Match analysis: Blackpool 0 Doncaster Rovers 2

Aaron Taylor-Sinclair drives the ball over the line for his side's second goal
Aaron Taylor-Sinclair drives the ball over the line for his side's second goal
0
Have your say

Positivity is back at Doncaster Rovers - and with good reason.

For the first time since February - when Rovers’ ultimately doomed play-off push was in full flight - Rovers have won three games on the trot.

A mid-table position, which looked so painfully far away only a few weeks ago, will be within reach the next time Rovers take to the pitch.

And perhaps the biggest driving force of the positivity wave is the manner in which Rovers have played. New heights for the season were reached at Blackpool on Saturday.

With goals from on-form Andy Williams and Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, a 2-0 win at a struggling club does not seem the most notable of results on the surface.

But Rovers showed acclerated progress under Darren Ferguson on Saturday with a performance that delivered relentless attacking intent during the opening 45 minutes.

David Norris slides in on Doncaster Rovers' Andy Williams

David Norris slides in on Doncaster Rovers' Andy Williams

It certainly appears that fun times are ahead for this club, regardless of whether or not the goal of a top six finish can be ultimately achieved.

The first half performance was undoubtedly Rovers’ best performance under Ferguson to date. And it certainly showcased the closest style of play to his overall vision for the team.

READ MORE: Ferguson lauds best performance yet

The ball was played quickly and swiftly, one touch and pass stuff with little dallying on the ball. And that ran throughout the team with every player clearly drilled in Ferguson’s mantra.

Doncaster Rovers physio radios to the bench that Mitchell Lund needs to leave the field with a shoulder injury

Doncaster Rovers physio radios to the bench that Mitchell Lund needs to leave the field with a shoulder injury

Balls were played wide to bring the wing backs into play. Cedric Evina and Felipe Mattioni both enjoyed success charging against the oppostion full backs and some of Rovers’ most threatening moments came from crosses into the box.

But it was not the only facet of the attacking play.

Direct has unfortunately become a dirty word in football and it is difficult to use it without being perceived as criticising a team. However, Rovers were very often direct during the first half at Bloomfield Road.

But this was not hit and hope stuff, looking to find a big man who will hold the ball up or flick it on. For one thing, Rovers do not have a traditional big man.

Doncaster Rovers fans hold up an 'Oyston Out' banner

Doncaster Rovers fans hold up an 'Oyston Out' banner

Instead, Ferguson’s side were intelligently direct. Balls were lofted forward from the back, looking to land it in the space in the channels for Nathan Tyson in particular to dart into. There is little hope about it.

It was a tactic that immediately put the home defence on the back foot, racing back towards their own goal, making panicked clearances and upsetting any hopes they had of composure.

Mix this with Rovers quick play of the ball along the ground, and they were dominant for the first 45 minutes.

READ MORE: My selection dilemma by Ferguson

The dominance did not continue after the break and all of a sudden there were slight fears that the two goal cushion could have done with being a bit more plump.

Blackpool came out with vigour they had failed to display at all during the first half. And Rovers’ own attacking intensity dropped considerably.

They began to give away the ball cheaply and invited pressure on.

But much must also be made of Rovers’ composure under pressure after the break.

Aaron Taylor-Sinclair was arguably the most composed he has been since his summer arrival from Wigan Athletic.

Blackpool’s main threat came from balls into the box. And while Rovers’ marking could have been better, the hosts still never managed to test Thorsten Stuckmann, who could not have wished for a quieter afternoon.

READ MORE: We’re finally meeting our potential insists Andy Williams

The lacklustre nature of the second half saw attention turn more to the stands as Rovers supporters showed solidarity with the downtrodden home supporters, unveiling an Oyston Out banner in protest against the controversial Blackpool owner.

It is always a strange experience to hear home and away fans chanting in unison but demonstrated how rival groups can be brought together in a united voice.

The afternoon started depressingly for the hosts but in the best possible way for Rovers.

Tyson chased a lost cause in the corner and found Williams on the right edge of the box. He cut the ball back onto his left foot and curled a superb strike in at the far post.

Confidence is flowing for the striker and the frustration of the early season has now evaporated with four goals in three games.

We are beginning to see the Williams Rovers hoped they had signed.

Rovers went on to dominate the half with Blackpool managing just a couple of threatening moments. Mark Cullen should have scored from a worryingly free header that flew just wide while Andy Butler was caught napping by Jack Redshaw who could only curl beyond the post.

Rovers would not add a second until five minutes from the break but should have had more.

Conor Grant was Rovers’ driving force throughout the afternoon and could have had at least a couple of goals to his name.

But he was consistently foiled by a brilliant performance from on loan keeper Dean Lyness, who must be wondering what he has let himself in for after joining from Burton.

The second would eventually come, and from an unlikely source. A Grant corner was headed towards goal by Butler and landed at the feet of Taylor-Sinclair who scrambled the ball in from close range.

Even after the break when Rovers’ threat dipped, they should have had more goals.

But even that was not enough to derail the positivity.

Blackpool: Lyness, Dunne, Aldred, Robertson, Ferguson, Rivers (Thomas 61), Norris, Potts, McAlister, Cullen, Redshaw (Paterson 74). Subs not used: Boney, Herron, Osayi-Samuel, Cubero, Aimson.

Rovers: Stuckmann, Lund (Stewart 90), Butler, Taylor-Sinclair, Mattioni (Alcock 73), Coppinger, Middleton, Grant, Evina, Williams, Tyson (Anderson 74). Subs not used: Marosi, Wellens, Forrester, Stewart, N’Guessan.

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire)

Attendance: 6,597

Click here for up-to-date news from the Keepmoat