Sam Johnstone Loan Watch 2013-14: February At Doncaster Rovers


By Mark Gullett (Doncaster Rovers supporter)

Slightly strange to be giving match reports from the perspective of the goalkeeper so these will be fairly short and sweet.

Doncaster Rovers 0-0 Middlesbrough – Saturday, 1 February 2014

Sam Johnstone came into the side following an injury to Rovers’ in-form keeper Ross Turnbull.  “Sam Who?” may have been the thought on most of our minds and the site of a young keeper from Manchester United didn’t instil too much confidence if truth be known, especially given Shay Given (remember him?) had been a summer target for Rovers and was starting in the visitors goal.

Blustery conditions didn’t help much, but it was Rovers who had the best of the first half with young Sam barely tested. He did have a couple of fairly straightforward saves to make in the second half, as Boro made more of a game of it, but the game ended goalless.

A confident start from the youngster who didn’t put a foot (or hand) wrong.

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Doncaster Rovers – Saturday, 8 February

A closely fought game saw Rovers come away from the south coast empty handed. An injury to Gabriel Tamas meant the defence had to be reshuffled at halftime but didn’t really seem to affect the performance, with the Rovers defence holding their own against the home side’s efforts and giving ample protection to Sam. He may have been disappointed to be beaten at his near post for the winning goal, especially has he’d had a warning a few seconds earlier when Ulloa had a similar effort disallowed for offside, but to be fair he didn’t really stand a chance.

Doncaster Rovers 2-2 Barnsley – Saturday, 15 February

Barnsley took the lead on 27 minutes following an unfortunate headed backpass which bounced over the keeper’s head and fell to Proschwitz who rolled it in an empty net. More bad luck than misjudgement from Sam, but fortunately Rovers hit back just before half time through Coppinger, who grabbed another ten minutes into the second half to put Rovers ahead. Minutes later Proschwitz thought his goal bound effort had given the visitors the equaliser, but Johnstone reacted quickly to tip the ball over the bar for a corner. Ten minutes later Proschwitz was again denied at point blank range as Johnstone pushed the ball wide for another corner. Now we were starting to think we had a bit of a keeper on our hands here and not just a stopgap loanee. Proschwitz however was not to be denied and grabbed a deserved equaliser in the final minute to send the away fans back to the murky depths of South Yorkshire happy.

Yeovil Town 1-0 Doncaster Rovers – Saturday, 22 February

Rovers travelled down to our perennial bogey team really needing to just not lose,  with Yeovil below us and us wanting to just keep them there. It wasn’t to be though, a penalty deciding the game early in the second half. Yeovil had a number of other chances but were denied by their ex-loanee keeper who made a series of good saves to keep the score line respectable, though Rovers too had their chances. A terrific display from the young keeper then, who seems to be growing in confidence with every minute played.

Mark is a member of the Viking Supporters Co-operative forum.
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