This week takes us back to 1996 and Rovers are in the promotion hunt as the season nears its business end. A bit of a wobble from the start of Feb sees Rovers likely to drop out of the race, though this crucial win at Hartlepool keeps us in contention…. for a while. 1 win from the next 12 means we missed out, as was usually the case during the 90’s.
Still worth a look as this clip provides a glimpse of Gary Brabin wading around midfield, Graeme Jones up front and a great ‘tackle’ from ‘keeper Perry Suckling.
The highlights revolve around Colin Cramb, with the scot rattling the woodwork before typically ‘winning’ the penalty, which he then converts, to win the game 1-0. It is great to see Cramby in action again.
Laurie Sheffield joined the Rovers in the summer of 1965 having already established himself as a goal scorer during a three year stay at Newport County where he had broken the post war goal scoring record, scoring 27 goals during the 1964/65 season and in total scored 46 in 91 appearances for County.
His arrival at Belle Vue saw him team up with Alick Jeffrey in what is still one of Rovers’ most deadly strike forces. Laurie’s impact was immediate, making his debut against Lincoln City at Belle Vue on the opening day of the season; he scored twice as Rovers won 4-0.
Sheffield was outstanding all season and constantly among the goals with him and Jeffrey scoring a missive 50 league goals between them, with Laurie claiming the lion’s share of 28 to finish as the clubs leading goal scorer. His goals fired the team to the top places in division four, and in a close run in, the Rovers clinched the championship and promotion.
The following season started brightly until the tragic car accident that took the life of defender John Nicholson shook the club. The team began to struggle for results but Laurie still continued to find the net regularly and I came as a great surprise to everyone when he joined Norwich in November 1966 for a fee of £12,000. It caused uproar among Rovers fans who were angry at seeing one of the clubs most prized possessions depart, especially as he had already scored 14 goals that season, in just 21 appearances.
He notched a hat trick for Norwich on his debut and was a regular name on the score sheet for them, as he was during spells with Rotherham Oldham and Luton before return to Belle Vue in October 1969. Again his impact was immediate, scoring in a 3-1 at Walsall. Injury disrupted his second spell however and he was only able to make 17 starts for the club but still scored 7 goals before ending his career at Peterborough United.
Not the biggest of forwards, he was still excellent in the air and a strong leader of the front line, he was a talented footballer with good vision and awareness of others around him. A genuine goal scorer, he managed 48 goals in 85 games for the club and is still, rightly considered to be one of the clubs finest ever players.
This is a great Doncaster Rovers video all the way from Nov 1980 featuring Billy Bremner, immacualte tracksuits, a terrific green away kit (I miss a green away shirt) and a terrible pitch. It is a proper FA Cup 1st round affair from the 80’s.
Rovers beat the non league side to go through to the second round and a 2-1 win at home to Blackpool before the run was ended in the 3rd round at Hull. We got promotion from Division Four that year though, thanks to a very talented and youthful side. Here is a glimpse of them from that year, Rovers goals coming from Dowd and Lally.
Before I start, I have spent ages trawling through t’web and old VHS tapes and turned up loads of great Rovers vids. It’s my plan to publish one on here every week, so keep an eye out or subscribe to the site to see when a new one goes up.
I spent ages trying to find this. I remember this game very well as it was one of the rare occassions that we featured on YTV’s ‘Goals on Sunday’ and, even more rare, we won 4-0. I reckon I have it taped on Beta Max somewhere in a corner of my parents loft but had resigned myself to never seeing it again… Until i stumbled across the game on youtube. No comms so we have to do without John Helm, but nevertheless it is glorious. Goals from Eddie Gormley (the last one is great), Grant Morrow and probably the best of the lot from Rufus Brevett. Loads of Rovers legends from Duggie to Ashurst, Ranks to Rufus and Sammy to Turny… Enjoy.
Rovers that day lined up : 1. Samways, 2. Rankine, 3. Brevett, 4. Ashurst, 5.Ormsby, 6.Douglas, 7.Turnbull, 8.Gormley, 9. Harle, 10. Morrow, 11. Noteman. Subs: 12, Grayson, 14. Adams.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the National Football Museum in Manchester. Whilst scouring for Rovers items of interest I chanced on the Museums audio feature and found worked my way through the Rovers section. Listening to the commentary sent me right back to some of the greatest moments of the recent past of Doncaster Rovers FC. The one from the League Cup tie against Villa in particular catapulted me straight back to the wooden seats of Belle Vue’s main stand. I caught a sniff of Bovril and felt my feet turn to blocks of Ice and I was once again witnessing Sean Thornton’s strike arc into the net for Rovers third.
I’ve added to the list myself, but here they are for you to enjoy.
Dag v rovers Conf po final – Sir Francis Tierney sends Doncaster Rovers back into the Football League in 2003.
Rovers v Villa League Cup Nov 2005 – Sean Thornton buries Villa with Rovers third goal.
Doncaster Rovers v Bristol R JPT final – Skipper Graeme Lee heads home in extra time
Doncaster Rovers v Leeds PO Final – James Hayter scores the only goal at Wembley in 2008 to send Rovers into the Championship
Brentford v Doncaster Rovers League 1 – Incredible end to the game at Brentford in April 2013 as Rovers go from third place to Champions in seconds
Doncaster Rovers v Bristol Rovers – JPT Final 2007– (YouTube video at bottom of page)
April 1st 2007 saw the club play its first major cup final in its long history, and 18,000 Doncaster Rovers fans made the trip to Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium for the Football League Trophy final against Belle Vue. Rovers were favourites going into the game, playing in the League above their opponents, but Bristol Rovers were going well in league two and had yet to concede a goal in the competition, had beaten some good sides to take their place in the final.
Rovers were given a massive boost before kick off when forward Jason Price and top scorer Paul Heffernan were passed fit to play, with Heffernan having been absent for the previous seven games with an ankle injury. Heffernan was the clubs top marksman and had been the hero of the two legged semi-final, scoring four goals as Rovers edged past Crewe in a nail biting match up and the Irishman’s inclusion served as a huge lift for all.
The Cardiff pitch was bathed in sun on a crisp Sunday afternoon with half of its imposing and impressive stadium bathed in red and white and both teams were keen to get off to a good start and inside the first minute, Price fizzed the ball in towards Heffernan in the box. He challenged two defenders and got a foot to the ball just before keeper Phillips and then ball spun straight to Jonathan Forte who had the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net. It was a dream start to the final, and just what manager Sean O’Driscoll would have wanted to settle his team down, but within minutes, things would get even better.
The Rovers fans were still celebrating the opening goal when Rovers keeper Neil Sullivan sent a long goal kick down field. Heffernan was alive to it, as the ball bounced over the Bristol Rovers back four Heffernan latched onto the loose ball before firing home a superb left footed down into the far corner of the net for his 21st goal of the season. The watching Rovers fans could hardly believe what they were seeing as their team cruised to a 2 goal advantage.
The game then started to settle down and a shell shocked Bristol Rovers managed to get hold of the ball and attempt to play their way back into the game. Midfielder Lewis Haldane test Neil Sullivan with an angled drive, but the Rovers keeper made a comfortable save and neither team looked likely to add to the scoring as the half drew to a close.
Bristol Rovers started the second half brightly, looking for an early goal of their own to drag them back into the game and within 4 minutes of the re start they did just that. Walker whipped a low cross in from the left hand side and Rovers defender Sean McDaid stepped across midfielder Sammy Igoe to let the ball run to safety, but in doing so the referee adjudged he had fouled the Bristol Rovers man and Walker placed the penalty past Sullivan.
Heffernan had a snap shot from a James Coppinger pass blocked as Rovers looked to restore their advantage and the game started to open up. However, just beyond the hour mark, Igoe latched onto the ball 7 yards from goal following good work down the left and swept the ball home to level the scores.
The momentum now with them, Bristol Rovers charged forward in search of a winner with Haldane and Walker both going close before Rovers went close themselves with Skipper Graeme Lee having a shot blocked on the line, with Brian Stock firing the rebound wide. Paul Green went close with a late header before Paul Heffernan shot wide with a chance to win the game in the final minute. It was a breath taking end to the ninety minutes as the game spilled into 30 minutes extra time.
Steve Elliott headed the first chance of the extra period straight at Sullivan and Green went close at the other end as Rovers began to look the most likely. With only 10 minutes remaining, Lee found room in the six yard box to nod home the winner from a Sean Thornton corner as the Doncaster fans erupted once more. The side held out, and Lee himself held the trophy aloft amid a backdrop of fireworks and fantastic celebrations.
With another FA cup journey about to begin this week, I dug out some old footage of one from the past. I found our ‘Match of the Day’ debut from 1999 when the BBC cameras got us all excited by turning up to feature our first round tie with Halifax Town.
Watch out for a shocking miss from Mike Newell (that phrase became all too common), delightful views of a 5,000 strong Belle Vue crowd and a host of familiar players, including Jamie Paterson, Steve Gaughan and Lee Butler who were in the visitors side.
Just to make it more authentic, I used some really clever editing techniques to make the footage look and sound like it is on an old vhs tape being shown on an old telly…
Doncaster Rovers FA Cup 1st Round, 30th October 1999 vs Halifax Town.