By Mark Gullett (Doncaster Rovers supporter)
Doncaster Rovers 0-2 Burnley – Tuesday, 1 October 2013
Rovers made two changes to the starting line-up from the weekend’s win at Hillsborough, with Paul Dickov bringing James Coppinger and David Cotterill back into the side. Macheda kept his place up front with Chris Brown after his three goals in the previous two games. For the second successive home game the visitors were in the automatic promotion places.
The first half got under way with both sides playing some nice one touch football, but it was Rovers who had the first chance and that man Macheda once again showing his natural ability to be in the right place at the right time when Richie Wellens put him through on goal. From where I was sat it looked he could have had a snap shot but instead he took it wide to the keeper’s left and his shot was turned away for a corner. A few more half chances came the way of both sides but came to nothing, both sides lacking much conviction in the final third. With halftime fast approaching Sam Vokes received the ball in the Rovers penalty area and Rovers’ Captain Jones, who had been struggling with a leg injury, dutifully stuck his good leg out and over went Vokes, the ref having no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Vokes picked himself up and calmly slotted the ball to the keeper’s right to take the visitors into a one-nil half time lead.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with Rovers pushing for the equaliser and Burnley trying to put the game to bed with a second goal. Macheda was gifted a golden opportunity when Khumalo’s pullback from the left hand post found him six yards from goal, but his first time effort blazed over the crossbar when it looked easier to score. A few minutes later a lovely through ball from Wellens found Federico just onside in the Burnley box, but he hesitated and the ball was cleared. As the half progressed several Burnley players realised the referee was having an off night so were auditioning to be Tom Daley’s new partner, with only Rovers old boy Jason Shackell getting 11 straight zeroes and a yellow card after a laughable effort when Federico breathed too heavily on him. Rovers continued to pile on the pressure with the substitute Duffy causing problems down the right but it was Burnley who had the final say when Trippier’s cross was deflected into his net by Captain Jones. An entertaining game which Rovers can take heart from, as once again we matched a side in top form and at no stage were overwhelmed.
Not the best performance we’ve seen from Fed with two half chances going begging and one absolute sitter missed, but he looks like he’s working a little harder for the team so I expect the manager will be happy with him. Personally I’m not bothered if the lad wants to nip off for a crafty fag every ten minutes if he continues averaging a goal a game for us.
Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Leicester City – Saturday, 15 October 2013
Paul Dickov once again went with three strikers in Macheda, Brown and Robinson but Leicester started the brighter of the two sides and had a number of half chances. We had to wait a quarter of an hour for Rovers’ first chance when Robinson fed Macheda on the Rovers right, who raced into the box with defenders running scared but slipped as he shot well wide of Schmeichel ‘s (not that one) goal. A few minutes later though and Schmeichel was to get his name on the scoresheet when he slung in a Rovers corner after once again Macheda was being a nuisance in the Leicester box. Ten minutes later and again Robinson put Macheda through on goal and after neat close footwork he wormed into the box and only a last gasp tackle from Morgan prevented the Italian from adding to his Rovers tally, with Schmeichel making a good save from the follow up by Robinson. Again Schmeichel came to the rescue around the half hour mark as Furman unleashed a shot from 25 yards out that the Dane did well to push around the post. From the resulting corner Macheda put his glancing header high and wide. Leicester inevitably came back into the game and were unlucky not to get the equaliser when Drinkwater hit the post with Turnbull beaten.
Ten minutes into the second half and a cross from Keegan was met by Macheda, who’s header was straight at Schmeichel, but his blushes were spared as he was offside anyway. On 75 minutes Macheda was replaced by James Coppinger, and little did we know at that point that that was possibly the last we’ll see of him. Anyway, Rovers managed to hang on to the three points against another side in the play off spots.
Since Federico got injured and returned to Manchester United, Rovers have not fared well on their travels, away to Reading and Middlesbrough, conceding 8 and only scoring once, so here’s hoping he makes a speedy recovery and rejoins us soon.
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Mark is a member of the Viking Supporters Co-operative forum.