MATCH REPORT: Portsmouth 0 Doncaster Rovers 1

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DONCASTER Rovers continue to be the Jekyll and Hyde side of League One.

Inconsistent at the Keepmoat Stadium, where they have lost four of their eight league games, Rovers continue to prove resilient on the road.

Their hard-earned victory over a struggling Portsmouth side who could be heading for successive relegations, made it six wins and two draws their from nine away games.

Whereas Rovers have only managed to score seven goals at home, their away tally is double that figure.

What makes the situation even more puzzling is the fact that Rovers are not doing anything significantly different on their travels.

There is the same work ethic and never-say-die attitude that manager Dean Saunders demands, at the Keepmoat Stadium

What they are doing better, however, is converting a bigger percentage of their chances.

With Paul Quinn being left out on medical grounds, Andy Griffin, who spent two years at Fratton Park earlier in his career, again deputised at right-back.

The 33 year-old is hoping to win himself a contract and he will have done his chances no harm with his best display yet in a Doncaster shirt.

The back-four was boosted by the return of influential skipper Rob Jones, who showed no signs of any reluctance on his part to get involved in aerial battles at either end of the pitch on his return to action following his nasty head injury in the Crewe game.

Tommy Spurr has made it clear on any number of occasions that he prefers playing left-back, but he continues to impress as a stand-in centre-back, and he ran Jones close for my man-of-the-match award.

The midfield lacked creativity at times, as well as someone to pull the strings, and danger man David Cotterill didn’t always have the best of service out wide - though he generally made the best of any opportunities to attack which did come his way - as a result neither Iain Hume or Billy Paynter had too many chances on the day.

The only goal of the game was scored by on-loan striker Hume on 25 minutes.

Martin Woods did well down the left and Hume, who now has four, poked the ball in from close range.

“It was important to score the first goal; you always want to score first,” said Hume. “We had a game plan and that was to go out there and work hard and get ourselves back on track after two defeats.

“Fratton Park is a tough place to come; they’ve got some great fans, who really get behind the team, and when they get on their back then you know that you are doing your job.

“We had one chance in the first half and we took it and went on to win the game and pick up the three points.”

Portsmouth came more into the game in the second half and Rovers were forced on to the back foot - though Jones came close to killing it off with a header from a corner which keeper Mikkel Andersen did well to save - and leading scorer Izale McLeod squandered a great chance late on.

Although the game will not live long in the memory of those fans at Fratton Park, no one could question Rovers’ commitment and attitude.

“If you look at it before we played Crewe and Bournemouth there was no reason for our spirits to be down,” said Hume. “Obviously it was disappointing to lose back-to-back home games, but we’d beaten teams that people didn’t expect us to beat.

“Admittedly our home form is not the best, but the spirit in the camp remained good going into today’s game.

“The manager has put together a good side, but more importantly than that, a good group of lads who are willing to work for each other.

“No one has an ego and no one thinks that they are better than the club - that’s the main thing. I’ve seen that at other clubs and it’s not something you want in your squad.”

“With our defensive record away from home - we’ve only conceded five in nine league games - we are confident that one goal will win us the game.

“But having said that we are never going to consciously sit back on the edge of the box and invite pressure.

“They put us under pressure at times in the second half, but at the end of the day we are away from home and they were always going to put us under pressure at times.”

Pompey, whose manager Colin Appleton left to join Blackpool a fortnight ago, have now lost five successive league and games and have failed to score in all five.

They had chances to put the record straight on both counts.

But they are not the fist team. nor will they be the last, to discover that when you are struggling things rarely go right for you.

Two defeats in as many games is hardly likely to persuade whoever is in charge at the club to consider caretaker boss Guy Whittingham the job on a permanent basis, but at least he felt it a better performance than at Bury last week.