Doncaster Rovers: No hiding in the shadows for Darren Moore despite watching brief at Gainsborough

He may have taken a step back from proceedings in order to observe Doncaster Rovers' friendly at Gainsborough Trinity but there was no hiding in the shadows for Darren Moore.

Sunday, 14th July 2019, 11:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 14th July 2019, 11:00 pm
Darren Moore watches from the stands at Gainsborough. Picture: Steve Flynn

Such a physical specimen would always have a hard time going incognito in such snug surroundings as Northolme.

But no such thoughts were going through the mind of Moore as he mingled with his new public for the first time as Rovers boss.

Walking from the car park, standing outside the ground, sitting in his seat in the stand - Moore was predictably asked for pictures and given hearty handshakes as the returning hero of an adoring 

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His old window cleaner from his days as a player for the club was quick to give him a warm embrace.

There was a feeling of familiarity and genuine affection - and it was not one way.

Moore relished the chance to speak with supporters and thank them for their kind words, just as he told the press he would on Friday.

He spent longer than was necessary or required greeting fans outside the entrance to the ground, leaving the business of preparing the team to John Schofield, as he said he would.

Moore then took his place in the stand and observed the players he will be guiding through the new campaign.

He had spoken to them on Friday, asking them to carry out certain things on the pitch on Saturday.

And there appeared, initially at least, an eagerness to impress the new man in charge from the strong side named for the first half.

Passing was over ambitious at times, seeing possession conceded sloppily as Rovers tried to force the issue against their Northern Premier League hosts.

But once they settled and gained composure, they produced some very good football to leave Gainsborough chasing shadows.

Quick passing triangles, players overlapping and plenty of men forward - it offered a welcoming suggestion that life under Moore could be as thrilling as he has already claimed.

There was an eye-catching goal to kick off the scoring when Ben Whiteman collected the ball from James Coppinger and picked his spot with a wonderful placed effort into the bottom corner from 20 yards out.

The second was much more direct. Tom Anderson played a perfectly weighted ball over the top from the back, sending John Marquis racing clear to finish with typical confidence.

Rovers arguably should have had more goals in the opening period but found it difficult to break down a Gainsborough side who retreated further and further back.

The build-up play was nonetheless impressive from Rovers in a decent first half in baking sun.

All change at the break, Rovers featured a trialist in the second period in former Mansfield Town midfielder Will Atkinson - training with the club for fitness purposes rather than an official trial.

Barring Atkinson, there was again a youthful feel to the second half side which was packed with U23 talent.

In the most senior head among them, Kieran Sadlier, there is a player with fresh fire in his belly after getting his first real break in 18 months to rest and recuperate.

In the two games so far he has looked intent on attacking with real ferocity, showing his ability to strike from distance and power at opposition defences.

And there was a pleasingly promising debut from new signing Ben Sheaf. The Arsenal loanee can play in midfield or defence and on this occasions played between the two, covering superbly and starting attacks.

Several of his balls forward, played over some distance, were sublime, finding their target with phenomenal accuracy to quickly take Rovers into advanced positions.

How on earth Rovers failed to score in the second half will remain a mystery. Poor finishing was costly after some impressive and energetic build-up play.

Chief of profligacy was Alex Kiwomya, looking to impress as he bids to reverse the decision to transfer list him this summer. He missed a string of opportunities after being released into superb positions into the box.

Throughout it all, Moore made observations to the man who had joined him in the stands.

Mental notes will have been taken for the time he starts the job in earnest, bright and early on Monday morning.

For Moore, from here on in there will be no steps back and his presence will only grow.