Analysis: The good, the bad and the thrilling '“ Doncaster Rovers 1 Charlton Athletic 1

There are various things on which you can count on Rovers delivering at the moment.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 11th February 2018, 10:12 pm
Updated Sunday, 11th February 2018, 10:15 pm
Rovers celebrate their injury time equaliser against Charlton
Rovers celebrate their injury time equaliser against Charlton

Set piece frailty is unfortunately one of those.

And it looked to have hit them hard when towering centre half Patrick Bauer was given all the space he could have wished for to nod in tamely at the back post from a corner to put Charlton Athletic ahead.

Matty Blair charges in to score Rovers' last gasp equaliser against Charlton

But there is another thing this Rovers side have in their arsenal - never giving up until the final whistle has sounded.

So despite one of the most lacklustre and error strewn performances of the season, there was no counting out the determination of Rovers to fight until the end for whatever they could get out of the game.

And they delivered - via the unlikely source of a Matty Blair header - four minutes into five added on.

There was a stroke of fortune as well. Substitute Luke McCullough drilled a shot from the edge of the box, the ball looped up and gave the attentive Blair chance to charge in untracked to head in.

Alex Kiwomya caused problems with his pace after coming off the bench

Blair’s header got them out of jail, securing a point they had not deserved and ensuring, while they have yet to win in 2018, they have lost just once in the league.

Resiliency and weakness - the Doncaster Rovers paradox.


Or it would be if the standards shown against Charlton were repeated on a regular basis.

Alfie Beestin gets away from his marker

Thankfully, so far, there have been few occasions this season where Rovers have been as poor as they were on Saturday.

The vast majority of the time they are much better with the ball, more organised and show a greater tempo.

And it is for that reason why there should not be too much concern over their standing in League One.

What they must ensure is there are no more performances of that ilk over the remaining 14 games if the concern is to remain low.

Matty Blair charges in to score Rovers' last gasp equaliser against Charlton

They were incredibly nervy in defence early on - something which was hardly helped by poor play in possession.

Passes were wayward, off-the-ball movement disappointing and possession play ponderous.

Rovers were frustratingly below par which helped Charlton be incredibly comfortable for almost the entirety of the game.

The week before, Portsmouth slapped a stranglehold on the game to dominate. Charlton did not have to do the same because Rovers afforded them so much.


In many ways, cutting and pasting what was written last week about set piece problems would not be doing the reader a disservice.

Alex Kiwomya caused problems with his pace after coming off the bench

It was so teeth-gratingly predictable and simple that Charlton would take the lead in such a manner.

Tom Anderson mis-timed his jump up against Bauer, allowing the big German to head in what was hardly the most difficult effort to deal with.

In Bauer and similarly imposing striker Josh Magennis, Charlton had two players that should have been given the most attention at set pieces. And yet Bauer was not even challenged in opening the scoring.

The issue has been highlighted more than enough. Every single Rovers player should be switched on in defending set pieces than at any other time on the pitch.


What more can be written about James Coppinger that has not been written already.

Another game, another milestone for the Rovers skipper as he reached 500 league appearances for the club.

Another 500 mark could be passed on Tuesday at Walsall. If he starts, it will be his 500th competitive start.

This week he confirmed his intention to play on beyond the end of the season - something which did not seem so certain a few months ago.

While he was not at his best against Charlton, that he can still deliver performances of the manner of his the previous week at Portsmouth shows his continued value.

Football seems awash with celebrating the most contrived of milestones. But Coppinger, the man and the footballer, is worth celebrating at each and every turn.

Alfie Beestin gets away from his marker