Doncaster Rovers v Brighton: Paul Goodwin’s verdict

A flag of John Ryan before the game. Picture: Andrew Roe
A flag of John Ryan before the game. Picture: Andrew Roe

WHEN Billy Sharp wheeled away to celebrate the first ever goal at Brighton’s new Amex Stadium in August, hope sprang eternal for Doncaster Rovers.

But almost from the moment Lewis Dunk came crashing through the back of Billy, things came crashing down for Doncaster.

Will Buckley’s injury time winner on an incredibly noisy opening day of the season set the tone for the late dramas that have followed against Blackpool, Millwall, Birmingham, Leeds and now Peterborough.

Rovers’ performance at the Amex arguably set the tone for the season.

Doncaster gave as good as they got against the Seagulls - but they just weren’t good enough.

It is a sobering thought that Rovers failed to win while Sharp remained sidelined from Dunk’s horrendous challenge, like they have failed to win since Sharp departed for Southampton.

It is no coincidence that Dean Saunders has bemoaned his side’s wastefulness in front of goal since Sharp left for the south coast.

It is a backs against the wall situation that Rovers now find themselves in, needing to double their points tally with just a third of the season left.

But it is not a forgone conclusion that Doncaster are dead and buried just yet.

March, with no fewer than nine games scheduled inside four weeks, will make or break Rovers’ season.

Saunders’ high intensity approach and the work he demands from his players will make post-match recovery and clever squad rotation paramount over the next few weeks.

With a massive game next Tuesday against Nottingham Forest waiting in the wings, as well as long trips to West Ham, Crystal Palace and Southampton, it all adds up to a draining and demanding few weeks.

But if Rovers can dig out a win against Brighton this weekend - like they should have done against Posh - it could give them valuable momentum ahead of winnable home games against Derby and Millwall.

But talk is cheap for Doncaster.

There has been lots of talk about luckless Rovers, bad refereeing and the ongoing search for a winning formula.

The fact of the matter is that it is do or die now for Doncaster.

March can be the time for a Rovers revolution.

March has to be the time for some Rovers resolution.

Prediction: Rovers 2 Brighton 1