Sunday Takeaway: Doncaster Rovers get the job done as they beat Carlisle United to book FA Cup third round spot
There are times, particularly in cup football, when you just do what you have to do to make it through a game.
And although at one point a fairly comfortable afternoon’s work looked to be on the cards for Doncaster Rovers, ultimately they did when they needed to in order to reach the third round of the FA Cup.
As has become their trademark, their trip to Carlisle United was a game of two halves in performance terms.
But unlike more recent fare, they were never particularly disappointing in either half.
In the opening period they handled a frenetic and robust opposition to establish a semblance of control and demonstrate their quality.
Two excellent finishes from captain Ben Whiteman after great build-up play gave them a deserved two goal advantage at the break.
By their very nature, Carlisle were never likely to roll over and accept their fate in the second 45 minutes.
And they never showed signs of doing so. The hosts made life very uncomfortable indeed for their visitors, particularly after Jon Mellish pulled a goal back to set up a tense finish.
But Rovers demonstrated good resolve and composure to keep Carlisle at bay and stand up to a type of physical test they are rarely faced with.
Despite much of the game being rather frantic, there was opportunity for further evolution of the Rovers side.
Plenty of focus has been put on the manner in which opposition teams target Whiteman and prevent him from dictating the play, with the attention rightly falling on others in the side to take up the mantle.
Both Matt Smith and Taylor Richards both attempted to do just that, particularly in the first half when they showed very good close control and movement of the ball to keep Rovers on the front foot.
And Whiteman took the opportunity himself to demonstrate that if you are going to track him, you need to do so at all times and he arrived late to put away two very good efforts.
It was not perfect from Rovers, but ultimately it did not need to be.
And the job of securing a place in the third round was ticked off.