Doncaster Rovers 1 Peterborough 1: Match Report

Doncaster Rovers' Mamadou Bagayoko and Peterborough United's Grant McCann.
Doncaster Rovers' Mamadou Bagayoko and Peterborough United's Grant McCann.
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DONCASTER Rovers lost their 100 per cent Championship record against Peterborough United after conceding a stoppage-time goal for the second week in succession.

The only consolation for Rovers was that whereas Luciano Becchio’s goal for Leeds United meant that they left Elland Road empty-handed after a 3-2 defeat Tyrone Barnett’s late header left them to share the spoils with Posh following a 1-1 draw.

Goal: Rovers' Giles Barnes heads home his goal against Peterborough United.

Goal: Rovers' Giles Barnes heads home his goal against Peterborough United.

But with most of the other sides in the relegation battle winning, it was a case of two points dropped for Dean Saunders’ men rather than one point gained.

It leaves them six points adrift of the fourth-bottom club, now Bristol City, though they do have two games in hand.

The frustrating thing for Saunders must be the fact that Rovers could, and possibly should, have won both games. Had they done so the picture would look a lot brighter today.

Encouragingly, Rovers are continuing to create enough chances to win games, which was the big fear when leading scorer Billy Sharp left for pastures new - though at the end of the day missed chances count for nothing.

Not only have they got to start converting more chances, they have got to learn how the close out games when they have got themselves into a match-winning situation.

Saunders paired fit-again Shelton Martis and Habib Beye, available after a three-match ban, at centre-back for the first time and they were rarely seriously tested in the first half by a surprisingly subdued Peterborough side.

Kyle Bennett, restored to the starting line-up after being left out of the squad at Elland Road, went closest to opening Rovers’ account before they scored, testing keeper Paul Jones and heading over at the far post from Simon Gillett’s cross.

He also set-up a good chance for striker Mamadou Bagayoko on his starting league debut at the Keepmoat.

Rovers deservedly broke the deadlock in the 45th minute with midfielder Giles Barnes heading home in powerful style from El Hadji Diouf’s free-kick.

It was Barnes’ first goal for for the club and his first since 2009, and for most of the second half it looked like being the winner.

“It was nice to get my first goal but in the end it was like losing the game after conceding an equaliser in the 93rd minute,” said Barnes.

“But there are positives we can take from the game. I thought we battled hard and we’ve gone a goal up; we’ve just got to learn to be a bit more resilient in the last few minutes and learn how to play winning football.

“Instead of maybe making a few passes, just start turning it to the channels and holding it in corners.

“If we’d been a bit more clinical it could have been 3-0 and the game would have been up and we could have shut up shop and started to play a bit of football and keep the ball.”

Rovers went close to a second goal within a minute of the restart.

Skipper Brian Stock won the ball from Peterborough’s kick-off and found Diouf who in turn set up Bennett and keeper Paul Jones did well to push his angled shot away.

Bennett also shot just wide from the edge of the area later in the half.

Substitute John Oster had an even better chance after jinking into the box in the 89th minute but, instead of going for goal from about ten yards out with only Jones to beat, he decided to lay the ball off and the chance was lost.

Peterborough came more into the game as an attacking force, especially after bringing on strikers Emile Sinclair and new loan signing Tyrone Barnett, who is expected to cost them in excess of £1 million in the summer.

They had ten men in the Rovers’ half as they pushed for an equaliser.

But some solid defending, and several fine saves by Spurs keeper David Button denied them a goal until the dying moments.

“It was a hard-earned point but any point away is welcome,” said Posh boss Darren Ferguson. “We didn’t function in the first half. We knew what sort of game it would be and we prepared as normal. We felt that Rovers would make it like a cup match, which they did, and we didn’t do the nitty-gritty stuff well enough.”