Story of the game as Doncaster Rovers slide to embarrassing defeat to Rotherham United

The Eco-Power Stadium, home of Doncaster RoversThe Eco-Power Stadium, home of Doncaster Rovers
The Eco-Power Stadium, home of Doncaster Rovers
A South Yorkshire derby, against the league leaders, and with a win desperately needed – Doncaster Rovers have a sizeable task awaiting them tonight as they welcome neighbours Rotherham United.

Join us from the Eco-Power Stadium as we bring full match coverage of this huge test for Rovers in their bid to claw back ground on those sides above them in the relegation battle.

We will deliver our usual blog service this evening so remember to REFRESH this page regularly for the latest updates.

And for now, enjoy some pre-match reading as we count down to kick off.

LIVE: Rovers 0 Rotherham United 4

MATCH DETAILS

GOALS: Miller (7), Wiles (16)

ROVERS: Mitchell; Knoyle, Olowu, Younger; Seaman, Smith, Clayton (Galbraith 46), Horton (Jackson 46); Rowe; Odubeko, Dodoo. Subs: Jones, Williams, Martin, Agard, Griffiths.

ROTHERHAM: Vickers; Harding, Ihiekwe, Mattock; Ogbene (Wood 74), Wiles (Lindsay 77), Barlaser, Rathbone, Miller; Grigg (Kayode 70), Smith. Subs: Johansson, Ladapo, Ferguson, Odoffin.

REFEREE: Scott Oldham

Beaten before kick-off

That might be a harsh headline but that was how it seemed for Rovers who looked like rabbits in the headlights from the moment the game kicked off. They could barely lay a glove on the Millers all night, thanks to nervy work off the ball and really poor play on it.

It’s been a horrendous night, to continue a horrendous season of derbies against the Millers.

And that, after a few weeks of positive performances, is a major blow of a night that Rovers will need to ick themselves up from.

All over

And it was an awful long time ago. A 5-0 defeat for Rovers

89min GOAL Rotherham

Jamie Lindsay lashes in from a tight angle.

76min GOAL Rotherham

Dan Barlaser smashes home from the spot.

75min Penalty to Rotherham

And it never looked like a penalty in a million years as Joseph Olowu tackled Joshua Kayode

72min GOAL Rotherham

A superb finish from Chiedozie Ogbene extends the visitors’ lead.

Michael Smith brought a long ball down with his chest on the edge of the box and it was played across the box to Ogbene, who cut onto his left foot and curled in a beauty.

No way back now.

69min Wide

Ollie Rathbone drags a shot wide from the edge of the box.

64min Substitution

Reo Griffiths is on for his debut in place of Joe Dodoo

62min Decision making has been poor

As mentioned, Rovers are seeing more of the ball. But what they are doing with it when they take possession has been really poor. Some of the decisions on the ball have been awful and they’ve looked toothless.

Reo Griffiths is about to come on for his debut and hopefully change that.

60min Opening up a little bit

Rovers are now seeing a bit more of the ball in the Rotherham half. A bit more than nothing is still not a lot but there are a few signs that the game is opening up.

53min An effort

Mipo Odubeko gets Rovers’ first real attempt away but sees it blocked before Ben Jackson lashes his follow up well wide.

8.49pm Back underway

JPI

takes the kick-off and we’re back up and running

Double substitution

Ben Jackson and Ethan Galbraith are on for Branden Horton and Adam Clayton.

Just not in it

This has been an incredibly difficult evening so far for Rovers and it is not looking like getting much better.

They’ve not laid a glove on their visitors, who are so incredibly well organised both in and out of possession.

It’s always likely to be tough against one of the division’s best sides but Rovers have done themselves few favours. They’ve been really poor on the ball and they look incredibly nervous off it.

It’s a long way back in this one.

8.33pm That’s the break

JPI

And Rovers trail 2-0 to their neighbours

8.31pm Added time

ONE minute

37min Shout for handball

And it certainly seemed to come off Tommy Rowe’s arm as he tried to block a cross. The veteran suggested it struck him in the face however...

36min Big chance

Rotherham find space down the right and Michael Smith flashes a low ball across the box. Mikel Miller looks favourite to meet it at the far post but Charlie Seaman gets in just ahead of him and pokes it out for a corner.

31min Yellow card

Ollie Younger, Doncaster Rovers

20min Just cannot sustain possession

Rovers have really struggled to keep the ball in the opposition half and it just means that the pressure is immense and very difficult to ease.

They’ve not got going at all yet.

16min GOAL Rotherham

And it is 2-0 now as Ben Wiles slots into the bottom corner.

Rovers looked to have cleared their lines but Branden Horton conceded possession cheaply and Rotherham were back on the front foot. Chiedozie Ogbene got in behind and cut a pass back from the byline for Wiles to finish.

Rovers were absolutely carved open.

12min Should be 2-0

Chiedozie Ogbene comfortably beats Branden Horton for pace and floats in a tantilising cross which Michael Smith is millimetres away from connecting with.

Rovers struggling to get a grip in this game.

7min GOAL Rotherham

A corner kick from Mickel Miller goes straight in to put the visitors in front.

No decisiveness from the goalkeeper or his defence.

Not the start Rovers wanted at all.

3min Great save

Jonathan Mitchell acrobatically tips wide a 20 yarder from Ollie Rathbone. Excellent first taste of action for the debutant.

7.46pm Underway

JPI

Ben Wiles takes the kick-off for the Millers

The team is in

JPI

And it’s THREE changes from the side that started against Plymouth on Saturday.

The big one is the change between the sticks as Louis Jones drops out with Jonathan Mitchell coming in for his Rovers debut.

There is a full debut too for Adam Clayton while Charlie Seaman also comes into the side. Dropping out are Ethan Galbraith and Josh Martin.

And we understand there will be a change of system, with Gary McSheffrey opting for a back three.

And the visitors

No hiding from the challenge

Gary McSheffrey says tonight’s clash with neighbours Rotherham United will be as tough as it gets for Doncaster Rovers.

The Millers arrive at the Eco-Power Stadium sitting top of League One, having lost only five times this season.

McSheffrey is expecting a difficult night in his first derby as Rovers boss but is confident his side can cause their visitors problems based on recent performances.

“There’s some really tough games against some really good teams,” McSheffrey said.

“A half of football against Oxford was a tough one because of how relentless they are in what they do.

“And Rotherham are similar. It’s experienced managers who have been in there for a while.

“They are so well drilled in how they approach things and the game plan.

“It is going to be as tough as it gets, definitely.

“But it’s one that I expect our boys to be massively up for.

“With the way that we’ve played in the last few, we’ll be competing for every ball.

“I look forward to whatever game is put in front of us.

“There’ll be a good atmosphere.

“I know their staff and they’re a nice bunch of guys.

“It’ll be a great occasion.”

Excitement for the new boy

New signing Reo Griffiths is hopeful of making his Rovers bow this evening and is excited about the prospect of doing so in a derby.

The striker signed from Lyon on deadline day and is looking to hit the ground running in Rovers colours.

“It’ll be a big one for me if I can come in,” he said.

“There will be plenty in the stadium and it will be a great experience for me.

“Hopefully I can come in.”

Griffiths watched Rovers’ defeat to Plymouth Argyle at the weekend and admitted he was itching to get involved - particularly with the side creating so many chances in the first half.

He said: “There is no way we should be where we are at the minute. In that first half, we played really well and created a lot of chances.

“I was surprised by the number of chances created. We were dominant and should have been four or five goals up.

“I do like the way we play going forward.

“I literally could not stop moving in my chair.

“We just couldn’t put away the chances but that happens in football.

“Hopefully in the next one we can finish more effectively in those areas.”

A possible full debut for Clayton?

McSheffrey suggested there is a chance he could put in experienced midfielder Adam Clayton for his full Rovers debut tonight.

The 33-year-old made his first appearance off the bench late in Saturday’s defeat to Plymouth Argyle.

And while admitting the former Middlesbrough man would be shaking off rust on the pitch, McSheffrey did not rule out playing him from the start against the Millers.

“He potentially could be ready,” he said.

“How does someone get the game time to get up to speed in a busy month like this where you can’t have a reserve game.

“There’s a few we could potentially just throw into the deep end and hope their experience and knowledge will guide them through.

“There’s one or two decisions to be made for the starting XI.”

Team talk

Typically this season, writing this section of a matchday blog has not been a difficult task, simply because successive managers have had very few options from which to choose.

But following a productive January transfer window, McSheffrey finally has a decent hand to play with.

Rovers started Saturday’s game really well and there will be an element of not wanting to deviate from a formula that has worked pretty well - certainly in terms of creating chances.

But there is also a rampant opposition to worry about, and the various tests that Rotherham United will pose.

If Adam Clayton is fit enough to start, he may well get the nod in the deeper lying midfield role, looking to screen from direct balls into Michael Smith as well as starting counterattacks quickly when Rovers do win the ball back.

There may also be a temptation to stick in new boy Reo Griffiths. Mipo Odubeko did everything but score at the weekend and will only get sharper in front of goal.

The most likely change would see Ben Jackson in at left back in place of Branden Horton.

Teams will be confirmed an hour before kick-off.

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