10,000 for replay put Reading match gate into perspective

IT has not been the best week to be a Doncaster Rovers' fan.

Saturday's game against Reading, our bogey side if ever there was, ended in a 3-0 defeat.

The Royals had won on their last five visits to the town, and nothing was to change.

We offered very little all round, and too many players had off days. All the post-match talk after the game was not about the manor of defeat, but the size of the crowd - just over 9,600.

I personally did not think it was too bad - even at reduced prices - as the visitors only brought 587 fans up with them.

I don't put it down to fans not being bothered to come down; I think it's the reduced disposable income that the average man in the street has, and football is not his/her main priority.

Hopefully if things get better employment-wise we will see the gates rise again.

Tuesday night the 800 or so fans making their way to Molineux for our FA Cup third round replay against Wolves felt in a confident mood, although stupid me left the lists with the fans' bus allocations at work so there was nearly a free for all. But we managed to fit everyone on.

Things did not start well for the team with Martin Woods feeling his a groin in the warm up, but someone forgot to tell the Wolves' announcer before he called out the team. Dean Shiels came in to fill the void leaving us with six named substitutes on the bench.

We started brightly and could have been 2-0 up in the first few minutes. You would have put your mortgage on Billy (Sharp) when one-on-one with the keeper, but he produced a good save. James Hayter's header went just over.

Unfortunately they were to be our last efforts on goal as the home side scored five without reply and now go on to face local rivals Stoke City.

Even though there was reduced admission charges there were only just over 10,000 there so it's not just us that have disappointing crowds.

I admit that I was glad to hear the final whistle as it was freezing.

By all accounts, Rovers' manager Sean O'Driscoll got some ribbing off his family who are season ticket holders at Wolves.

We hosted the first fans' forum at the Earl of Doncaster on Wednesday, 54 fans attended to ask Sean, who said he had spoken to Ryan Mason about coming back on loan from Spurs, and chief executive Dave Morris, various questions including ticket prices, marketing of the games, prospects of buying the stadium etc.

The meeting lasted for about 90 minutes, the next one will be held on Wednesday, February 23 at the Brooke Arms in Thorne. Thanks to all fans and representatives from the Rovers who attended.

Tomorrow sees the long trip to Suffolk to visit Ipswich. It will be new manager Paul Jewell's first home game since taking over. Let's hope we don't get hit by new manager syndrome.

It will be a tough game and I will be interested to see Sean's team selection. The Dingles (Barnsley) make the trip to the Keepmoat on Tuesday night for what could be a cracker. Let's hope by next week's column that we have six points in the bag and confidence restored.

Bus times to Ipswich: Retford 8.20, Harworth 8.35, Rossington 8.45, Hare and Tortoise (Rosso Side) 8.50, Infirmary 9.00 and Keepmoat 9.15.

Partly due to the last couple of results we have had to cancel two coaches.

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