Analysis: Goal-shy Rovers miss yet another opportunity - Oldham Athletic 0 Rovers 0
How does a side go from scoring goals for fun to suffering a severe strike shortage?
Doncaster Rovers are the side attempting to come up with the answer to that very question.
A year ago stats were being thrown around comparing Rovers’ goalscoring prowess with Europe’s elite.
Now we are in the aftermath of another game in which their lack of a clinical touch in front of goal has denied them a win would could so easily have been theirs.
It proved that the story of their season continued at Boundary Park as they battled out a goalless draw with relegation-threatened Oldham Athletic.
From scoring ratio of almost two goals a game last season, they find themselves with barely more than one.
And it is costing them.
On Saturday an element of quality in the final third would have seen them see off Oldham.
And if they are to kick on next season and push towards the play-offs, they must discover their clinical touch.
Darren Ferguson has the issue at the top of his list for the summer.
STORY OF THE GAME - JUST SHOOT
Oldham came out strong, as expected, as they chased the win they so desperately needed.
But there was a real desperation about their play, which brought plenty of errors. They rushed play regularly in their desire to push forward.
It meant, while they enjoyed more of the attacking play, they struggled for real threat and ensured it was a quiet return to action for the recalled Ian Lawlor.
Had Rovers shown real composure in possession and a strong intent to slow down play, they could have controlled the game.
Oldham lacked real quality, as their league position suggested, and were there for the taking.
But Rovers could not take advantage. They too rushed play and were far too ponderous in the final third.
So many times a shot should have been taken. But on so many occasions the decision take was to pass, or to continue to dribble, or to take an extra touch.
It was an incredibly frustrating viewing experience. And it made it all the more frustrating when ultimately they had to settle for a point.
TIME TO FIND THE SPARK
Saturday’s result ensured Rovers will not match last season’s end of season slump.
But it is still threatening to be a lacklustre end to what has been, on the whole, a positive campaign.
Last season Rovers simply ran out of steam after securing promotion and could not revive themselves in time to win the title.
That has not been the case this time around. There is enough energy left in the side and different options available to Ferguson.
The Blackburn game apart, Rovers have simply not matched the levels of desire shown by the opposition in recent weeks – though each one has had something to play for or prove.
A bit more spark in their play would have made all the difference in what have proven to pretty tight clashes.
AN ASSURED DEBUT
The major positive for Rovers on Saturday was the league debut of Danny Amos – and an assured one at that.
He dealt superbly with an early switch in formation, moving from left back to wing back.
And he also took on the responsibility for set pieces, showing excellent delivery.
Amos is highly thought of by coaches at the club, which his appearances in this game reflects.
This is a step up from handing senior debuts in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Ferguson clearly sees Amos as a potential future solution to the left-sided problem Rovers have suffered from this season.
And the 18-year-old’s league debut was a good start in his bid to show himself worthy of consideration.