete and utter failure in every aspect of the job. Time to go.

Aaron Taylor-Sinclair – Despite being signed by Paul Dickov, no player is as indicative of Fergie’s time as manager as ATS. No desire, no heart, no talent, yet continuously chosen to start every game. This Summers clear out should begin with ATS. Simply not a League 1 footballer.

Andy Williams – Looks like he could play for a thousand years and never score again. Needs to put this rotten last few months behind him and the best place to do that seems to be from the bench. If Tyson is fit he has to start.

Doncaster Rovers vs Peterborough United – Report

Will we ever win again??

  • Can anyone remember the last time our fans seemed so resigned to their fate? There was barely any anger at the final whistle, just shocked acceptance. We are in big trouble.
  • It didn’t have to be this way however. Rovers had a dream start when Harry Middleton’s crunching tackle in his own half started a move that ended with Williams squaring for the returning James Coppinger to tap into an empty net. Welcome back Copps.
  • Peterborough responded surprisingly well for a side who hadn’t won in 8 games. Rovers had a fair bit of possession but Posh created the better chances and it was no surprise when they equalized on the stroke of half time. It was also no surprise to see weak, indecisive defending leading to an opposition goal. Cameron Stewart didn’t do enough to stop the cross, the centre backs and goalkeeper could only watch as Craig Alcock lost his man on the back post. Soft.
  • Harry Middleton came off at half time for new signing Tommy Rowe, presumably to allow Rowe to provide more of a creative influence in the middle of the park. Rowe contributed to an improved second half performance that was more down to graft and commitment than any talent. Both sides were poor in a game littered with bad first touches and individual errors.
  • Ferguson had hinted he would change things round for this game and he did  so with a change to 442 and various personnel changes. Whilst Middleton justified his inclusion and was unlucky to come off, it is difficult to think what Luke McCullough offers in midfield that Paul Keegan doesn’t. DF seems determined to find a place for McCullough despite him being one of our most underwhelming players.
  • The same goes for Aaron Taylor-Sinclair who became the latest player to have a go at playing right back. It is almost comical that Rovers find themselves in March without a specialist right back. The right back/wing back position has been a farce this season and has contributed massively to the predicament the club find themselves in presently.
  • Further up the pitch Cameron Stewart was almost entirely anonymous but Copps enjoyed a confident return to the side. As well as scoring the goal he generally looked bright and positive on the ball.
  • His assist for the first goal aside, Andy Williams continues to frustrate. In his defence he didn’t receive much service from an unimaginative midfield.
  • Rovers pushed for an equalizer whilst still giving the ball away cheaply and without conjuring up any meaningful chances. The second half was an improvement on recent performances but only because our recent form has been so poor. Peterborough were there for the taking at 1-0 down and Rovers froze.
  • After the Shrewsbury game we wrote ‘The simple fact is without Stuckmann, Rovers would probably be bottom now. He has produced some vital saves in big games and whilst his distribution is poor he has to go down as one of Paul Dickov’s better signings. There is no excusing his howler for Shrewsbury’s goal however.’
    Swap ‘Shrewsbury’ for ‘Peterborough’. This must be the big Germans last mistake this season. There is no margin for error.

Winners

James Coppinger – Still lacking in his final delivery at times but it was nice to have a calming presence on the ball and Copps probably deserved his man of the match award. As captain and a senior player in a young team, he needs to take responsibility in the coming games. His goal against Posh was a good start.

Andy Butler – A solid, decisive defensive performance. If only his counterparts in defence were the same.

Losers

Rovers fans –

Donny’s home record this season: P19 W5 D6 L8

Donny’s home record since the start of last season: P42 W12 D12 L18

Everyone involved with the club should be thoroughly ashamed of the above statistics. It is not the fault of just the players, or just the management or just the board. It is indicative of all parties under performing massively for an extended period of time.  Rovers season tickets currently look like terrible value for money to be honest.

Seb Stockbridge – I can’t recall a time that I have spoken about the officials when writing these match reports this season but Seb Stockbridge can not go unmentioned. He ensured that himself with a petulant, cowardly and indecisive bout of refereeing. His only concern was to make himself the centre of attention as much as possible whilst also allowing Ben Alnwick to time waste constantly. Worst of all though were the constant tugs of war in the Peterborough penalty box that Stockbridge allowed to go unpunished. Anywhere else on the pitch he would certainly blown up. Weak.

Aaron Taylor-Sinclair – It is difficult to remember a player be so bad for so long yet retain their place in the starting XI. Absolutely baffling. Fergie’s insistence on bringing in attacking midfield players rather than defensive reinforcements is at best negligent and at worst stubborn and reckless.