Missed opportunity, strong bench and harsh lessons plus other talking points from Doncaster Rovers’ draw with Rochdale

Doncaster Rovers were forced to be happy with a share of the spoils after being pegged back late by Rochdale.

Saturday, 8th February 2020, 6:44 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th February 2020, 6:50 pm

Jon Taylor's first minute goal was cancelled out late by Oliver Rathbone in a slog of a 1-1 draw at the Keepmoat.

Here we look at some of the major talking points to arise from a frustrating afternoon.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

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Ben Whiteman comes under a robust challenge. Picture: Marie Caley

After a brilliant win in midweek and having been presented with a winnable game against an opposition that struggle to put games to bed, this one can only go down as a missed opportunity for Rovers - particularly after Jon Taylor’s extremely early goal. It was a performance that lacked the energy and ruthlessness of the Tranmere fixture, or the control of the midfield they so sorely needed against another side that love long periods of possession.

A BENCH WITH MUSCLE

How good is it to glance at the Rovers bench and see it packed full of potential game-changing options? It is not just on paper too as the changes made by Darren Moore in the second half offered a fresh injection and something different for Rovers to try to find a way to control the game. Niall Ennis proved a powerful outlet on the left while Fejiri Okenabirhie made things happen through the middle, seeing more of the ball than Devante Cole had throughout a tough slog of an opening hour. Options are going to be important for Rovers, particularly through busy periods.

HARSH LESSONS

Jacob Ramsey could hardly have made a bigger impression than scoring a brace on his debut. The follow-up proved to be a case of the difficult second album. Rovers had very little control in the middle of the park which denied Ramsey real opportunity to get on the ball and he struggled to win it back himself. Loans are about learning lessons and Ramsey will have been given plenty to ponder by a tough afternoon at a windy Keepmoat.

WIDTH SUITS SADLIER

Kieran Sadlier has looked a player rejuvenated in the last couple of games as he has been pushed wider than he has typically played this season. He still has license to cut inside, as he did for both Taylor’s goal and the chance when he struck the post in the first half where he played on the left. On Ennis’ introduction, he switched to the right where he played so well at Tranmere. There he was a lively presence and made things happen, getting balls into the box and linking up with Brad Halliday.

HOW DID HE MISS IT?

Speaking of Halliday, how referee Neil Hair or his assistant failed to see him being dragged down in the box in the final few minutes will remain a mystery. Halliday had made a smart run into the box to meet a lovely ball over the top but had his shirt pulled as he did so. The Rovers bench erupted, the fans in the stands were incensed but Hair was unmoved. Moore did not want to use it as an excuse and justifiably so but that was a costly error by the officials.