Doncaster Rovers boss reacts to defeat to relegation rivals Gillingham

Doncaster Rovers produced a powder puff attacking display as they lost 1-0 at home to relegation rivals Gillingham.

By Paul Goodwin
Saturday, 12th March 2022, 7:22 pm
Charlie Kelman celebrates scoring the only goal of the game in the first minute. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX LTD
Charlie Kelman celebrates scoring the only goal of the game in the first minute. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX LTD

Rovers fell behind in the first minute when they failed to defend a long throw and Charlie Kelman pounced at the back post.

Gary McSheffrey accepted that his side “huffed and puffed” in response as they failed to find a way past their former loan goalkeeper Pontus Dahlberg.

Defeats for Fleetwood Town, AFC Wimbledon and Morecambe mean Rovers remain four points from safety with eight games to play.

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“Obviously it wasn’t a great start giving a throw-in away when it’s their main weapon after ten seconds of the game,” said McSheffrey.

“We don’t defend the throw-in – a few people get caught under it and you can’t let it bounce in the six-yard box – and they’ve got their noses in front in the first minute.

“We had a lot of the ball. They let you play out from the back and they just want to defend their box.

“Their game management was quite old school and they’re quite shrewd about how they do things. They slow the game down, so it was awkward really.

“I think we had the majority of the ball and we played some nice stuff in the second half but we just didn’t have that cutting edge in the final bit.

“We huffed and puffed a bit. We had a couple of good efforts and the goalie made a couple of saves but we lacked that desire to really get in behind them and really keep putting the ball in the box.

"There was a little bit too much patience on the pitch rather than keep putting them under pressure and forcing an error. That’s where we were caught short a bit I think.”

He added: "It was an important game, of course it was. The lads knew what was on it.

"You don’t see that nervousness in the week. It’s all about how they can handle the pressure on matchday. That’s the difference.

"They did look nervous in the first half. There wasn’t enough quality.

"In the second half I thought we got on the ball a lot better, played through them and kept the ball moving side to side but lacked that end product in the final third.”