Big Leeds defeat ‘can inspire Keepmoat men to bounce back tomorrow’
DONCASTER Rovers will go into tomorrow’s home game against Coventry on the back of a 5-2 defeat against Leeds United at Elland Road.
“The players’ pride was hurt but the good thing is that we’ve got another game on Tuesday in which to bounce back,” said Rovers No 2 Richard O’Kelly.
“Coventry got tonked 4-1 at home to Bristol City and I would imagine that they’ll be a reaction.
“Nine times out of ten when we’ve had a result like Saturday we’ve always had a reaction and we’ll be looking for the same.”
It was the second time this season that Rovers have shipped five goals away from home in the Championship and proved disappointing to the management team after the side’s improved defensive showing in the previous three games.
Leeds took the lead with the first of Max Gradel’s brace on 13 minutes and they squandered several more excellent first-half chances in a dominant display in addition to being denied by keeper Gary Woods on several occasions.
Rovers rode their luck and drew level through striker Billy Sharp in stoppage time.
“It was a great ball in by John Oster, a great run by Billy and a clever finish and showed his determination to get on the score sheet,” said O’Kelly.
“We were fortunate to come in level at half-time, but we spoke about a few things and we got more on the front foot in the second half.
“We took the lead early in the second half with a goal by Franck Moussa, which he took really well.
“Unfortunately they hit back to make it 2-2 almost straight away. That was a bad goal to give away. Had we been able to keep our lead for a while it could have become a different game,
“We were still in it at 2-2 and we looked to try and win it. But they got a third on 74 minutes and I thought that we ended up chasing the game a little bit after that, and we conceded another two late goals.
“We’ve had a lot of games of late, including a midweek match at Derby, and you wonder whether it caught up with us; I don’t know.”
Rovers brought James Coppinger and James Hayter on in the final quarter for their first games after injury.
“What you’d have wanted was for the likes of James Coppinger and James Hayter to have done a bit more training and a bit more football under their belts,” said O’Kelly. “They didn’t come into the frame until late and they didn’t train until Thursday and Friday.
“We’d have liked to have gone through the game without using them, but some of the players looked to be feeling their legs a little bit and we felt we’d be better off taking them off and looking to the next game.”
O’Kelly was unhappy with Rovers’ defending at times, but young keeper Woods escaped any criticism.
“I thought he was outstanding again today and the score line is no reflection of his performance,” said O’Kelly. “The young lad has done exceptionally well.”
Another plus point for O’Kelly was the performances of Sharp and Moussa,
“I thought that they had a great understanding when they started playing together,” he said. “They linked off each other and both scored a goal and they looked like they could be a threat.”