Match Analysis: Crewe Alexandra 2 Doncaster Rovers 1 - Relegation flashbacks but more positives this time around
For the scene of Rovers’ relegation from League One provided yet more angst as their four-game winning sequence came to an end in cruel fashion.
Exactly like in April, Rovers again only had themselves to blame for losing a game they ought to have won.
However, this time there were more positives than negatives.
Crewe started the game in brighter fashion and went ahead on 14 minutes when Ryan Lowe got on the end of Chris Dagnall’s inviting cross from the right.
But Rovers responded well to going behind and carved out chance after chance as they controlled much of the remainder of the game.
It took a penalty to eventually level things up with eight minutes remaining, Tommy Rowe stroking home from the spot after referee Lee Probert had spotted some holding at a corner.
But, having got back into the game and perhaps sensing a dramatic victory, just like they did at Accrington Stanley on the opening day of the season, they inexplicably switched off at the back and allowed James Jones to smash in a late winner.
The performance from Darren Ferguson’s side was industrious and incisive; 16 shots at goal compared to Crewe’s six. But once again they left the Alexandra Stadium with nothing. Points win prizes, not performances.
EVERY POINT COUNTS
Win your home games and take what you can away. That’s always been the traditional way of winning promotion. So it’s high time this Rovers team, given their lofty ambitions, realised that a draw away from home is not a bad result.
Had Doncaster collected two points from the games at Accrington Stanley and Crewe, where they could easily have claimed six but ultimately ended up with nothing, they would be sat second rather than sixth. After 46 games, and not six, they don’t want to end up looking back with any regrets.
You can’t win them all. When a point is there for the taking, take it. At 1-1 Rovers should have switched from the adventurous 3-5-2 designed to get them back into the game back to 4-4-2 and managed the game much better - and not repeated exactly the same mistake that cost them at Accrington.
MAKING LIFE DIFFICULT
That’s two away games out of three now that Rovers have conceded early and late. They are making life difficult for themselves on the road.
On the other hand, when Rovers have scored the first goal in a game this season - against Cambridge, Cheltenham and Yeovil - they have gone on to collect all three points.
PLENTY OF POSITIVES
On the plus side, Rovers created goalscoring opportunities for fun and on another day would have won this game comfortably.
The best chance came when John Marquis broke from halfway and had Andy Williams waiting for a simple tap-in but he over-hit his cross.
Williams also fluffed a one-on-one at 0-0, Marquis headed just wide and Rowe might have done better from impressive debutant Frazer Richardson’s cross.
James Coppinger also went close from a well-worked free kick, Matty Blair saw his looping header superbly kept out by Ben Garratt and Rowe might have won it after equalising but fired a good chance into the side-netting.
If Rovers perform at this level consistently they will win more games than they lose in League Two.