ANALYSIS & HIGHLIGHTS: Burton Albion 3 Doncaster Rovers 3: Another Christmas cracker from Ferguson’s merry men

Doncaster's players celebrate Nathan Tyson's goal
Doncaster's players celebrate Nathan Tyson's goal

Still on the lookout for a last minute Christmas present for the football lover in your life? A compilation DVD of Rovers’ last few matches should do just the trick.

On Saturday they played a starring role in yet another blockbuster 90 minutes of entertainment as they battled the top side in League One.

There was no pre-Christmas repeat of the extraordinary injury time conclusion from the previous week but there were still enough thrills for all the family.

Unsung hero Nathan Tyson looked to have won the game for Rovers in the 83rd minute with a penalty.

But a familiar face from the past came back to haunt them as Mark Duffy lashed in an equaliser with barely a minute of normal time to go.

Under Darren Ferguson, Rovers have rapidly become one of the division’s great entertainers.

Rovers fans get into the festive spirit

Rovers fans get into the festive spirit

During their visit to table-topping Burton Albion, there were three lead changes, two goals in the last seven minutes and two penalties.

They could not outscore the opposition on this occasion but these were no average opponents. Burton looked every bit a top side - confident on the ball, surging forward quickly and well organised.

Taking a point away at the top of the table would be positive enough for plenty of sides. But Rovers managed it without really playing well.

Bossed out of the game in the first half, it took a significant change of personnel and system in the second period to wrestle some semblance of control.

Rovers players celebrate Nathan Tyson's goal

Rovers players celebrate Nathan Tyson's goal

If this is their worst performance during a busy end to the year, they should have no problems continuing their remarkable rise under Ferguson.

The Rovers boss had called upon his side to start well in order to avoid being overwhelmed by the party atmosphere sparked by Nigel Clough’s return to Burton.

They barely touched the ball in the first three minutes but on their first sight of goal they showed a real ruthless edge.

Williams chested down Mitchell Lund’s cross before turning and striking all in one sensationally fluid movement to power the ball past Jon McLaughlin and take the bounce out of the Burton party.

Nathan Tyson's spot kick put Rovers 3-2 up

Nathan Tyson's spot kick put Rovers 3-2 up

The goal lifted Rovers and while they struggled to really take control of possession, when they did have the ball they attacked with real pace, energy and confidence.

Players took chances with the ball, either by attempting eye of the needle passes or by taking the opposition on. When Rovers are in the groove, the confidence in the camp is palpable.

But despite being behind, Burton had a grip on the game and always looked likely to equalise.

After his stunning goal, Williams was left with his head in his hands for his part in Burton’s 18th minute leveller.

Inside his own half, Williams attempted a pass inside which went straight to Tom Naylor. Quickly, the Burton midfielder sent a through ball for Calum Butcher who calmly slotted past Stuckmann.

After the equaliser, Burton only grew in confidence while Rovers wilted. The hosts were simply quicker off the mark, pouncing on errors and attacking with pace.

Rovers on the other hand were rather ponderous, consistently giving the ball away, uncharacteristically wasteful on the break and slow to close Burton down.

Ferguson was enraged on the sidelined, berating his players for mistakes and attempting to drive them forward.

For all the hosts’ control of the game, they struggled for clear cut chances.

And nine minutes into the second half Rovers were presented with the chance to change the game’s balance.

John Mousinho clattered Tyson and despite doubts over whether the foul was in the box, referee Mark Heywood pointed to the spot.

Williams went for placing with his penalty but the effort was poor, further undoing the glory of the opening goal as McLaughlin saved easily.

Ferguson leapt into action in an attempt to change the game himself, pulling wing backs Mitchell Lund and Cedric Evina who had both been rather disappointing and sending on Keegan and Luke McCullough, switching to 4-4-2 in the process.

Though Ferguson admitted the system change was more down to personnel options than tactics, it certainly gave Rovers more of a solid base.

But six minutes later, they were behind.

Butcher’s touch from a flick-on took his past a rather flat-footed McCullough and through to again slot past Stuckmann.

Rovers responded well and were enjoying much more of the ball than they had previously.

And when they were awarded a free kick right on the edge of the box after Conor Grant was clattered, few would have expected Keegan to step up.

But he did and curled a stunning strike in off the inside of the near post for only his second goal in five years at the club.

Phil Edwards looked to have thrown it away for Burton when he shoved Tyson over in the box as he was primed to head in Williams’ cross to the back post.

Heywood gave a penalty but still managed to infuriate Ferguson by only booking Edwards.

The Rovers boss’ ire was short-lived as Tyson made no mistake from the spot. But the lead would last just six minutes of the seven remaining.

El Khayati found Duffy 12 yards out and the former Rovers winger picked out the top corner with a fine finish.

Duffy almost won it in injury time but Stuckmann surged out off his line to block.

Sharing the points was the most just outcome and few onlookers were left disappointed.

That’s entertainment.

The teams

Burton: McLaughlin 6, Edwards 6, Mousinho 6, Flanagan 7, McCrory 6, O’Connor 7, Duffy 7, Butcher 7 (Akins 84), Naylor 7, El Khayati 7, Beavon 6. Subs not used: Matthews, Cansdell-Sherriff, Reilly, Thiele, Binnom-Williams, Palmer.

Rovers: Stuckmann 7, Alcock 7, Butler 6, Taylor-Sinclair 6, Lund 5 (Keegan 54 7), Coppinger 7 (Chaplow 90), Middleton 6, Grant 6, Evina 5 (McCullough 54 5), Williams 6, Tyson 8. Subs not used: Marosi, Mandeville, Whitehouse, Davies.

Referee: Mark Heywood (West Yorkshire)

Att: 4,103