Performances like this help quest to quieten inevitable transfer talk - Analysis of Doncaster Rovers' wonderful win at Bristol Rovers

Darren Moore was in no mood to discuss the machinations and frustrations of the January transfer window as he sat in the bowels of the Memorial Stadium on Saturday evening.

Sunday, 12th January 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 12:03 pm

He had just witnessed his side dominate a football match and strike late to claim three points and a third successive victory with a third straight clean sheet to boot.

Talks of incomings at Rovers - however badly needed they are - could wait.

Business away from the pitch was threatening to distract Moore away from business on it.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Rakish Bingham curls in a second for Doncaster Rovers. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX LTD

And there are times when you feel any sort of distractions are completely unwanted by Rovers' imposing gaffer.

When things are going as well as they are right now for Doncaster Rovers, it is easy to feel that way.

A transformation in form over the festive period has now stretched into 2020, pushing them a point away from League One's top six while potential results from games in hand would have them the same distance off the automatic promotion places.

Moore's men continue to do what they must do in matches and in four of the last five they have got it spot on.

Their clash with Bristol Rovers was made for them however.

The hosts took the frankly suicidal approach of allowing Rovers time and space on the ball all across the pitch and Doncaster domination was the order of the day.

Passes were sprayed around the pitch liberally and with aplomb. Movement off the ball was excellent, runs made with purpose, accuracy excellent.

What denied a Rovers rout was a lack of quality when it mattered in the final third. Too many times was accuracy missing or the wrong option taken when facing a packed Bristol Rovers box, the hosts desperately on the back foot.

As the game wore on there was the feeling it could be 'one of those days.' But never one in which they would lose the game as the hosts offered little while the magnificent Doncaster defence rebuffed whatever came their way for yet another clean sheet and another quiet afternoon's work for Seny Dieng.

A fresh injection undoubtedly aided Rovers. It was a match that had been crying out for James Coppinger, who had started on the bench. The veteran's composure and ability on the ball was suited to the space afforded.

The breakthrough came four minutes from time with a peach of a through ball from Brad Halliday, controlled superbly by skipper Ben Whiteman who then finished with real calmness.

And then the unlikely and much maligned figure of Rakish Bingham, who had harried and held the ball up excellently on his introduction from the bench, was sent charging into the box with a stunning reverse pass from Coppinger and curled a beauty into the far corner to wrap up the win.

They left it late but got the victory their performance deserved, something Moore was only too happy to reflect on.

New arrivals will never be far from the forefront of thoughts as January plods on without them - particularly given Rovers have been desperate for them since before the last window closed.

And it ensures there will be greater scrutiny on performances in terms of 'what if there were other options available?'

On Saturday, as Rovers dominated possession and camped in the Bristol Rovers half, the question was 'what difference other attacking options would make?'

Niall Ennis should feel no disrespect from such a thought. Rovers are undoubtedly much better with him in the side. His tireless, combative performances are vital, as he has demonstrated in two successive matches where he has shone in the unenviable task of battling three opposition centre halves.

But, as Moore himself put it this week, the young Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee is not a natural number nine. Some of his movement and off-the-ball runs in the final third suggested just that at the Memorial Stadium.

There were many times too when the lack of incisiveness with the final ball brought the question of what an extra option in the supporting three might add.

Transfer dealings are proving a frustrating business for Moore and the Rovers hierarchy who continue to wait for the 'right sort of target.'

All that can be done in the meantime is to ensure those already in situ continue to deliver as they have done in recent weeks.

But the only way to end the inevitable wave of questions about newcomers is to deliver on that front too.