Doncaster Rovers 0 Blackpool 1: Unbeaten run ended with injury time suckerpunch

Doncaster Rovers' unbeaten start to the season was brought to an end with an injury time suckerpunch on a frustrating night at the Keepmoat.

Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 12:08 am
Armand Gnanduillet scores Blackpool's injury time winner.

Armand Gnanduillet came off the bench to bundle in and snatch a 92nd minute winner for visitors Blackpool.

It was harsh on a Rovers side that had enjoyed the better of the attacking play but struggled for the creative spark which has driven them early in this campaign.

As demonstrated by some of the sublime football they played against Ipswich Town at the weekend, Rovers are a side that relishes the opportunity to play between the lines.

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Niall Ennis chases the ball after being denied by Jak Alnwick.

To do that, there needs to be space between those line in which to operate and Blackpool were simply in no mood to afford Rovers such a luxury.

Exceptionally well organised, their back three quickly became a back five whenever Rovers were in possession.

And the three central midfielders shifted into a buffer, with each taking turns to charge out and press as Rovers brought the ball into the Blackpool half.

Ben Whiteman and Ben Sheaf in particular were targeted by the opposition and were pressed immediately when in possession, denying them the chance to start attacks.

It meant for a frustrating time for Rovers - reflected when they looked to go a little more direct on occasion with Blackpool's towering back line only too happy to nod lofted balls away.

Patience was required. And to Rovers' credit, they showed it in the main.

It became all about finding a bit of magic to unlock some space with the search largely fruitless.

Blackpool's threat came early in the first half. Joe Nuttall scuffed an early effort wide after a marauding run.

Rovers suffered an early blow with Matty Blair forced off after just 17 minutes due to injury with Alfie May replacing him.

But they began to take control of possession, beginning the chess game.

Kieran Sadlier fired wide after cutting inside from the right with most opporunities coming from solo efforts.

Ryan Hardie drew a superb save from Ian Lawlor at the other end after working space for a shot.

The moments of magic were scarce but Jon Taylor was released into space after a neat one-two with Reece James. He then found Niall Ennis in the middle but the Wolves loanee saw his shot deflected wide.

The pattern of the game continued into the second half though Rovers found themselves able to push higher into Blackpool territory than they did before the break.

One such move saw Brad Halliday slide a pass into the box for Ben Whiteman, who saw his low strike tipped wide. Whiteman then fired wide from 25 yards.

Rovers then began to look at little nervy as Blackpool enjoyed their own period of pressure.

Jordan Thompson drilled wide for the visitors from 25 yards before Ben Sheaf almost hooked into his own net when attempting to block a cross.

And Lawlor passed straight out to Hardie, who failed to take advantage with the Rovers keeper recovering well.

Rovers' best opportunity came when Ennis latched onto a ball over the top, touched it past Alnwick and hooked on goal only for Curtis Tilt to block on the line.

The hosts looked the more likely to win it with Alfie May and Taylor both seeing strikes pushed wide.

Rovers pushed to the end but were caught out at the death.

Substitute Sully Kaikai burst out from his own half on the counter before clipping a ball into the box where Gnanduillet headed home from close range.

ROVERS: Lawlor; Halliday, Anderson, John, James; Whiteman, Sheaf; Blair (May 17), Sadlier (Coppinger 70), Taylor; Ennis. Subs: Dieng, Daniels, Gomes, Longbottom, Kiwomya.

BLACKPOOL: Alnwick; Edwards, Heneghan, Tilt; Feeney, Virtue (Guy 86), Spearing, Thompson, Husband; Nuttall (Kaikai 74), Hardie (Gnanduillet 75). Subs: Sims, Bushiri, Scannell, Turton.

REFEREE: Antony Coggins (Oxfordshire)

ATTENDANCE: 6,964 (424 away)