By Mark Gullett (Doncaster Rovers supporter)
Birmingham City 1-1 Doncaster Rovers – Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Unsurprisingly, Rovers stuck to the same side that had beaten QPR, but were second best for much of the first half at St Andrews and didn’t have any forward play of note at all as City went into the break with a deserved 1-0 lead.
The second half was a different story however, as Rovers began on the front foot and kept the home fans quiet despite their lead. Macheda had a goal-bound effort blocked, as did Furman a few minutes later. The deserved equaliser came from a David Cotterill special as he picked the ball up on the left wing, cut inside and fired home from almost 30 yards. Birmingham were almost undone on the break at the end as Macheda put in Paynter, but he fired high and wide from close range. Dogged defensive work ensured Rovers managed to hold out for a point.
Bolton Wanderers 3-0 Doncaster Rovers – Saturday, 7 December 2013
A quiet start from both sides in this game, with Rovers’ first chance coming after 20 minutes when Khumalo hit the post with his header. Bolton soon began to take control of the game though and were rewarded after half an hour when Mason’s shot was deflected into his own net by McCullough. Just a few minutes later and the lead was doubled when Moritz’s effort went in off the post.
After the break Rovers almost got back into the game but Robinson’s shot was saved by the keeper. It was more or less all Bolton after that and it was a case of how many they could score, but thankfully they had to wait until almost the final whistle before they finally buried their opponents when Danns’ shot crept inside the near post.
All in all, another game for Kiko where he didn’t really play a part, although not really his fault as Rovers were second best all over the pitch.
Doncaster Rovers 0-3 Leeds United – Saturday, 14 December 2013
Macheda again started for Rovers, again on the left of a front three. Midfield play dominated the early proceedings, but Leeds went ahead from a free kick floated into the box which was met by Smith to head past Turnbull. Another simple goal conceded from a set-play, as the Stewards busily kicked out the Leeds fans’ in the home ends who couldn’t keep quiet! Chances were squandered at both ends before halftime in end-to-end stuff.
Rovers came out in the second half with all guns blazing looking for the equaliser against their more illustrious rivals from up the M1. They thought they had it on the 70 minute mark, as Robinson put the ball in the net, only for a very late flag to rule it offside. A few minutes later and heads went down as ex-Rover McCormack walked through a statuesque defence and slipped the ball through Turnbull’s legs to make it 2-0. The nail was driven into the coffin ten minutes later as Austin made it three.
Again, not much mention of our Man United loanee, but again I’ll defend him and say he wasn’t given much service at all.
Derby County 3-0 Doncaster Rovers – Saturday, 21 December 2013
Rovers travelled to Pride Park to face an in-form Derby County side who had won their last six games. After suffering two successive 3-0 defeats, Paul Dickov decided to freshen up his starting eleven and there was no place for Federico Macheda, who started on the bench.
The deadlock was broken after just ten minutes as Ward tapped in a pass from Chris Martin to make it 1-0. Rovers held their own though and had chances of their own. An injury to Chris Brown saw him replaced by Macheda just before half time.
The home side doubled their lead straight after the break as Dawkins beat Turnbull from 6 yards out. Heads dropped but Rovers got back into the game after good work by Macheda and his strike partner Robinson forced an error from the Derby defence and Buxton put into his own net. Moments later Kiko had a chance to equalise but his shot went wide. Good link up play from Macheda forced a chance for Duffy, but his effort too went past the post. Rovers’ good work was undone in the 80th minute as Craig Bryson drove past Turnbull from 25 yards to kill the game off.
A good effort then from Kiko in this game after being dropped to the bench.
Doncaster Rovers 0-3 Ipswich Town – Thursday, 26 December 2013
Both sides started the game slowly with neither keeper being called into action. We were awoken from our slumber on 20 minutes when Ipswich were awarded the first corner of the game from which David McGoldrick headed the visitors into the lead. Just five minutes later a second corner found Chambers and the result was exactly the same. Heads went down at this point, and not just in the stands. Rovers picked themselves up and forced their way back into the game, dominating midfield, but that elusive threaded ball through to the front line just wasn’t forthcoming. Duffy came close late on, rattling the crossbar from a free kick, with the keeper well beaten.
The second half started as the first had ended, with Rovers dominating. Their dominance was short-lived however, as just 6 minutes in McGoldrick picked up a pass and waltzed past two defenders before planting the ball firmly past a helpless Turnbull in goal. Game over. At this point Paul Dickov brought off the ineffective Macheda and brought on a member of the youth team! Well it couldn’t get any worse I suppose, and despite Ipswich coming close to a fourth on several occasions, thankfully it didn’t.
To be fair to Kiko, he didn’t get any kind of service from the midfield in this game (again), so although he didn’t do much wrong he didn’t do enough to get himself the game perhaps.
Doncaster Rovers 0-0 Millwall – Sunday, 29 December 2013
Federico again found himself on the bench for this game, as Paul Dickov preferred to give youngster Alex Peterson another chance. After conceding 9 goals in their previous 3 matches, keeping a clean sheet had to be the priority for this game. Both sides were on a poor run of form and to be frank it showed in this game, with very little quality from either side.
Kiko did get on in the second half for 20 minutes and had the best effort of the game as his curling shot from the edge of the area came back off the post, but all-in-all a game to forget.
Mark is a member of the Viking Supporters Co-operative forum.
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