Tag Archives: Stoke City


Can Stoke do it on a cold, wet afternoon in Doncaster? Yes it turns out, but only just…

• Rovers fans awaited the line ups with more interest than usual in the run up to the third round FA cup tie against Stoke City. Would Ferguson play one up front or two? Keegan or Middleton? McCullough or Lund? And in terms of the visitors, how many of their magic front four would play? How seriously would Mark Hughes take it?

• Such is the embarrassment of riches at Stoke that even without Affelay, Bojan, Arnautovic and Shaqiri they were still able to include Peter Crouch, Jon Walters and Charlie Adam among others. Crouch and Adam alone have commanded over £50m in transfer fees, a phenomenal figure when taking into account Rovers much more modest transfer outlay.

• Despite the huge gulf in class on paper, Rovers started brightly and looked fairly comfortable until Aaron Taylor-Sinclair failed miserably to deal with Joselu on the right wing and his cross found Peter Crouch in the middle. 1-0.

• Rovers once again showcased their new found resilience and McCullough’s superb run and pass allowed Tyson to sweep home at the second attempt. Luke McCullough has been a near constant source of irritation and disappointment during his time at Rovers so it was bizarre to see him strolling past premier league players at ease. More of the same in the future please.

• Rovers had Stoke rattled after the goal with Williams displaying some nice touches and Keegan bossing a midfield he had no right bossing. Stoke manager Mark Hughes looked noticeably worried, although years of managing in the premier league have left the former Manchester United striker with a constant look of forlorn horror. There is a phenomenon amongst premier league managers to turn into old women the longer they continue at the top level. Stick a hairnet on Mark Hughes and put him in a bingo hall and he wouldn’t look at all out of place…

• Rovers continued where they had left off in the second half and looked fairly comfortable until Stuckmann’s moment of utter madness. To pass the ball straight to the opposition is unforgivable and whilst Walters finish was truly top class, the whole situation should and could have been avoided.

• It would have been easy for Rovers heads to drop after going behind but instead the reds best spell of the game followed with Andy Butler hitting the bar and heading over from close range and Nathan Tyson (baby) failing to turn home albeit from a difficult angle. Whilst a Charlie Adam inspired Stoke were impressive in the second half, even the most ardent Potter wouldn’t have begrudged Rovers an equalizer. I believe the correct parlance is ‘a proper cup tie’.

• It is not often that a club can take so many positives from a defeat and the fact that the Rovers players looked visibly gutted at the final whistle was an indication of just how close Donny came to forcing a replay. Rovers have come a long way since Darren Fergusons arrival and it is difficult not to be excited about the future. Rovers have already travelled to every team in the top 8 of league 1 and with 3 of our next 4 games at home there are plenty of reasons for optimism amongst the Keepmoat faithful

Paul Keegan – Fringe player to undroppable in a few short games. Keegan was immense against the Potters and should be proud of a battling and physical display against the masters of the dark arts. If he stays fit Keegan will play a vital part in the rest of the season.

Richard Chaplow – Could have had two assists on another day with Andy Butler squandering both of Chaplow’s pin point crosses. If Rovers are to genuinely push for a play off place this season then it is vital that the squad players play a part.

The Black Bank – It easy to forget after yet another unmitigated success that there were many who questioned the merits of an unreserved seating section at the start of the season. Following the successful tifo display and another 90 minutes of near constant noise, those doubters have emphatically been silenced. Rovers now have a fan movement to be proud of. Who would ever have seen that coming a year ago?

James Coppinger – An ankle injury kept Copps out of the squad which is a shame for a player who thrives on big games. The concern for Copps will be the performances of Grant, Middleton and Keegan respectively who were all excellent. No doubt Copps will walk back into the team when fit but a strong midfield showing against a premier league club will have made uncomfortable viewing for Coppinger.

Thorsten Stuckmann – Stuckmann has been our man of the match time and time again this season so nobody would begrudge him the occasional mistake. It’s just unfortunate it came in such a significant game. More worrying is the fact that the Big *CENSORED* German’s distribution is often poor. The obvious answer to such a charge however is that if Stuckmann’s passing was as good as his shot stopping and commanding of his area then he would be playing at a lot higher level than league 1.

Man of the Match – Paul Keegan

Keegs just edges out Andy Williams with a commanding midfield performance. It was a hugely successful day for the stand in (future?) skipper.


Perhaps the best way to indicate the huge gulf in class between Rovers and their opponents on Saturday, is to consider that while the South Yorkshire club were succumbing to a disappointing Boxing Day defeat to Scunthorpe United, The Potters were defeating Manchester United 2-0.

Stoke City have also claimed high profile scalps in the shape of Chelsea and Man City in recent weeks although defeats to Liverpool and West Brom in their last two games may have dampened their mood somewhat. Despite Mark Hughes plans to rotate his squad for this game, there will still be an embarrassment of riches for the Welshman to choose from with Charlie Adam, Peter Crouch and Jon Walters likely to return from the bench and at least two of Stoke’s quite honestly, frightening front four of Affelay, Bojan, Arnautovic, and Shaqiri all likely to feature.

Rovers have not played Stoke City since 1960 which partly explains the huge clamour for tickets which has resulted in the South Stand being completely sold out as well as most of the rest of the ground. This promises to be the biggest crowd at a Rovers home game for some years. The stage is set for a goosebump inducing turn from the Black Bank who in many ways are entitled to see this game as a culmination of all their hard work.

Stoke City currently have their best squad since the days of Stanley Matthews so this will be an incredibly tough test for Rovers. As we know from Bradford City’s recent cup exploits though not everything is cut and dry in football and if Rovers can get an early goal and continue to threaten on the counter then a shock could potentially be on the cards.

Match Prediction DRFC 1-3 Stoke City (Tyson)

As much as the glorious league cup run of 2005 is still fresh in the memory, even more fresh are 5-1 and 4-0 humblings against Spurs and Bolton respectively in cup competition. It is hard to image that an incredibly strong Stoke side should have much of a problem at the Keepmoat Stadium but I sincerely hope that I am wrong!



Could this be the start of another unforgettable cup run?

McIndoe is GOD


In the midst of Rovers upcoming game against premier league Stoke City, this seems as good a time as any to look back on our memorable cup run of 2005.

As I was travelling home from a drab 1-0 victory against Wrexham in the League Cup, I could never in a million years have guessed the journey that Rovers had begun. I was mostly contemplating the direction in which my seemingly pointless life was heading as one is want to do when returning from a Tuesday night away game against Wrexham…

Playing that day for Wrexham were current Stoke City battering ram Jon Walters and remarkably, Rovers manager Darren Ferguson. How times have changed. Only James Coppinger in the Rovers line up remains a constant of course, with goal scorer Adam Hughes largely forgotten in the annuls of Rovers history.

Following that victory at the Racecourse Ground, Rovers promptly lost four league games in a row before beating Scunthorpe on the eve of an exciting home game against Manchester City. For the benefit of some of our younger readers, City had not yet become the footballing powerhouse they are now and this is indicative in their front two of Darius Vassell and Antoine Sibierski.

95 tense minutes failed to separate the two teams until Phil Maguire shoved Richard Dunne in the box. Vassell scored from the spot but Rovers were not to be denied as penalty specialist Michael McIndoe also converted an injury time penalty to take the tie to a penalty shoot out following Sylvain Distin’s handball. With Andy Warrington coming off injured in extra time (for a tackle that saw Nedum Onuoha sent off) the stage was set for Jan Budtz to make himself a hero. The dramatic victory was sealed as Budtz saved from Sibierski and Richard Dunne to send Belle Vue into raptures and Rovers through to the next round.

Largely forgotten about is Rovers third round tie against Gillingham in which the reds finally went through 2-0 after a late brace from Paul Heffernan setting up a blockbuster game against Aston Villa at Belle Vue.

Rovers game against Villa was their fourth in ten games so a degree of fatigue was expected. Rovers needn’t have worried. What absolutely nobody expected was the dominant and glorious victory that followed against the Premier League ever presents. Things could have been totally different had Rovers centre back Steve Foster been penalized for a blatant foul in the box on Milan Baros within the first five minutes however. Referee Mike Dean missed that one but he awarded Rovers a penalty 15 minutes later and the rest is history.

If there was a stroke of luck about the opener, there was nothing lucky about Rovers domineering second half performance as Paul Heffernan finished brilliantly from Lewis Guy’s knock down and Sean Thornton slammed home from 30 yards with a shot that absolutely didn’t take a deflection (don’t check, just take my word for it…)


Belle Vue’s biggest crowd for over thirty years (10,500) left the stadium knowing they had witnessed something special. It remains the best Rovers performance I have ever seen or to quote JR: ‘We are playing champagne football, as good as anyone in Yorkshire’.

Rovers were given another opportunity to claim a Premier League scalp just before Christmas 2005 in Arsenal. Whilst Gooners manager Arsene Wenger is well known for his contempt of the league cup, a strong line up containing Gilberto Silva, Alex Song, Aleksandr Hleb, Manuel Almunia, Nicklas Bendtner and Robin Van Persie arrived at Belle Vue probably thinking they had got lost on the way to the game and stumbled across some kind of Yorkshire post apocalyptic landscape.

I remember saying before the game that I would be happy if Rovers managed to score so even if it ended 4-1 or 5-1 the Rovers faithful would at least have a goal to celebrate. I got my wish after just  4 minutes as Michael Mcindoe somehow slotted home from an impossible angle. In my 20 years of watching Rovers I don’t think I have ever seen the home fans explode like they did when that goal hit the back of the net. Unbelievable. Scenes. Jeff.

Rovers more than held their own and were good value for their lead until a stroke of luck got Arsenal back into the tie as Quincy Owusu-Abeyie’s shot deflected off Sean Thornton and past Jan Budtz. Thornton was subbed off for Paul Green just before full time and lighting struck for the second time at the start of extra time, as Green poked in almost on the goal line following a comical mix up between the Arsenal defence and goalkeeper.

Despite a lot of Arsenal possession Rovers were actually fairly comfortable and as Paul Heffernan held the ball in the corner with 120 minutes gone it felt the tie was already won. In a moment of utter madness Heffernan tried to play the ball off an Arsenal defender for a corner and failed. From the resulting goal kick Arsenal broke away one last time and in heartbreaking slow motion the ball found its way to Gilberto Silva who silenced the Belle Vue crowd with a sickeningly confident finish.

The penalty shoot out was a mere formality as the Rovers players were clearly inconsolable and Arsenals victory was as inevitable as their disgusting post game jubilation as their players celebrated in front of the Rovers fans and players despite being almost embarrassed by their league 1 opponents.

Upon reflecting on the cup run of 2005 it is clear that anyone who was there will never  forget the triumph and ultimately glorious heartbreak of a team that achieved some miraculous results. As Rovers come up against premier league opposition once again in Stoke City, it is difficult not to dream about a potential upset and the start of a new legacy.

Time to get excited.


DRFC vs Stoke City prices set

We’re very pleased to announce that, following consultation with the DRSG and other supports groups, the club have set excellent value ticket prices, ranging from £1 to £15.

The full ticket prices for all categories are :

  • Adult £15.00
  • Seniors £10.00
  • 17-21 £8.00
  • 12-16 £5.00
  • 11 and under £1.00

DRFC members update

The match will be played at the Keepmoat on Saturday the 9th of January 2016 kicking off at 3pm.

We’d like to commend the club for listening to the fans and setting these fantastic value prices for what is a very good fixture. This is an incredibly good value way to see some amazing players such as Tyson, Williams and Evina, we’re even told that Stoke have a couple of players worth watching.

Now it falls to us to absolutely pack out the ground and cheer the lads on to the next round. This is also a very good opportunity for us to demonstrate that, given the right ticket prices, we can fill the stadium and will certainly be a point of discussion between the supporters group and the club when ticket prices are being set for next season.

Tickets go on sale on Monday for season ticket holders and Alliance members. Supporters with a ticket for the Scunthorpe home game can buy from 21st December, with general sale commencing on 28th December.