Doncaster Rovers boss apologises to fans for 'embarrassing' defeat to Portsmouth

Gary McSheffrey apologised to Doncaster Rovers’ travelling fans after his side crumbled to a 4-0 defeat at Portsmouth.

By Paul Goodwin
Saturday, 12th February 2022, 7:19 pm
Updated Saturday, 12th February 2022, 10:17 pm
Gary McSheffrey. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Gary McSheffrey. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Rovers gave a good account of themselves in the first half at Fratton Park but failed to nudge themselves ahead like they did in the wins at MK Dons and Sunderland.

The second period was a stark contrast as McSheffrey’s men fell behind to Reeco Hackett’s 56th minute header and mustered zero response.

George Hirst quickly doubled the home side’s lead before late goals from Aiden O’Brien and Sean Raggett capped a miserable day for Rovers and their 300 fans who made the 450-mile round trip.

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"They come in their numbers and they gave the lads a good clap after the game,” said McSheffrey, speaking to BBC Radio Sheffield.

"I think they’ve probably seen a first half performance that was to the standard and worth the journey.

"In the second half we weren’t exactly getting peppered but to concede four and for it to be 4-0 was a bit embarrassing – well, very embarrassing.

"Yeah, just an apology really for that second half performance because I didn’t see it coming and they deserve better.”

Joe Dodoo saw his close range effort cleared off the line and Gavin Bazunu saved from Reo Griffiths before Pompey took control and coasted to victory.

"I didn’t see the four niller coming,” said McSheffrey. “I thought first half we were comfortably the better team.

"We’ve said it before. You can’t miss those golden opportunities to go ahead at places like this.

"I thought we played through them really well and we were brave on the ball.

“We got a bit sloppy in the last ten minutes of the first half but going in at 0-0 I felt disappointed we weren’t a couple of goals ahead again like last week.

"But we didn’t do the basics and the non-negotiables well enough in the second half. We didn’t work hard enough. I thought we were a soft touch. Defend the back post for goals, put your head on things, get organised quicker.

"I know we make substitutions et cetera but the players going on know their roles and for the last goal, for example, you’ve got to get set up quicker to defend it. We’re too deep as well with our starting line for the last goal.

"It’s nitpicking but I just don’t think we did the non-negotiables well today. The organisation and just being professional in the second half.

"They weren’t peppering us. They’ve probably had four chances. Ultimately their attackers have produced the end product for them and an individual error for the second goal is a bit of a killer.

"It’s just disappointing because I felt we were a bit soft and we weren’t good enough in attack with our ball retention. Even in the first half we didn’t keep the ball well enough up front so it keeps coming back and we couldn’t get the fluency we had for the first half an hour.

"We have to move the ball quicker and when you go one down and two down you’ve got to be a bit braver and show some courage to get on the ball still. That was disappointing.”