Doncaster Rovers boss Gary McSheffrey labels Lee Tomlin’s Bradford City dismissal ‘stupid’

Doncaster Rovers boss Gary McSheffrey spoke of his pride after his team held on for a draw against Bradford City despite Lee Tomlin’s ‘stupid’ dismissal.

Saturday, 30th July 2022, 10:59 pm

Tomlin’s red card just before half-time left Rovers with a huge challenge to keep out the division’s big guns, who boast a plethora of attacking talent in their ranks.

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But they stood firm and deserved to return to South Yorkshire with a point on the opening day of the 2022/23 League Two season.

"From the moment Tomlin went off I’d have taken a 0-0,” McSheffrey admitted.

"I make no apologies for that. I thought the lads dug in really well."

McSheffrey handed debuts to eight players at the University of Bradford Stadium – six of whom were under the age of 24.

The average age of Doncaster’s back four was also under 23.

Gary McSheffrey. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX LTD

He added: “I’m proud of the boys because they (Bradford) threw everything at us.

"Should they have won? Yeah of course they should, they missed a couple of good chances at the end. But Johnny (Jonathan Mitchell, goalkeeper) was superb.

"We stood strong. That’s the team I feel I've got now. I’ve got a bunch of men that stay strong.”

McSheffrey confirmed 19-year-old midfielder Liam Ravenhill was substituted in order to protect him after Bradford’s Emmanuel Osabede suffered a double leg-break following his sixth-minute tackle, which left the home crowd furious.

Describing it as ‘a freak one’, McSheffrey said: “It seemed a firm one. Ravs (Ravenhill) took the ball but obviously our thoughts go to him (Osabede) and we hope he can make a speedy recovery.

"We had to protect Ravs and keep 11 men on the pitch. And then we go and get a stupid red card.”

Tomlin, who was shown two yellow cards in quick succession for petulance, was told to thank – and apologise to – each and every one of his teammates after the final whistle.

McSheffrey said of the 33-year-old: “We know he’s an exceptional talent. He’s man enough and mature enough to know that he’s done something silly.

"There will be no grudges held. We’ve had a chat, it’s forgotten and he will win us a lot of points this year.

"Sometimes you need a little lesson in the first game to know not to do something again."