Midweek Takeaway: A frustrated shrug of the shoulders as Doncaster Rovers bow out of the Papa John's Trophy

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If a team exits the Papa John’s Trophy in the group stages is anyone bothered?

The age old question, coming with an array of different monikers for the competition, was asked of Doncaster Rovers as they bowed out with a 2-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers U21s.

There should be some frustration at the manner of the exit - coming courtesy of an 88th minute goal in a game they had enjoyed the better of.

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But, ultimately, in a season where time to draw breath is at a premium, not having to worry about a knockout fixture next month is not the biggest of disappointments.

Fabio Silva fires in the winner for Wolves U21s against Rovers. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIXFabio Silva fires in the winner for Wolves U21s against Rovers. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX
Fabio Silva fires in the winner for Wolves U21s against Rovers. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX

So there will inevitably have been more tutting at Wolves’ ability to name a £35million teenager in their attack as well as a left wing back who played in a Champions League semi-final less than three months ago.

The highly priced youngster, Fabio Silva, produced two moments of quality to seal the game for Wolves. But on both occasions he pounced on mistakes.

First Cameron John stuck out a leg to block a low cross which Louis Jones was poised to claim, allowing Silva to take the ball and drill home from a tight angle to give the visitors the lead.

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And with time ticking down, John failed to deal with a long punt upfield, with Silva claiming it after the initial bounce and powering forward to finish with real confidence.

Rovers had grabbed a deserved equaliser when James Coppinger was swiped down in the box when attempting to fire in a cross, with Fejiri Okenabirhie rifling home the penalty.

And for so much of the game they demonstrated real control of play, keeping the ball well and showing excellent movement but struggling to break down the well-organised visitors.

The value in the competition for Rovers in recent years has been the opportunity to blood youngsters.

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And while short on number in that regard this term, there was the pleasing sight of a full debut for Liam Ravenhill - contrasted starkly with the re-debut for Andy Butler, who added player-manager to his growing list of achievements.

It will be the likes of Ravenhill and Butler, players striving for game time, who suffer from exiting the competition - but even their disappointment will be short lived.


In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

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