|deliasplums added 00:21 - Aug 26|
Mullet added 01:17 - Aug 26
Gerks had Emmanuel and Kenlock at full back and Yorwerth partnering the captain Smith. Tabb sat not-that-wide left with Coke partnering McDonnell as Touré was nominally a right winger. Pitman and McGoldrick were the elder statesmen and focal point of a fairly orthodox 4-4-2 side.
Town started brightly in a half and match they really dominated, winning a corner on six after Touré and Emmanuel combined for the first of many times. A bit of afters from the resulting set piece followed smart saves and goalbound strikes from Yorwerth and Pitman. Both were notable targets of physical treatment throughout the game.
As was McG, Town’s wizard waltzed through the game and unlike Pitman was able to ghost past players before they could fell him all too often. Audacious and wayward in equal measure at times his whole evening was spent entertaining himself as much as us it seemed. While MOTM Touré supplied chances for others he also aped the talisman with a baffling shotcross on the outside of his foot which if we’re being kind caught more of the wind than the eye.
Pitman was getting the better chances to score and rarely the better of his man, as aerial duals and grounding tussles saw him receive little protection from a referee who was comically unsupported by two of the most inept flagbearers seen in many years.
Neither side knew if a decision had gone their way and from throw to foul, and for 120 minutes the ref often received barrages from players in both shirts. Such as would gift Donny the lead against the run of play. Conned by a diving Andy Williams, the precious few home fans were soon swinging and crooning his name. The resultant kick was met with a swish of Gerks’ wrist across the Ipswich box and a wave of cowardice engulfed the defending players. Statuesque as the ball dropped to the Donny players and Williams had all the time in the world to bury a header from Wellens’ wonderful delivery, unchecked or challenged.
In a game where Gerks was rarely tested as Rovers’ only class came from former Town players in Chaplow and Wellens, it was the young but well-versed Smith who stood out in the back line. As you’d expect from two young brutes versed in Kiwi-Welsh culture, any physical battles were relished and the ball despatched down the line and out for as many yards as possible. Tommy looked a player much older and wiser tonight and grew into the armband as time went on.
Kenlock looked nervous from the off and misplaced his first couple of crosses early on. He needn’t be. While he was targeted and left to take a booking for the team after a mix up with Tabb let Rovers get in behind the young charge, there’s a player in there. One who maybe hasn’t quite got the head or the shoulders for Championship level defending yet, but certainly the potential.
It was the left side that sent Pitman clean through soon after the card. Looping the #11 in the clear he improvised delightfully to fool the onrushing keeper and chip against the woodwork. Dids did fly in but off balance and out of grass, he span an effort wide. The equaliser, let alone the lead Town deserved was being squandered time and again.
While Rovers had been forced to make one change after roughly 20 minutes Town had fallen flat before the break, and desperately needed to change something of their own. The game had swung back towards Donny after the goal, and there was enough familiarity to steer it back our way it seemed. What Town did have besides youth and willing was fight.
McDonnell saw his best effort go wide, which is where he often chose to pass the ball instead of shooting when perhaps he could have had a go. It contrasted to his play lower down the pitch where he showed himself to be so game he should have his own season to be hunted. Maybe it will be the next one. A lovely brain ticks in his slender frame, neat and simple football from a lad who likes to put a foot in as much as a direct 5 yard pass. Had he had more of the ball tonight he might have caught the eye in a move obvious fashion.
Touré on the other hand stood out throughout the game and first half for so many reasons. Rampaging down the right, he and the cocksure Emmanuel looked to be having fun going forward. The man Bru brought in, is the type of bloke you’d want on your side in a fight. Chasing every ball, man, blade of grass you sense he might challenge any one in touching distance just for looking at a Town player. But the boy can definitely play a bit when allowed to, as the opposition did tonight.
As the second half got underway it was the unchanged side and unchanging attitude across the park that raised the tempo and Town’s chances. On 47 minutes the impressive and ever-pressing Emmanuel won a corner and Touré was firing it in across the floor before anyone was ready for Pitman to snatch at from close range and force a save.
Doncaster immediately rallied kicking forward and winning setpieces that failed to really test Gerken or young back line eager and excitable. Wellens did try and lob Gerken from miles away only to see it caught safely.
Town got forward and were back on level terms in predictable odd fashion. Touré decided Dids didn’t need to wait for the looping ball to come down and made sure neither got anything but in each others’ way, Pitman duly obliged and slammed the loose ball home past a stranded keeper.
In the weirdest match I may ever have seen and one of the lowest crowds, the relatively massive away end went ballistic. Still expectation and uncertainty lingered. When the goalscorer Pitman went off for a straight swap for Alabi soon after we nearly got more of the same in a very different fashion. A player who is around 6 feet of beef and so raw he serves up the football equivalent of carpaccio. Alabi charged at the ball and had he met it a yard nearer his first touch would have been a goal and not smothered by the keeper. Exciting, he just might be.
Within just two minutes the new recruit’s hulking frame cannoned a Tabb “cross” that was far too hard past everyone and nearly yielded another breakthrough. What the former Potter hasn’t got in craft he makes up for in work ethic. The referee awarded decisions against him more than once before realising defenders were diving for cover rather than face his powerful and unguided efforts to get himself or the ball goalwards.
Dids was unlucky not to win it for us, or at least a corner as the keeper tipped a delicious shot on the run past the post narrowly. The goalkick which was given even amused the stopper who was barracked by nervy blues in the North stand behind. He was then charged with catching the fizzing shot from Touré’s weaker left boot as the man who runs like a rabid ferret locked on to finding the lead with a corner-hunting effort well saved.
As full time came, no winner was decided. The man who nearly found it moments before clearly got caught up in the moment or lack of translation. Waving to Town fans and handing his shirt to the crowd, as his colleagues left him there and headed to Mick. The winger had to be repaid and redressed for extra time to start. He and Town came back refreshed and scrubbed up much better.
With one captain early replaced by another Town had just one more throw of the dice to make. McDonnell could just about cope with 90 minutes and with his legs giving in to cramp, Tabby shifted in next to the stop-start Coke and Fraser went out wide. It was that little injection of quality and the finished article that really set Town apart as Rovers flagged and floundered.
The lead came when McGoldrick popped up yet again, this time to despatch a wickedly wonderful Touré cross. 2-1 and the game looked ours a little later than necessary. With Emmanuel almost a wingback for some time, Touré and Fraser switched wings, sometimes on purpose. Coke’s passing was often too clever even for own team mates and his shooting equally unable to find its mark despite clear signs he can work with the ball on either foot and opponents on his tail. With the greater space and freedom he and his work bore more impressive fruit.
Alabi would soon torque hip and instep awkwardly but in perfect time for a simple tap in and Town’s third after neat build up across the attack. Thanks to the speed and dynamic running of Scot Fraser and Irishman McG for the build up. There seemed little time or point in Doncaster doing much as the final 15 minutes lurched into view and tired eyes drooped with tired legs. McGoldrick again went for the glamour option with a cheeky chip easily claimed, no chance of catching the keeper napping.
The hosts best side fell to one of their worst players in the shape of the unruly and unsporting Mein. Having irked Yorwerth, Chambers and Smith throughout the night for his nasty and needless inability to play football, he failed to bother Gerks with a vicious off target shot.
All would be left, to the little loanee on the left. Stabbing home at the back post, across keeper and area the fourth was Fraser’s and the game ours. Serenades and salutes to the fist pump was the last hurrahs and rites of a Town following and team who deserved their victory. Even if it wasn’t as easy as it should have been.
runningout added 10:43 - Aug 26
guentchev added 08:14 - Sep 15
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