Blades Dumped at Donny
Saturday October 23rd.
Those Blades fans who weren`t at Rovers neat little stadium last night, no doubt watched the game on TV, so there is no need for a full match report.
In these days when virtually every game is tagged a 'derby` for some tenuous reason, the combination of a tea time kick off, live BBC TV coverage and John Ryan`s attempt to recover Billy Sharps transfer fee by charging £28 admission ensured that less than 9000 bothered to turn up.
United made their usual slow start, looking fearful of Donny`s swift pass and move game. The home team quickly established the pace and pattern of the game, carving out early chances and confidently shooting from distance. Coppinger shot across Simonsen into the far corner after Nosworthy and DeLaet got in a muddle just after the half hour, and the little fat boy from Sheffield added a second ten minutes later after a flowing move down United`s right forced Simmo to save low down, only managing to push it out to Billy boy hovering in the six yard box. Game over.
The yawning gap between the teams was there for all to see, starting with the management where Sean O`Driscolls tactics were obvious from minute one. Squeeze the game into areas of the pitch where Doncaster wanted to play, and where it was easier to control the game. O`Driscolls pre match comments were that United were 'Strong, Organised and Powerful` clearly they were none of these. Sam Ellis`s contribution was that Billy Sharp was sold because he didn`t score goals. Brilliant comment 24 hrs before the game, Sam.
Doncaster play as a unit. Players have a great understanding of each others game, partnerships are well established. On the ball, first touch is usually good and off the ball movement is quick and supportive. The noticeable difference this season is that they appear to be capable of mixing it up when they have to. Even new players coming into the team settle into the pattern and method easily and confidently. The key to their game is tempo. Free kicks, throw-ins and set pieces are all taken at speed. Compare this with United`s laborious, hesitant efforts. Rovers pace never allowed United to settle and organise themselves against their style of play.
It`s difficult to find the positives for United from this game. The usual 'we were better in the second half` justification is getting really irritating. Fact is that Rovers won the game in 40 minutes of the first half then shut United down with relative ease in the second. How many times were United`s forward (s) caught offside in the first half? Is the term 'Playing on the defenders shoulder` no longer in vogue?
Creswell`s awful form continued as he missed the one quality ball in the entire game with a header that was easier to score than miss. Jamie Ward added some much needed pace and movement in the second half , was clattered by Mills for a penalty that Keith Hill waved away, and Yeates despite rarely threatening the defence was always likely to be the one to provide a spark.
Once again, fantastic vocal support from the travelling Blades fans, by far and away the man of the match.