Picture yourself in a seaside arcade. At the front are the grabbers, which snap frantically at thin air and seldom wield results. In the middle is the boxing machine that gets repeatedly thrashed and at the back are the coin pushing machines which always look like they’re going to pay out, but never do. That is the evolution of Doncaster Rover’s season so far.
At the Priestfield Stadium we had a lot of coins in play. Ethan Galbraith proved an effective playmaker with bags of energy and a shrewd ability to etch out space and spread the play. Willing wingbacks in Tommy Rowe and Kyle Knoyle proved useful, while Joe Dodoo and Jordy Hiwula showed good intent. But, alas, as much as we pushed at the Gillingham backline, nothing dropped, and there were no more pennies to add to the meagre six that we have collected so far this season.
Part of that is down to the same old problems. There were mistakes galore, sloppiness in abundance and, probably understandably, a lack of killer instinct. All too often a good move in midfield ended in a wayward cross or misplaced pass. The opportunities we did have were squandered far too easily.
Coming into this game Richie Wellens said the forthcoming fixtures – five of which are against the other six sides that make up the bottom seven – are must-wins. Quite how many more pennies we put in the machine before walking away is anyone’s guess. I give it until Christmas.
by Jack Peat