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Doncaster Rovers

Pride Park

09/08/08 3.00pm

Attendance: 33. 010


So, the pre-season is over, the new players are here, our new pre-match fans package is in place, the new kit is visible all over the ground andů.. we still can`t win. On the back of one result on the opening day you`d think it`d be crazy talk to call for the managers` head but sure enough callers to the post match phone in were doing exactly that. Now, last season obviously needs to be taken into consideration but surely there`s no need to panic here. Many fans seemed to think we only had to turn up to win and although we were poor to blame the defeat entirely on out performance would take away from an extremely assured Doncaster performance. The way they knocked the ball around after going a goal up suggested they will surprise and pose problems to more established Championship sides and they deserved the three points at Pride Park.

An entertaining clash started with a tough decision for ref Andy D`Urso when Talyor went over in the box but any appeals were waved away and it was the same player who again headed goalwards a few minutes later. Derby then should have taken the lead when Albrechtsen sneaked round the back and, unmarked, headed wide from five yards out with the goal gaping. Derby were beginning to turn the screw and Commons was the next to threaten when running at goal and shooting from just outside the box only for Sullivan to make a comfortable save. Derby were then awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box which was quickly taken to release Mears in the box and his cross was bundled against the post by Hulse.

Commons again threatened after picking the ball up deep and running at the Doncaster defence before letting fly again and forcing Sullivan to tip the ball over for a corner. Doncaster themselves were playing some good football and Lewis Guy, looking lively up front, could only scuff his shot when well placed. As the game swung back and forth Rob Hulse should have done better when the ball came to him twelve yards out but could only hit the side netting when it was easier to score. Hulse came close again a few minutes later when Kazmierczak hooked over a cross and he couldn`t quite keep down his overhead effort. Carroll then had to be at his best to tip a Taylor header wide from a Roberts free kick.

Carroll was in action again just after the break fielding a long range Coppinger effort before Savage came on for the ineffective Kazmierczak and minutes later Stubbs was forced off with a knee injury to be replaced by Connolly. McEveley, strangely, was switched to the centre and took the captains armband with Connolly slotting in on the left despite having played in the middle whilst at Plymouth. Only minutes later an O`Connor free kick was cleverly left by Hayter and the ball ran through for Lewis Guy to slot home from inside the area past the exposed Carroll. The same player should then have put the game out of sight minutes later when he hit a volley from eight yards only to be denied by a reaction save from Carroll although to be fair he shouldn`t have been given an opportunity to make the save from a gilt edged chance.

Steve Davies came on for Pereplotkins just after the hour mark and two headers from crosses by Commons and Ellington didn`t contain enough power or accuracy to trouble Sullivan. Doncaster, buoyed by taking the lead, were beginning to stroke the ball about with some aplomb and Derby couldn`t get close enough to make an impression on the possession Rovers were having.

As the clock ticked down the assistant held up the board to indicate an amazing six minutes if injury time but despite a couple of long range efforts Derby hadn`t threatened the Doncaster goal in the last fifteen minutes and couldn`t muster anything in the extra period. The final whistle went to wild celebrations in the away end and overall you couldn`t argue with the result.

A disappointing result for the Rams then but this was just one of those days were it didn`t quite run for Derby. If Hulse had managed to tuck away one of the three chances he had in the first half it could`ve been a different result but anyone who underestimates Doncaster this season will do so at their peril, they certainly play the game the right way and good luck to them.

Star Player

Kris Commons - Again looked to be the pick of the new boys and isn`t afraid to get on the ball, take players on a have a shot. Some decent crosses and worked hard but couldn`t quite find the final touch to create a goal.

Player Ratings

Roy Carroll 6

Not much to do but some poor kicking let him down, made two quality saves when called into action, one from Guy just after Doncaster had taken the lead was outstanding.

Tyrone Mears 6

Fairly comfortable at fullback but not directly up against an opponent with the system Doncaster played. Put in some good challenges when needed and looked dangerous coming forward although his crossing could do with some work.

Jay McEveley 5

Caught out of position a few times at left back and didn`t look to solid in the centre of defence although his outlet pass to Connolly was always coming back to him, strange decision not to leave him at fullback.

Alan Stubbs 7

The usual no nonsense performance from the new skipper and no coincidence the only goal of the game came from a mistake just after he`d gone off. Worrying that his knee still isn`t right, hopefully not another Michael Johnson going off injured every match.

Martin Albrechtsen 7

Solid at the back again although he possibly switched off for the only goal of the game. Pace and strength kept the Doncaster attack at bay for the majority of the match and won nearly everything in the air.

Paul Green 6

Looked out of sorts against his former team mates and was chasing shadows for much of the second half. Seemed hesitant when on the ball and will want to improve on this one.

Przemyslaw Kazmierczak 5

Off the pace of the game and gave the ball away to often to break a number of Derby moves. Two miss kicks in the box when the ball dropped to him when he could`ve had a shot on goal but recovered well for one to get the ball across for a Hulse effort.

Kris Commons 8

Lively and always looking for the ball and ready to take players on. Couple of decent efforts in the first half when picking the ball up from deep and surging forward.

Andrejs Pereplotkins 6

A few neat touches early on but looks like he`ll need time to adjust to the pace of the English game. Put over some nice crosses before being replaced by Davies after the break.

Nathan Ellington 6

Worked hard but seemed to tire after the break. Had a couple of shots that he didn`t get hold of in the first half but overall will need to improve if he is rediscover his goal scoring touch.

Rob Hulse 7

Early contender for miss of the season in the first half with a chance that could`ve changed the game, another decent effort with an overhead kick from a Kazmierczak cross in the first half. Put himself about and worked hard but didn`t fall for him on the day, needs to improve his finishing if he`s to be a hit this season.

Robbie Savage 4 (for Kazmierczak)

Not sure he actually touched the ball after coming on as a second half sub for Kazmierczak. Looked off the pace and uninterested in being on the park, days are numbered at this rate.

Paul Connolly 6 (for Stubbs)

Played out of position at left back and looked uncomfortable, had to constantly turn back onto his right foot and although he saw some of the ball tended to play back inside to McEveley rather than turning and going forward.

Steve Davies 6 (for Pereplotkins)

Looked as though he wanted to take players on and had a headed chance towards the end that he couldn`t quite get enough behind but looks as though he could benefit from longer on the pitch.

Manager Rating

I have to say I`m a firm believer that Paul Jewell is the man to turn things round for Derby but he was caught short today, when Doncaster switched to three men in central midfield and overran Derby in the second half there was no change of plan and the subs were more a necessity than tactical change. Putting McEveley in the centre and Connolly at left back was a strange decision as he had to turn back inside all the time and slowed the play. All in all it was one of those days and I have faith that Jewell will overcome this result to show us all he`s the man for the job.

Date:Saturday August 9 2008
Time: 8:22PM

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This is another great report Mike, it's just a shame that the result couldn't match this report.
10/08/2008 00:11:00
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