Rovers pitched up at Valley Parade having not taken three points at any ground in Yorkshire, other than the Keepmoat, since 2014.
Tom Anderson replaced Paul Downing, but though Rovers’ starting eleven was otherwise unchanged it lacked the spark of previous games, beyond a few half-efforts. Instead itt was the defence, particularly the ever-reliable Matty Blair, who were most impressive during the first half.
Rovers’ only other contribution of note during this spell was a clash which brought a booking for John Marquis, and subsequently a nervy sixty minutes of waiting to see if he would collect a second and, with it, a suspension.
The second half started a little more energetically, mostly on the part of the home team, whose early performance belied their league position, but as the game progressed, Rovers started to join in. Malik Wilks – contained well by City’s defence – had been having an uncharacteristically quiet game, but when he broke on 73 minutes to take the visitors’ only shot on target of the match, the travelling fans finally had something to celebrate.
The goal aside, there was minimal entertainment – lengthy treatments and needless antagonism from Marquis and City’s Eoin Doyle broke up a game of few good chances, and there was little inside the stadium to match the excitement of seeing Rob Jones outside Tesco before kick-off.
The three points, though welcome, were more than Rovers deserved, and performances will need to improve if the season is to have a happy ending.
by Rob Waugh