However, as kick-off approached Ryan Fraser must have thought he was back in Aberdeen as a haar rolled in from the car park end and basically stayed throughout the match.
Eddie bought in Allsop for his first start, restored Pitman and to the starting line-up and gave McDonald a start in place of Hughes. McDonald looked a bit rusty to start with but worked his way into the game, without necessarily shining with quick, incisive passing. Similarly, Cherries worked hard throughout the match but the passing wasn’t quite up to scratch on many occasions
Cherries played towards the car park/large empty space end and within minutes Pitman had headed a Pugh cross into one of the few positions veteran keeper could have saved. From the resultant corner and melee, Cook headed onto the crossbar and Seaborne headed over. Less than five minutes in and your reporter was already wondering if we would rue not going ahead and forcing Rovers onto the offensive.
As we have become used to in recent weeks, Rovers had some big lumps at the back and up front they had a lot of possession but Cherries created a steady procession of chances, Seaborne and Grabban had headers saved, Grabban and Pitman had long range efforts, Pitman’s was tipped round for a corner and before half-time, a teasing Ritchie cross was poked just wide of his own goal by McCombe.
As the second half got under way, Pugh earned a free kick and Pitman put his shot just wide, Doncaster had a long range effort and then a breakaway which earned them a corner, Pugh earned another free-kick on the Doncaster bye-line which O’Kane then put wide.
As the chances came and went your reporter just knew that when Doncaster created a decent chance they would score and sure enough a break down the right flank saw PAYNTER first to the near post to turn the ball home.
Grabban’s disappointing afternoon continued when put clean through, his low shot was turned round the post by Sullivan..
Fraser came on for the ineffective McQuoid, Tubbs replaced the disappointing Grabban and the final throw of the dice was the introduction of Supa for the tiring McDonald . I find it somewhat embarrassing that we bring on a 40 year old ‘wardrobe’ but it was Fletch who flicked a header on for TUBBS to react smartly and lob Sullivan and put Cherries back on terms.
It’s not often that Tubbs comes on late and doesn’t get a good opportunity to score. He’s blown afew excellent chances but it was pleasing to see him take this with aplomb
Unfortunately any thoughts of an unlikely victory or even a rescued point were thwarted immediately when Francis gave the ball away on the half-way line. Husband had previously served notice of his ability to get forward very rapidly down the left flank and found himself in acres of space but his team-mate’s over-hit pass completely wasted a golden opportunity.
This time O’Kane was first in the race to the loose ball but ended up on the deck, no foul was given and HUSBAND took the ball to the bye line where his close-range cross ended back at his feet, courtesy of Francis’ despairing attempt to clear and he side-footed home from a tight angle.
Cherries still had time to hit the post via a Pitman header and not get the nod on what many thought was a clear handball as Pugh shot at goal.
Doncaster’s was a competent but determined performance, at the low end of what you would expect to see from a top of the table team. Ours was exactly what you would expect to see from a team low on confidence and lacking in power, pace and anyone who looks seriously interested and capable of putting the ball in the back of the net.
Brett Pitman, worked hard, on another day would have had two goals. The rest didn't really want it.
AFCB: Allsop, Francis, Cook, Seabourne, Ritchie, McQuoid, O'Kane, MacDonald, Pugh, Pitman, Grabban
Subs: Jalal, Partington, Fogden, Hughes, Fraser (for McQuoid, 71 mins), Fletcher (for MacDonald, 78 mins), Tubbs (for Grabban, 78 mins)
Gordon Buchan, Yateley