Doncaster Rovers: Be smarter to end curse of late goals

Darren Ferguson has called on his players to show better game management in a bid to end the curse of the injury time hammerblows which has befell Doncaster Rovers.

Wednesday, 13th December 2017, 4:59 am
Darren Ferguson

Rovers conceded in the 96th minute at Oxford United on Saturday to lose a game they had dominated for long stretches.

That was the fifth injury time goal Rovers have conceded so far this season, costing them a total of seven points which would have put them eighth in the League One standings.

Ferguson says his side must cut out the unfortunate trend but is keen not to make it too big of an issue and risk it playing on the minds of players.

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“We have to look at why we have lost goals in the last minute of games,” Ferguson told The Star.

“Everyone is aware of it. The fans are aware, the opposition will be.

“The last kick of the ball has cost us seven points. We would have been eighth, in a really good position.

“Without trying to ram it down their throats too much, we have to deal with it.

“It’s disappointing but we can’t let it affect us and it won’t.

“We spoke about it on Monday. The players an all of us are in agreement that we can’t let it affect us and we have to keep getting the performances we have been getting.”

Ferguson has urged his players to use sensible judgement during the later stages of games.

While aiming to win every game, he believes there is a point in matches where accepting a draw is the right thing to do.

“At the weekend, we were 96 minutes in,” he said. “We’d tried for 95 minutes to win the game.

“When you get to the sixth minute of injury time, just see it out. Out the ball where there is no danger.

“We don’t have to win the game at that point.

“Of course we want to win the game. We’ve shown we want to do that throughout.

“But you can come away, say that was a good performance and a clear sheet against a team expected to be right up there.”

“The goal we lost at the weekend was very naive of us,” he added.

“Our right back is joining in the attack at that point of the game and it’s not necessary.

“Niall [Mason] shouldn’t have joined in. He should have stayed part of the back four.

“At Rochdale, Joe Wright took a touch in the middle of the pitch when he should have just kicked it out of the ground.

“Against Rotherham,John Marquis should just clear it.

“We’ve been unfortunate, I’ve got to be honest.”

While keen to sort out the issue of conceding late goals, Ferguson is pleased overall with recent performances from his side.

Prior to the defeat at Oxford, Rovers picked up impressive wins over MK Dons and Scunthorpe United at the Keepmoat.

And Ferguson said the current run has delivered the consistency in performances he has been looking for.

He said: “In terms of performances, the last three games starting with the second half against MK Dons, then Scunthorpe and Oxford, it’s probably the most consistent we’ve been.

“That’s in terms of what I want, how I want to play, creating chances and pressing really well.

“If we continue those performances, I’m very confident we’ll get the right results.”