Analysis: Doncaster Rovers 1 Blackpool 3

Doncaster Rovers' Chris Brown in action against   Blackpool.
Doncaster Rovers' Chris Brown in action against Blackpool.
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As Tom Ince turned towards the West Stand and puffed his chest out to celebrate Blackpool’s third, Rovers fans could be forgiven for a sense of deja-vu.

Ince’s celebrations had a touch of the Dave Kitson’s about them.

Welcome back to the Championship was the undertone from Ince and his teammates as the Tangerines’ late show handed Rovers a very early reality check.

However, Rovers learned nothing from this somewhat undeserved defeat than they did not know already. That ahead of them lies a tough, arduous campaign.

There are plenty of grounds for optimism on the basis of this performance though.

In his short time at the Keepmoat Stadium new boss Paul Dickov has brought a certain style to the Rovers, in every sense of the word.

The Scot has done away with the casual pre-match attire for starters, insisting that his players rock up to games suited and booted.

And that sense of sophistication has already transferred itself onto the pitch.

Rovers ground teams into submission last term.

But under Dickov, with three forward-thinking floaters operating just behind lone front man Chris Brown, they appear more inventive and more dynamic.

The home side were one down before that trio of James Coppinger, Mark Duffy and David Cotterill really clicked into gear, a goal the hosts felt aggrieved about.

Debutant Ross Turnbull saved excellently from Angel Martinez and then bravely at the feet of Kirk Broadfoot, who Rovers argued fouled their new goalkeeper before the ball squirmed loose for Steven Davis to tap into an empty net.

However, Rovers responded to going behind in the best possible manner, gaining in confidence and self-belief as an entertaining first half wore on.

Duffy was Doncaster’s bright spark, firstly picking up possession wide on the left and flashing an effort just wide.

Brown, who had earlier headed Duffy’s centre inches wide with the game still goalless, then connected with Coppinger’s cross but could not get the power to trouble Scottish stopper Matt Gilks.

Duffy miscued a volley after a surging run and cross from Cotterill, before another Cotterill centre was headed wide by Wellens.

Doncaster had found their rhythm, while under pressure Blackpool were happy to hear the half time whistle.

Rovers were not to be denied, however, displaying the fighting spirit that served them so well last season and will be needed in abundance again this season.

They grabbed the equaliser that their enterprising play and positivity deserved on the hour mark when skipper Rob Jones rose the highest to head home Cotterill’s right wing corner.

Within seconds of the goal Kyle Bennett, on after Duffy was surprisingly given the hook, curled an effort from the edge of the box which was deflected just wide.

With the home crowd well and truly roused, and Rovers well on top, there appeared to be only one winner.

However, then came the reality check. These Championship teams are tougher nuts to crack.

Whereas the opposition might have wilted under the pressure in League One, Blackpool not only rolled their sleeves up and weathered the storm but they brought Doncaster back down to earth with a late show of their own.

The nature of Gary MacKenzie’s decisive goal will have Dickov still foaming at the mouth with anger this morning.

Because after all of Doncaster’s hard work and charisma going forward, it was such a soft way to let a deserved point slip from their grasp as MacKenzie’s marker switched off from a corner and allowed the big centre back to head home Ince’s corner unchallenged.

Ince’s third, with virtually the last kick of the game, was almost irrelevant. Not that you would have guessed that from his celebrations.

Turnbull went up for a corner and was caught hopelessly out of his ground as Ince swept the ball home from 40 yards to seal victory for his side.

Welcome back to the Championship indeed. But, at least on this evidence, Rovers might be in for a happier ending than last time.