ONE point from back-to-back home games wasn’t what Doncaster Rovers must have been hoping for in their battle to climb out of the Championship relegation zone.
Coventry on Saturday was a game there for the taking, but we fell behind to a screamer of a goal from Clingan from fully 30 yards.
Rovers hit back in the second half, with James Hayter flicking home a James Coppinger cross. Both sides had chances to win the game but with both keepers making good saves the game finished in a draw, which was just about a fair result.
With striker Billy Sharp not included in the Rovers’ squad the pre-match speculation was that the club had let him go on loan to either Southampton or Ipswich - who had both made big bids for him in the summer.
Nobody was prepared for the tragic news that broke on Tuesday, regarding the loss of his newly-born son, Luey.
Billy, being the man that he is, phoned manager Dean Saunders to ask if he could not only play against Middlesborough, but lead the side out as captain and pay tribute to his son.
It was a sombre moment when match day announcer Jonathan Heath, who did an excellent job on the night, read out a tribute to Luey which had everyone chocking back the tears, followed by a minutes’ applause which was supported from both sets of fans, players and match officials.
Credit to the Boro fans for their response. At times like this everything is put into perspective.
You thought the script had been written when, from a Diouf flick-on, Billy rifled in a unstoppable shot to give Rovers the lead. He duly lifted his shirt to reveal a tee shirt with ‘Thats For You Son’ in big white letters which summed everything up.
Thankfully, referee Darryl Deadman used common sense and did not book Billy.
After playing on emotion for the first 25 minutes, Rovers were stunned by a 25 yard equaliser from Robson before having the stuffing knocked out of them on the stroke of half time as Boro man-of-the-match Emnes swept the ball home.
It was cruel luck on Rovers but even though they never gave in they conceded a penalty late on, again tucked away by Robson, although the ball looked like it had gone out of play in the build up.
It was fitting that Billy got Rovers’ man-of-the-match award, which was greeted by both sets of fans with more applause. I thought El Hadji Diouf showed his class for the first 70 odd minutes on his Rovers’ debut - despite being only 70 per cent match fit.
Ipswich await us at Portman Road tomorrow. Let’s hope we can get revenge for the 6-0 home defeat from last season.
Town have had a patchy start to the season and if we go about the job in hand as we can do I can see us coming away with at least a point.
God bless Luey . . .
There is still room on the Supporters’ Club coaches to Ipswich, which depart Retford 8.30, Harworth 8.35, Rossington 8.45, Hare and Tortoise (Rosso side) 8.50, Infirmary 9.00 and Keepmoat 9.15. To book phone me on 07961-727769 or Len on 01302-817347.
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