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 and….. 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.
Roy Carroll 6
Tyrone Mears 6
Jay McEveley 5
Alan Stubbs 7
Martin Albrechtsen 7
Paul Green 6
Przemyslaw Kazmierczak 5
Kris Commons 8
Andrejs Pereplotkins 6
Nathan Ellington 6
Rob Hulse 7
Robbie Savage 4 (for Kazmierczak)
Paul Connolly 6 (for Stubbs)
Steve Davies 6 (for Pereplotkins)