Bradford City 2 Doncaster Rovers 0: Fine performance is no consolation for Rovers

Rovers' star man Rodney Kongolo challenges  Bradford's Adam Chicksen.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Rovers' star man Rodney Kongolo challenges Bradford's Adam Chicksen. Picture Bruce Rollinson
0
Have your say

A good performance. A poor result. Sound familiar?

Doncaster Rovers should have returned home from their trip to Bradford City with something, but costly mistakes ensured they arrived back empty handed.

It is like deja vu all over again.

There are only so many times that you can talk about an impressive performance but dropped points before it becomes a pointless exercise.

And that is particularly so when the reason the points were dropped is the same errors that have blighted Rovers for weeks.

The word concentration rang around the club throughout September. Yet no matter how hard and how regularly Darren Ferguson attempts to drill it into his players, the concept of concentration simply will not go in.

So, through a lack of focus Adam Chicksen was afforded space for a peach of a cross and Charlie Wyke was given the freedom of Valley Parade to head Bradford in front.

And another attention lapse allowed Nathaniel Knight-Percival to lose his marker and power in a header from a corner.

Before half time Rovers had a mountain to climb.

That the climb was beyond them was down to a failure to convert a good performance and strong pressure into goals.

We have been here before. It is time for Rovers to do something about it and make sure we are not here again too often.

There may be 35 matches of this season remaining but there is still plenty of the groundwork to do to ensure Rovers are not locked in a battle at the wrong end of the table.

FAMILIAR POSITIVES

It was indeed another good performance from Rovers.

They started as well as they have started any game this season, producing patient yet high-tempo passing to swarm up the pitch in numbers and cause Bradford all sorts of problems.

Operating with a rarely-seen flat midfield four, Rovers had plenty of numbers and brought the full backs into play, particularly Harry Toffolo who, on his second start for the club, should his capabilities going forward.

The superb possession play was more proof that one of their major strengths from last season has been carried up into League One.

They pushed Bradford deeper and deeper until they were hit with the suckerpunch of conceding on 18 minutes, which knocked them off their stride somewhat.

And Rovers rallied to replicate their early play from the start of the second half only to find a resolute opposition defence that protected their box superbly.

FAMILIAR NEGATIVES

Switching off without the ball is a major problem for this Rovers side, particularly when the opposition have men who can very easily punish.

Preventing Wyke from heading home is hard enough when he is marked closely. Failing to mark him properly is frankly shooting yourselves in the foot.

The towering striker found space between Andy Butler and Harry Toffolo to place a header into the bottom corner from Chicksen’s cross, which really also should have been prevented in the first place.

Bradford showed what happens when concentration evades Rovers. Yet they did not learn and switched off again - John Marquis in particular - to allow Knight-Percival to storm in and head home a corner.

Talk of defensive failures is overshadowing shortcomings at the other end of the pitch, but they certainly need to be addressed also.

Rovers work the ball up the pitch superbly at times, and did so regularly on Saturday.

The problem is, when they get into the final third, they lack the killer pass, incisive run or excellent strike to make it count.

It is difficult to recall a truly clear cut chance against Bradford. For all the pressure and possession, that is worrying.