Analysis: Doncaster Rovers 1 Leicester City 0

editorial image
Have your say

It goes to show that eventually you do indeed make your own luck.

At times this season, Rovers have thrown more than enough ingredients into the mixing bowl without getting the desired concoction at the end of the process.

That all changed on Saturday afternoon.

The victory over high-flying Leicester was delivered courtesy of a decent portion of luck but Rovers certainly put the work in.

Kasper Schmeichel’s howler brought the decisive goal but it was much more that gave Rovers the win.

On the back foot for much of the game, Rovers defended doggedly yet with a huge degree of calmness and composure, and from front to back.

Rob Jones and Bongani Khumalo continue to bring out the best in each other, a superb complimentary partnership that has been so essential to the solid start to the season.

Reece Wabara produced probably his best defensive showing despite switching to the opposite end of the back four due to James Husband’s unfortunate injury and Paul Quinn’s fine performances at right back.

With Husband out for around 12 weeks, Wabara threw his hat into the ring as an able deputy, suggesting Paul Dickov will only have to look for cover in the loan market.

The back four had plenty of protection in the form of Paul Keegan and Dean Furman, the latter with his most impressive performance of a rather disappointing term for the South African.

When Rovers were pushed back, these two denied Leicester space to operate effectively, breaking up play and sending Rovers on the counter attack quickly.

Keegan’s Rovers renaissance continues to gather pace. In his previous seasons at the club it was hard to imagine he is such a rounded player, as capable at going forward as he is brilliant at breaking up play.

Mark Duffy was handed the start he has craved so much. While still far from his blistering best in attack, the winger surprised with plenty of hard work without the ball, tracking back well to put in his fair share of graft.

Throughout the side, Rovers’ pressing game was back to its best. Theo Robinson looked all the better for his Tuesday night rest, working hard alongside Chris Brown, whose graft can never be understated.

And Dickov has not only produced goals from the enigmatic Federico Macheda, he has also squeezed hard work from the Italian. Macheda may come alive in the box, but he showed signs of life outside it on Saturday.

As good as Rovers were defensively, it should not be assumed they set out to stifle Leicester.

Dickov again went bold, sending out a side that was 4-2-4 in attack and merely 4-4-2 in defence.

The Scot would have liked his side to have more possession against one of his former clubs but when they did have the ball, Rovers looked equal to their promotion chasing visitors.

That said, Rovers had one shot on target all game and it was not even the goal.

On the half hour mark, Furman drilled low from the edge of the area and Schmeichel got down well to tip wide at the near post.

If only the son of the great Dane had been so adept from a corner on 17 minutes.

Dickov has said plenty about Rovers not getting the rub of the green their performances have deserved.

But their shortfall in good fortune was heavily reduced with the goal.

Duffy sent a rather innocuous corner in towards the near post, a seemingly ease take for Schmeichel.

But the Leicester keeper seemed to be thinking two steps ahead, looking to distribute the ball quickly but forgetting to make sure he made the most basic step first.

He fluffed his catch, allowing the ball to squirm through his hands and over the line.

Duffy will be cheekily keen to claim the goal from his in-swinging corner but Schmeichel will get the discredit.

After the goal, Rovers had their tails up, pushing the Foxes back into their own half with some composed passing play without really making it count.

The ball broke to Robinson inside the box on 26 minutes but he saw his lashed effort deflected wide in the best of the chances.

Leicester began to establish control as the half wore on and they would rarely abate until the final whistle.

Ross Turnbull produced more eye-catching stops, staking his claim of being one of Rovers’ most reliable players.

He got strong hands behind a powerful effort from the lively Anthony Knockaert and claimed a similar strike from Paul Konchesky.

There was nothing he could do about a brilliant effort from Jamie Vardy.

A superb touch inside the area from the striker claimed a pass and found space in an instant but he could only watch his shot cannon back off the far post.

The Foxes dominated possession after the break but their attempts to find the equaliser grew increasingly desperate.

David Nugent had the best of the chances, stabbing a shot from close range after Khumalo fluffed a clearance, but the effort again drew the best from Turnbull.

Leicester boss Nigel Pearson pushed Liam Moore forward as his side went with three at the back but it only served to add to the congestion towards the Rovers goal.

As Leicester’s desperation grew, Rovers remained calm and the worry of another late hammer-blow subsided as time wore on, making the visitor’s 3,000-plus support increasingly quiet.

The final whistle brought a huge cheer from the Rovers’ faithful, breathing a huge sigh of relief yet keen to laud the superb show and the rewards it deservedly brought.

Now, let us hope that bit of luck can be kept fresh until after the international break.