Doncaster Rovers 3 Bradford Park Avenue 1 - The Verdict

Doncaster Rovers' Iain Hume in action against Bradford Park Avenue.
Doncaster Rovers' Iain Hume in action against Bradford Park Avenue.

IN all probability Doncaster Rovers will not win the FA Cup this season.

A money-spinning third round tie would do just nicely though.

That’s if Rovers can negotiate the tricky and slightly uninspiring visit to Oldham Athletic in the second round; their scant reward for another professional performance against Park Avenue.

Continuing their winning momentum, with one eye on Crewe Alexandra this Tuesday, was always the primary objective on Saturday.

And, as has been the case so many times this season, Dean Saunders’ men got the job done with minimum fuss. Some might also say minimum style.

When Richard Marshall curled in a superb effort for the visitors, offering the plucky non-league outfit a lifeline after first half goals from Martin Woods and Iain Hume, there was a feeling of nervousness in the bitterly cold Keepmoat Stadium air.

The visitors had their tails up, they and their merry band of supporters could sense a comeback.

That feeling of anxiety, however, did not last for long.

Chris Brown’s powerful header not only killed the game, but it portrayed a Rovers side who are no longer the soft touch they used to be.

Twelve months ago, Marshall’s excellent goal might have led to a serious case of the jitters, heads would have dropped, holes would have appeared, fingers of blame would be pointing.

But this is a different Doncaster.

This is a Rovers side made of sterner stuff. They’re a team, not a collection of individuals. They’ve got the winning feeling - and they like it.

What’s even more promising is that Rovers have not even got out of second gear this season.

Yet they find themselves in the second round of the FA Cup, four points off the top of League One with a game in hand, and still with a shout of reaching Wembley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Saunders’ Rovers might not have the style of the previous Doncaster team to achieve promotion from League One - but Saturday’s victory was yet more evidence that the current crop DO have the mental toughness that sadly disappeared along with the club’s Championship status.

It might not be pretty at times, but winning is a great habit.

And if Rovers do start to move up through the gears, it’s anyone’s guess as to what this team could actually achieve this season. Dare to dream anyone?