Joe Ironside pep talks and spared blushes among Doncaster Rovers talking points

Doncaster Rovers snatched a late, late point in their 1-1 draw away at Sutton United.
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Joe Ironside's last-gasp penalty cancelled out Craig Eastmond's opener to ensure the gap between the two sides stayed at seven points.

Here are some of the talking points to emerge from the game.

Blushes spared

Rovers celebrate their late leveller at Sutton.Rovers celebrate their late leveller at Sutton.
Rovers celebrate their late leveller at Sutton.
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Grant McCann might not agree, but this was a game Doncaster dare not lose. Had Rovers suffered defeat then the gap between these two sides would have been trimmed to four points.

Thankfully Joe Ironside's assured technique from the penalty spot ensured that wasn't the case. It preserves the gap to Sutton to a relatively healthy seven points, with the caveat of a game in hand for Rovers.

Whilst he declared himself happy with the fact they'd escaped with a point, McCann will surely be not best pleased with the overall performance. There was not a single shot on target prior to Ironside's 12-yard leveller. And this is against a team that is low on confidence with just four wins from 29 outings prior to this. Make no mistake, Rovers got out of jail here. Improvements are a must going forward.

Joe ends mini-drought

Despite the performance being well below-par, you have to credit Ironside for keeping a cool head with almost the last kick of the game.

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He had to wait a while before taking it, with the home fans and players trying to do their best to put him off. That wait only increased the pressure on the 30-year-old but if he was feeling it then he didn't show it. He tucked the spot-kick away confidently for his 16th of the campaign. And considering he had missed his last spot-kick against Notts County it was a true show of bottle.

Speaking about the centre-forward, McCann revealed he had given a pep talk to his striker after he'd gone the previous five games without finding the net.

"I'm really pleased for Joe," McCann said. "He's worked his socks off all day and got battered about up there! To be composed like that in the 94th or 95th minute is a testament to him. I think he's getting back to form. I sat with Joe and told him 'let's get you back to what you're good at' and that is getting a grip of the game and being tough to play against. He's got his just rewards with that penalty so I'm delighted for him."

TLT praise

New goalkeeper Thimothée Lo-Tutala was thrown straight in for his Rovers debut less than 48 hours after arriving from Hull City.

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He stood little chance with Craig Eastmond's goal for the hosts but otherwise impressed by pulling off some good saves and displaying confident handling.

"Very good," was the succinct assessment from his manager. "He was really composed and was very aggressive off his line. It was hard kicking into that wind, but thought he was very good today."

It promises to be an intriguing battle for the number one jersey between him and Louis Jones for the rest of the campaign.

Another injury to contend with

It wouldn't be a Doncaster Rovers talking points without a fresh injury to worry about.

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This one was a bit of an odd one in that it was an unexpected knock sustained. Jay McGrath didn't appear to be struggling when the teams went down the tunnel for half-time.

But just before the referee blew his whistle for the restart Rovers' bench quickly signalled that they wished to make an alteration.

James Maxwell replaced McGrath in an episode that left most people scratching their heads.

"It was a bit strange really," McCann said. "Jay felt he could carry on at half-time but as soon as he ran onto the pitch he felt his hip flexor. We had to make the change before the ref blew for the second half. It's just a case of a young lad still trying to understand his body."