Monthly Archives: October 2016

Blackpool 4 -2 Doncaster Rovers tactical review

Never mind Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher et al on Monday night football.  Here is a proper breakdown of what went wrong (four times!) in Doncaster Rovers defending during Saturdays defeat at Blackpool.  Even got pictures and all that technical stuff like on the telly..

First Goal against.

doncaster-rovers-v-blackpool-2Slide 1. free kick just awarded to Blackpool.  3 of the back 4 visible, look in decent position.  All 5 Rovers midfielders in shot, all within 20 yards of each other, none of them are picking anyone up.

Slide 2.  Free Kick taken, none of the midfield have moved, still no one picked up. Back line still looks ok.

Slide 3.  This reveals that Blair, like the 5 others in front of him is both fast asleep and also 10 yards out of position and can only look on as Blackpool forward runs into the gap he has left. Look how far he is away from Butler, especially as there is a forward who should be being picked up.

Slide 4. Butler can’t get across, others still yards out of position can’t recover. Goal.  Midfield asleep, defence gets it terribly wrong.

Goal Two


Slide 1. Ball about to be delivered, decent defensive shape.

Slide 2. Ball in, Butler spare, 2 Blackpool players marked.

Slide 3.  Clear it’s too high, Evina reacts to deal with cross. No pressure.

Slide 4.  Evina in position to clear, no opponent even in shot at this point, nowhere near Evina who could deal with this in his sleep.

Slide 5. Ball bouncing. Opposition full back now approaching but 3 yards behind Evina who will smash it away easily.  Cedric has so much time he begins to think about what baseball cap would go best with the away shirt.

Slide 6. Evina will smash it away, any second now.  He’s still a yard infront of his man… wait, no not again!?!

Slide 7.  “What was I doing again. Oh yeah, baseball hats”, Cedric watches on admiringly as the Blackpool man lobs the ball towards goal.

Slide 8. S**t.

Third Goal



Slide 1.  Free kick, in excess of 25 yeards out.  4 man wall set up, evina in position to close down shot.

Slide 2. Ball rolling, Evina out. Wall in good shape.

Slide 3.  Look at the position of the goalkeeper.  Inexplicably, having set the wall up he has taken up a terrible position basically behind the wall, leaving his left hand corner massively exposed.

Slide 4.  Goal.  Even full length dive only gets to within 2 foot of left hand post, ball smashed through gap.  This is pretty basic which you would expect the keeper to set up and deal with properly.  Good hit but should be a simple save.

Fourth Goal


Slide 1. Back four in different post codes, Butler decides to get as deep as possible.  Must have a cunning plan to allow the forward to run unchallenged to the edge of the box before he intervenes.

Slide 2. Butler still retreats but now appears to try to deal with onrushing striker as though he were a small flightless bird and tries to usher him away from goal.

Slide 3. “Shoo! Go on, away!”.

Slide 4.  Oh well, it’s more or less straight at the keeper, look.

Slide 5. S**t

Do you see anything I’ve missed?  Agree, Disagree, let me know…  More tactical review next time there’s a defensive disaster… See you again next week.


Rovers Diary Archive


Selection of the Diary Archive:


Doncaster Rovers league tableHmm. Never do things the easy way, that should be on the club badge somewhere. 3-0 up at half time at Stevenage (Butler, Mandeville and a cracker from Blair) and cruising. But we knew, we all knew it is never plain sailing. Cue some poor defensive lapses allowing the home side back in. A Marquis header (given as an own goal following a ricochet of a post then a keeper on its way in) made things a bit easier but once again we let them back in. Only difference to what history might suggest would’ve been, is that we held on and won. 4-3, maybe it’s a good sign that we still won the game… and a win is a win. Top of the league. Highlights below..

27th November 2016

Better, much better. We should’ve been ahead already by the time Orient went in front thanks to a thunderous 30 yard free kick. I questioned at the time, the starting position of Rovers keeper Marko Marosi which allowed the ball to travel all that way past him, and seeing it again on the telly still leaves a nagging doubt but maybe I’m just overly critical…

Jordan Houghton’s goal just before half time settled everyone down and meant the sides went into the break level. The least we had deserved, despite some ponderous build up play (we really do need to move the ball through midfield quicker) we fully deserved the goal having hit the bar 3 times in the opening 45minutes.

The second half was better, and a very poor Orient back four which struggled with a lack of pace were exposed on a number of occasions, not least the two runs into their box which led to penalty awards for the Rovers, both expertly converted by Liam Mandeville, who to his credit looks to have done enough to keep his place in theside, despite the returning fitness of Andy Williams.

Coppinger was again at the heart of most things which were of real quality, Butler and Baudry dealt with most things well and Craig Alcock looked like a proper full back (the first such exponent this season). Rovers 3 – 1 Leyton Orient.  

15th November 2016

Out the FA Cup again, away at Oldham, again. The highlights from the game look like a blooper reel from a “Danny Bakers Crap defending” VHS. All our highlights need is some strategically placed sound effects and a laughter track and we could have the number 1 selling DVD this Christmas.
Still, i fondly remember a spell during the early 90’s when we didn’t win a single FA Cup tie for 9 years. This sort of thing is depressingly normal.

20th November 2016

Injuries to ‘Keepers, dodgy penalties, a Coppinger assist, a late winner… Its all getting nicely familiar this.  Rovers beat Hartlepool 2-1, deservedly so, but allowing them back into it needed another late winner.  Mandeville and Marquis both developing a pleasing habit of finding the net.

30th October 2016

Doncaster rovers v Wycombe2-2 draw with Wycombe. Good first half, fought back from 1-0 down thanks to an error from re installed keeper Ross Etheridge to lead 2-1 with Marquis scoring the kind of goal Messi thinks about in idle hours. Finished 2-2 thanks to another keeper error. Why do things the easy way?

24th October 2016

"I know I'm supposed to do something...?"

“I know I’m supposed to do something…?”

Ferguson tells reporter Liam Hoden “One or two of them, I keep giving them chances but enough is enough” with the only surprise being he has narrowed it down to only 2 – presumably the players will draw lots to see who is dropped this week, along with Cedric “what’s that round thing” Evina.  Playing without full back every week is becoming very tiresome.


22nd October 2016

blackpool badgeHaving spent all week encouraging young striker Liam Mandeville to step up and take his chance, manager Darren Ferguson proceeded to drop him for the next game against Blackpool.  Rovers were once again crap, went 1-0 up after a few seconds via an own goal and then played with the kind of speed of thought and defensive nouse you would expect to see on a primary school playground.  Interesting enough, because of the own goal, we went into the second half having scored, but without a having a single shot on goal.  Tommy Rowe scored a penalty, then missed one (4 missed this season by 3 different players) and we got beat 4-2.


18th October 2016

liam mandeville doncaster roversDarren Ferguson is in the press today encouraging 19 year old Liam Mandeville to step up and take his opportunity given Andy Williams is out for at least 2 months.  This appears manager speak for “I’ve got nothing else to suggest? lets cross our fingers”.  Mandeville has showed promise and application recently, but also he has displayed he is badly lacking in experience.  There appears to be a lot of pressure headed for those young shoulders.  Saturday showed some inexperience by a making a number of first half forays into offside territory, the regularity of which hasn’t been seen Prince Moncrieffe donned a Rovers shirt.  Second half he didn’t – he was too knackered to get past the last man.  Lets hope he comes good, he was neat on the ball and offered enough to be encouraged.

15th October 2016

Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Colchester.  Wow, how that happened I will never know.  Rovers had all the possession but offered precious little in advance of the middle third.  Vulnerable every time the ball entered our own box the visitors could have been out of sight before we stumbled to a breakthrough with the only piece of quality on offer all game.

The most alarming thing of the afternoon was that in order to turn around his teams fortunes, Darren Ferguson opted to introduce Ricardo Calder to the action.  I can only assume Calder is mesmerising day in, day out during training as there must be a reason he is still in a Rovers shirt.  Usual match day service resumed as his introduction was so spectacularly incompetent it invited further trouble onto an already shaky back four.  Mental note, when your left back is already suspect, don’t put a man who appears to be running through treacle in front of him and then appear surprised that the opposition begin to drive a bus through the freely acquired space.  How we won is anyones guess.  Refreshing and a nice change, but still astonishing.


5th May 2016

Perfect finish to the season with a crap performance at home, live on Sky, to promoted Burton (who will struggle badly next year based on today). My Dad summed it up perfectly “I taped the game too, but when I get home I think I’ll just rub it off”. Once was enough.

3rd May 2016

Doncaster rovers v leicester cityLeicester are the Champions of England. A great story which will rightly be told for years to come. Somewhat apt that exactly 2 years ago today we stood shoulder to shoulder with the foxes. Both Championship sides we stood off on the final day of the season in 2014. Leicester won 1-0, got promoted to the premier league and we went down to league one. Now two years on, Leicester are the number one side in the country, we are in the countries bottom league. Two short years ago we were peers, now we couldn’t be further away.

30th April 2016

FullSizeRenderThat’s that then. I’m more annoyed with myself really for starting to think things might be different and we might still have a chance.
1-0 up against Crewe, the 2016 vintage showed its true colours to slump to a comedic, incompetent 3-1 defeat.  Cedric Evina got the ball rolling with a “charlton away esque” lesson in how not deal with a cross in your own 6 yard box, and things got worse from there on in.

“We’ve lost too many games. But I see a clear pattern. If I was to be asked ‘why?’, I think I’ve got a very clear idea of why and I have to fix it.”
Was the managers reaction. Presumably the ‘why’ being because the manager and players have been utter sh*te.  Not sure that’s exactly what his thoughts are, or that he knows what to do about it.  League 2 then, barring a 12 goal swing and a win against Burton on Saturday. League 2 it is then.

24th April 2016

Another win! 2-0 against Coventry. Much improved performance and a deserved win.  Tommy Rowe excellent again as Rovers start to show some signs they are a team. 3 points behind, 6 to play for and the next game is at already relegated Crewe…
Ferguson told the free press:
“We thoroughly deserved the win. We’ve just got to maintain it now against Crewe and Burton.
“As a team we’ve got a bit of momentum now. You can see the belief.

Against my better judgement, I’m allowing an air of optimism to circulate my thoughts. I know it’s a mistake.

19th April 2016

img_3413 First time in months and months I actually felt a pang of excited optimism about the Rovers, as my phone sent a joyous notification that Tommy Rowe had bundled us in front at Chesterfield. ‘it’s back on.. is it? Yes it is.. well, wait what??’ I tried desperately to convince myself. By the time I had decided that it was, it wasn’t anymore. Some less than decisive goalkeeping allowed Ariyibi to equalise for the Spireites 12 minutes later, and despite chances falling to Butler, Coppinger and (a by all accounts an almost customary glaring miss from) Williams it ended 1-1. The gap is now 5 points with 9 to play for. Ferguson tells the press it was ‘a lost opportunity’ and that we ‘have a chance, maybe not a good chance, but we’ve got a chance’. I’ve got a lottery ticket for Wednesday night’s draw, I think my odds are better.

16th April 2016

Just when you think you know about life’s constants, taxes, the sky being blue, grass being green etc, something happens that throws everything into doubt. Today was just such an occasion as Doncaster Rovers won a game. Not just a game, but a game against the league leading, form table topping Wigan Athletic. All after going behind and actually scoring 3 (three) goals in the process (that’s 3 in one game, not the total for the month).

Much improved and much deserved was the general consensus following thedays frivolities at the Keepmoat, where, to fit in with the other incredible feats, Andy Williams found the back of the net (his first goal in 16 games) to add further optimism to proceedings. The win (still feels odd to type that) means that we are now 6 points behind with 12 to play for. Still a big ask, but you never know.

9th April 2016
“Whatever happens errm, I…I…I’m gonna be…sort of…convinced…that..I’ll get this right” was the battle cry from Darren Ferguson following the sides defeat at Bury.

For what it’s worth Darren, I’m about as convinced as you are at the moment.
Wednesday 6th April 2016

IMG_2445Same old story at Spotland during the first half as Rovers conceded what was one of the softest and most bizarre goals of the season. Remi Matthews seemed to forget he was in goal during a game of football and seemed to see something sparkly in the crowd which merited closer attention. By the time he came round he was almost off the pitch but recovered just in time to see a suspicious looking Rochdale forward roll the ball into a unguarded net.
Crazy scenes then erupted as the Rovers scored, and unbelievably then scored again! Two goals in one game at Rochdale allowed a brief departure from recent travails, though the surprising upturn in fortune didn’t last as 10 man Rovers conceded an equaliser deep into stoppage time. The goal was a scruffy, frantic mess of thing but worryingly there appeared too many blue shirts left to their own devices in the Rovers six yard box. Anyway, everything points to a much improved performance from the Rovers, with a modicum of pride and spirit creeping into the display and the start of a new, unbeaten run – 1 game without defeat. From little acorns and all that.

Manager Darren Ferguson couldn’t help but bemoan events leading to the finale as defender Craig Alcock had been sent off somewhat harshly for a second yellow, prompting the Rovers boss to angrily remonstrate with anyone who would listen, and a couple of people who wouldn’t. The decision undoubtedly made the last seconds of the game more difficult than they might’ve been, but hopefully Ferguson’s rant may serve to galvanise some spirit among his charges for the remaining games.

Friday April 1st 2016

Doncaster Rovers Doncaster Free PressEnjoyed the BBC sport ‘April fools’ joke for an hour or so this morning, before I realised it was actually the genuine League One table.

The aftermath of an embarrassing Easter weekend has hung around for most of the week with manager Darren Ferguson insisting to the Free Press that he is the right man for a “long term project”.  Ferguson doesn’t provide any specifics as to the details, so having seen his side play recently, I can only assume he is volunteering to take on the lengthy task of painting my house.  I’m happy for him to provide me a quote, though only if his competence with gloss and masking tape is greater than with a piece of chalk and a tactics board.  It may be his best chance of paid employment come the summer.

Further blow to Rovers hopes this year is reported in the news that midfield shadow boxer Paul Keegan is likely to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.  Unfortunate, though if the Irishman represents our best hope of getting out of this then we might as well call it a day now and save everyone from further inconvenience.

Gary McSheffrey blasted the quality of his hotel during his loan spell here by telling the local press “clean sheets are a priority” whilst new goalkeeper Remi Matthews has told of his surprise that the Rovers are struggling at the wrong end of the table.  I presume by the time he picked the ball out of his net for the fourth time against Colchester he had a better understanding of who, what, why and when.

On a happier note, I did secure tickets to the ‘Evening with Peter Kitchen‘ event the supporters club have arranged for mid April.  It promises to be a good evening, get your tickets via the link below.

The build up to Saturdays game at Rochdale gently mentioned that Rovers last 12 games represent the clubs worst ever run of form (1 point from 36) and by contrast Rochdale have won six out of their last eight games.  Things may well get worse before they get better.

Peter Kitchen Event

Tom Keetley

Tom Keetley Doncaster roversOne of twelve brothers, four of which played for the club during the 1920’s, Tom Keetley joined the Rovers from Bradford Park Avenue in 1923.  He went on to become one of the most significant names in the history of Doncaster Rovers.  He spent six seasons at Belle Vue and scored more than 20 goals every term, and in the process installed himself as Rovers all-time leading goal scorer with an incredible 180 goals.

During the 1926-27 season, Keetley bagged an amazing 36 league goals in 36 games, an incredible scoring record over the course of a season that never looked like being surpassed.  That was however until two years later when in 1929 Keetley finished top of the scoring charts with 40 league goals on just 32 matches, including an outstanding performance in a match at Ashington when he scored 6 of the Rovers goals in a 7-4 victory.

He was a legend whilst at Rovers, so it is understandable that consternation resounded around Belle Vue in October 1928 when he was placed on the transfer list at his own request, having had a disagreement with the board over the terms of his benefit.  Eventually however the dispute was resolved with the club guaranteeing a sum from a match to be played against Hearts.

Evidently however, the problems with the board was never totally resolved and the following summer Keetley declined to re-sign for the club, instead preferring to move back to Derbyshire to be closer to his business interests there.   The fee the club received from second division Notts County went towards offsetting the loss the club had accrued the following season, however the loss of Keetley’s goals would have left a bigger void in any team than the one on the balance sheet.

The goals continued to flow at his new club, where he still holds the club record for goals scored in a single season with 39 and he scored a total of 94 goals in 103 games for Notts County, and when his career ended in 1934 following a brief spell with Lincoln City he had made a total of 330 league appearances, with yielded a return of 284 goals.

Keetley was a goal scorer the likes of which are seldom seen, his record in a Rovers shirt (185 goals in 241 appearances in competitions for the club) is unparalleled, with the biggest surprise of all being that Rovers never achieved promotion during his time at the club, despite his goals.  Quite simply Tom Keetley is the clubs greatest ever goal scorer.

Tom Keetley Doncaster Rovers (league and FA cup)

1923/24: 40 apps, 20 goals

1924/25: 45 apps, 27 goals

1925/26: 42 apps, 24 goals

1926/27: 38 apps, 37 goals

1927/28: 43 apps, 36 goals

1928/29: 33 apps, 41 goals