FRANCK Moussa showed just why Rovers were keen to extend his loan spell. He has played conistently well during the two months he has been at the club.
DONCASTER Rovers boss Sean 0’Driscoll branded his team a “disgrace” as they gave him nothing to celebrate in his 500th league match as a manager.
His unusually strong blast came as Rovers extended their run of Championship games without a win to eight in Saturday’s Yorkshire derby at the KC Stadium.
With two of the sides below them winning, Rovers saw their lead over third-bottom Scunthorpe cut to just five points - though their superior goal difference effectively means the gap is six.
It should be enough with only four games remaining, but Rovers can’t afford to rest on their laurels and hope that the Iron and Preston North End don’t bank enough points to seriously threaten them.
Both sides have picked up more wins, and more points, than Rovers in the run-in and O’Driscoll’s men would do themselves a massive favour by beating fellow strugglers Crystal Palace at home on Good Friday.
It has often been said over the years (though not by O’Driscoll) that Easter is a crucial stage of the season. That will certainly be the case this year.
There are likely to be changes for the game against Palace - even more in danger of being sucked into the bottom three than Rovers - and substitutes Ryan Mason, Jason Euell and Wayne Thomas will all be hoping that they did enough to catch O’Driscoll’s eye after coming off the bench.
All three certainly brought about an improvement.
Whoever plays, O’Driscoll will be looking for a better defensive showing from his side - and not just his back four.
Rovers were regularly found wanting - especially in the first half and late on - by the fast-breaking Tigers for whom Matt Fryatt proved a real threat.
The Doncaster boss will also be demanding a better success rate in front of goal.
As was the case in the midweek draw with Preston, Rovers had more than enough chances to have got something out of the game but managed to convert just one. Hull fans have been critical of the entertainment factor in home games this season after seeing the Tigers score just 15 goals and concede 13.
They had not seen the Tigers score more than twice in a home game all season prior to Saturday when they could have easily have netted five or six.
Rovers, who were able to name an unchanged, made the early running but it was the Tigers who pounced first.
Wide midfielder Richard Garcia, who more than justified his selection ahead of James Harper until being stretchered off with a leg injury on 40 minutes, fired home after just nine minutes after the ball fell nicely for him from Matt Kilgallon’s challenge on Fryatt.
Rovers drew level on 16 minutes.
Simon Gillett’s 20-yarder hit the post with Hull keeper Vito Mannone beaten. Fortunately for Rovers, Leicester City loanee Franck Moussa was on hand to drill the home from an angle to claim his second goal for the club.
Said Moussa, again one of Rovers better players: “Gilly’s shot hit the woodwork and rebounded into my path and I just hit it first time and it went in.
“When you are away from home and you equalise you’ve got to make sure that you don’t concede another goal soon after, and unfortunately we didn’t do that.”
Looking to improve on a dismal record of just one point in their last four home games, City regained the lead on 21 minutes.
Centre-back Shelton Martis gave away a penalty after needlessly fouling James Chester and Fryatt repaid another slice of the £1.2 million fee paid out to Leicester for him in January by converting the resulting spot-kick to claim his eighth goal for his new club.
Rovers could also consider themselves fortunate not to end the half with ten men after skipper Brian Stock, booked a minute earlier by referee Clattenburg, somehow managed to avoid a second for a challenge on City skipper Andy Dawson.
Rovers edged the opening exchanges after the break only to fall further behind on 50 minutes after being punished for more sloppy defending.
Full-back Liam Rosenior produced a good cross from the right deep inside the Rovers half and the unmarked Fryatt stooped down to nod the ball home at the far post to make it 3-1.
Rovers could have conceded another goal shortly after but for substitute Jamie Devitt shooting over when well placed after keeper Gary Woods had done well to deny striker Jay Simpson.
It could just have easily been 3-2 seconds later but for a fine save by Mannone from Gillett at the expense of a 52nd-minute corner.
James Hayter also had a good chance from in front of goal from James Coppinger’s cross, Mannone saving at the second attempt.
Coppinger, who shot over on 77 minutes, wasted another chance to give Rovers a lifeline. Mason did better when winning Rovers a corner.
Woods saved well from Koren in a one-on-one before substitute Aaron McLean somehow failed to score from a couple of yards out when it seemed impossible for him to miss after being set up by Fryatt.
Moussa said the players had to take O’Driscoll’s criticism on the chin. “He wasn’t happy with how we’d let them have so many chances on goal,” he said. “Our organisation wasn’t the greatest.”
Assistant Boss’s View
WE looked very good going forward again, but, as was the case the other night, we were too open.
I also thought that our body language was poor in the first half.
The situation that we are in, you are going to make mistakes, but when you make mistakes it is how you react to them.
It looked at times as if we felt ‘it’s not going to be our day again’.
But in the second half I thought we had the majority of the game.