Rovers took on Crawley in a game of firsts, as seven players made their home league debuts in the first fourth tier match to be played at the Keepmoat.
Initial impressions of the debutants were mixed, particularly as Rovers’ mounting injury list left a few players out of their ideal position with Darren Ferguson again employing his preferred 5-3-2 formation.
After some encouraging efforts from both sides, the first clear sign this might not be Rovers’ day came in the eleventh minute when a miss-kick from Ross Etheridge nearly gifted Crawley an opener; the defence cleared and Andy Williams almost managed a successful counter attack, but was dispossessed on the edge of the area.
Fifteen minutes later Doncaster were less fortunate as scrappy defending let Crawley in, and James Collins was able to tap in his first goal for the club. At half-time, a number of the home fans expressed their frustration with a disappointing first half.
The second half began with the game’s first substitution – Tyler Garratt replacing Joe Wright – and Rovers found a new energy which, on 49 minutes paid off. Matty Blair delivered one of the host’s thirteen corners of the game, and James Coppinger’s first touch was enough bring the home team back on level terms.
Despite continued efforts Doncaster were unable to find a second goal – but at least for the first time this season they avoided conceding a winner in injury time – thus earning their first point of the campaign.
by Rob Waugh