Respect, rucks, unnecessary nerves and other key talking points from Doncaster Rovers' clash with Bolton Wanderers
Doncaster Rovers got the job done in the end as they held on for the win against Bolton Wanderers.
Rovers had been in full control after Fejiri Okenabirhie and Niall Ennis scored to give them a healthy lead.
But a mistake from Seny Dieng brought a nervy finish to the game, with Rovers having to see it out rather than coast to a deserved comfortable triumph.
Here we look at some of the main talking points from the game.
You do not take risks in the manner of Seny Dieng and get away with it every time. On this occasion, he was caught out and it could have cost Rovers dearly. Dieng was sold a little short by Ben Sheaf but would have been much safer launching an immediate clearance. He attempted to turn away from Daryl Murphy but failed to spot Joe Dodoo, who he put the ball on a plate for. There are times when he should certainly take fewer risks, but Dieng’s supreme confidence makes him the goalkeeper he is - one who claims almost every cross like he has flypaper for gloves. And his self-assurance means he is unlikely to stop playing with the ball at his feet any time soon.
While Dieng’s ruck unsettled things, the goalkeeper should not take the blame for the manner in which Rovers went to pieces after conceding. A team that had shown composure on the ball and a good deal of patience descended into panicky, rushed play that only increased the pressure from a rejuvenated Bolton side. Rovers have more than enough ability in their ranks to be able to handle such things and settle themselves back down. Perhaps this is where the youthful nature of the side counts against them somewhat but they certainly need to learn lessons from this one. Even after conceding, they should have gone onto win the game comfortably rather than with the nervous finish that transpired.
While the youthful inexperience suggestion may have reasoning, one player in particular was the exception. He may have been on the pitch for less than ten minutes but Jacob Ramsey made a big impression. The calmness he brought to the middle of the park was exceptional. He strolled around with the ball, made simple passes and had Rovers back on the front foot and seeing out the game comfortably. The Aston Villa loanee shook off a disappointing performance against Rochdale with his composure in his cameo. He’s a good player, the boy.
There could easily have been some needle in this fixture given the recent history between the two clubs but there was a pleasing absence of any ill-feeling. There was a respectful approach taken by players and staff from both clubs and rightly so. A line has been drawn under the situation with little that can now be done by either party - in spite of any lingering feelings over a lack of justice. Supporters are never likely to let matters drop so easily and the Bolton fans revelled in singing about Rovers’ feelings over the situation - not that Trotters fans feel any rivalry towards Doncaster, of course. The real contentious fixture is the one to come at the University of Bolton Stadium but it certainly seems the matter has been put to bed.
Fejiri Okenabirhie showed his composure inside the box with his first goal for Rovers at Tranmere. But, handed his first start, he had the opportunity to show it to a greater extent and grasped that chance. His goal was very well taken after Reece James’ touch put him in one on one. He could have had more than one goal after putting himself into space on several occasions. Once his match sharpness is fully up to speed, he looks set to be a very important player for Rovers.
One player whose place in the side has come under threat with the arrival of the new faces is Niall Ennis, but he has responded to the challenge with real determination. The influx has seen him pushed wide but he has embraced the switch and looks like being difficult to dislodge from the position. His goal capped a very good performance in which he proved to be a strong outlet for Rovers, working space in wide areas, attacking the back post and also bringing team mates into play. Ennis runs his socks off every time he is on the pitch - and he is clearly not about to give up his shirt without a fight.