A week of contrasts as Rovers turn on the style after no-show at Derby

Good times: James Hayter celebrates after his goal against Leeds United.                Picture: Steve Taylor
Good times: James Hayter celebrates after his goal against Leeds United. Picture: Steve Taylor
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ANOTHER blank week for Doncaster Rovers with two more defeats - though the two performances against Derby and Leeds were like chalk and cheese.

Saturday just was a horrible, horrible day.

On bench: Brian Stock

On bench: Brian Stock

We received some really sad news before we departed for Pride Park.

Tim Holt a life-long fan, who had travelled on our coach since we formed the Retford branch 30 years ago, passed away at home.

And at just over 50 it gives you a reality check.

Tim was well known amongst the fans. Unfortunately over the past 10 years he has been in a wheelchair but that didn’t stop him and his mother Irene attending the majority of the games with his distinctive white crash helmet.

Return: James O'Connor

Return: James O'Connor

Our thoughts go out to all the family. Tim has gone but will never forgotten.

Manager Sean O’Driscoll described our performance at Derby: “The first half we were in first gear the second we were in reverse.”

I think that summed up the game. We never got started.

Buoyed by their best start to the season for 63 years. Derby got off to a great start when Kevin Kilbane headed home from a corner.

We gave the ball away too often and just could not string any passes together. Giles Barnes got a lot of stick from the home fans being a former Derby player.

The second half had barely started when we gave another sloppy goal away.

It was only the introduction of Kyle Bennett that injected a bit of life into the team. Ben Davies completed the scoring with a well placed shot.

Hand on heart this was the only performance to date that had really disappointed me.

Let’s put it behind us and just regard it as a bad day at the office.

Remember, it was our first league defeat in four games at Pride Park so it’s not a bad record.

Tuesday night’s Carling Cup game was completely different. It was by far the best Rovers have played this season.

We got off to a great start when James Hayter, who returned after a bad knee injury, tucked home a cross on two minutes to silence the 3,250 Leeds’ fans in the away end.

Had Kyle Bennett’s shot not come back off the post and we had gone 2-0 I wonder whether Leeds would have come back from that?

With our luck this season if it had been Leeds who hit the post I’m sure it would have gone in.

Leeds rode their luck and scored a stunning equaliser from Nunez, who was their saviour in the last round against Bradford City.

We forced a couple of great saves from Leeds’ keeper at the start of the second half and the post came to United’s rescue on a couple more occasions as that bit of luck again deserted us.

Another precise strike by Nunez confined the lads to another defeat.

But the manner of the performance will give all Rovers’ fans the feeling that there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

It was great to see Stocky (Brian Stock) Jimmy O’Connor and Shelton Martis all back on the bench, and with Hayts (Hayter) lasting the full 90 minutes hopefully we will have something to smile about come 4.45pm tomorrow.

Bristol City check in at the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow and although they played well against Leicester I feel the points are there for the taking as we go into the international break.

Remember, if you live en-route, to use the home match bus which departs from Retford (1pm) and picks up at Harworth (1.20pm) and Rossington Styrupp/ Labour Club (1.30pm). There is no need to book.

Talking of coach bookings, the North Branch of the Supporters’ Club would like to remind fans that they run coaches to most away games from the Askern, Skellow, Bentley, York Road areas.

If you need to book they have a dedicated booking contact - Jim Lambie on 07780316923.

Enjoy the game.

Rovers ‘till I drop...