Another inevitable home defeat – we even debate in the pub before the match how many we’ll lose by at the Keepmoat. But this one had some redeeming features, most of which concerned our opponents.
After watching Port Vale commence time-wasting in the fifth minute in a style Sean Derry would have admired, it was a pleasure to see a team getting on with things at throw-ins and goal kicks, even when 2-1 up with minutes to go. Add to that the fact they didn’t try to kick us off the pitch, dive or generally cheat, and that they played good football, well at least we had a moderately entertaining defeat.
The other thing that made this better than our usual miserable home match was the quality of the referee. There was barely a groan from the fans at his decisions because he got most of them right, kept up with play and didn’t try to be the star of the show. Trevor Kettle should be made to watch videos of Ben Toner!
And so to Rovers: a depleted team and no sign of Conor Grant. James Coppinger was withdrawn early again to ensure that any fight back would be based on lump and chase rather than guile, and a flat back-four which curbed our attacking options. On the bright side, Andy Williams had a superb first half and Liam Mandeville scored a beauty – what a pity he couldn’t celebrate it properly due to the need to kick off again quickly!
by David Waugh