Richie Wellens returned to the Keepmoat in a managerial capacity and his Oldham Athletic side boasted a refreshingly attacking outlook, resulting in an expansive and compelling first half.
The half-time score certainly didn’t reflect the quality of the opening 45 minutes with Andy Butler producing a miraculous goal-line clearance and Alfie May fluffing his lines at the other end to keep the game goalless at the break.
The second half was to be a different affair however with both sides adopting a ‘no nonsense’ approach. ‘Nonsense’ here meaning controlling the ball, passing along the floor or shooting towards goal. When the goal did come it was fitting that it should arrive from the head of Butler, the game’s best player. Butler met a sumptuous Alfie Beestin free kick with the force of a thousand suns – almost shattering the crossbar in the process.
The game opened up following the goal but neither side were able to produce any real moments of quality. Oldham eventually found their equaliser when a hopeful punt into the box was headed into the path of Eoin Doyle who couldn’t miss.
If we are classing a ‘late’ goal as anything past 85 minutes (and we are) then that is the seventh ‘late’ goal’ Rovers have conceded this season, resulting in a loss of 11 points. Had Darren Ferguson’s men managed to cling on in those games we would now be sat in eighth, just outside the playoffs. Brings a new meaning to the idea of ‘Fergie time’.
By Rob Johnson