Football Blog: Tangerine Flavoured

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Then the wheels fell off: Doncaster Rovers vs the Mighty




The second half

When did it start being ok to charge people to watch something and also subject them to endless adverts? It's having cake and eating it if you ask me. So, after I've booked a train journey with LNER, ordered a crate of Carabao energy drink* and had Papa John's pizza delivered I'm ready to watch the game. Critchley is clearly reading online comments as Ethan Robson comes in for Grant 'he's not bad, but what exactly does he do?' Ward. On that note, I'm convinced this article where I didn't interview Neil Critchley was the catalyst for an upturn in form. Since I didn't meet Critch we've been unstoppable pretty much. 

*as if anyone orders Carabao online. Honestly. Have they sold a single crate of it by mail order, to anyone, anywhere? 

Tonight's game is a decent test of whether we're a steam roller, ready to destroy all in their path or not. It's years of following the Tangerine cause that makes me cautious, as improved as we've been, I simply can't help but imagine the steamroller breaking down, falling apart, sinking into quicksand or rolling down a hill, out of control with Critch and Mikey G running after it, just not quite able to catch it, whilst Colin Calderwood just shakes his head and looks severe. I just can't imagine us being consistently good even though I finished the last match on an absolute high. 

Donny are on my list of 'teams I don't mind' as we usually play quite well against them, they have kit no one else wears that makes them look like a rugby league team and they're not Rotherham. They appear to only have one CD in their PA system and it sounds as if it's one of three remaining copies of 'The Best Soft Rock Driving Album in the World! Volume 3' - the sort of thing teenage daughters bought their dads from Morrisons for a father's day gift in the early 2000s.  

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Pool start brilliantly, Madine finding Yates, who finds CJ, his cross is inches over Jerry, then it's pulled back for Sullay, who finishes the move off only for the linesman to flag for the ball going out of play. A terrible clearance then gives us a chance to attack, but neither CJ nor Dougall make best use of the ball and Donny go unpunished. 

Chissy gives us 'upsides' then 'big lancashire hotpot' in quick succession. 

Then it's a great moment as 'all fall down' from Chissy signals a penalty. Marvin has a good interception interception and feeds CJ who runs, stops dead to lose his man, gets the cross in and Madine goes down. Yates steps up and hits a penalty with the clinical manner of a russian sniper. All is good. We are good. This is what we want! 

Lumley then spills from a long free kick into the box and the ball bounces everywhere, Yates hammers it at goal but it rolls agonisingly wide and past Kaikai's outstretched foot that looked ready to turn it in. 

A Turton cross, a Kaikai freekick and a run the length of the pitch by the same player are highlights of a period where Pool have most of the game without really creating an obvious chance. I wonder why Robson goes and stands by Sullay when he's taking set pieces. It's fooling no one. Why doesn't he get in the box? 

Donny look quite nice when they get the ball and pass it up the pitch a few times, creating a moment of worry for Big Marv but little else aside. They look like a decent side, but in the opening stages, one that don't seem confident they can bring the game to us. 

Maxwell almost releases CJ with a very good goal kick. Turton does some really good defensive work as Doncaster almost get their left winger away. 

Madine wins a brilliant flick on but Donny clear - it only reaches the Viking, who drops his shoulder, charges forward and clatters it from forty yards. It's a great moment even if it's straight down the keeper's throat. Within 30 seconds Gretarsson is making a sliding challenge at the other end and his excellent work is rewarded with a Chissy monologue about Joe Garner, his voice seeming to waver with loss as he reveals that Garner has moved to India...

Pool get away with an Ekpiteta mistake, Dougall plays a beautiful first time ball from the edge of the box that causes real problems and from the resulting corner, Pool play three short passes before a cross which sees the Viking waste a free header. 

Yates tackles back, taking it off Coppinger and that starts a move that is initially great one touch passing, then Sullay, running, running, running and looking like he's taken a heavy touch at the end, nudging it wide of the keeper but too far for him to run on to. He stumbles and falls, but there is CJ, reading it brilliantly to crash the loose ball home. Sullay is face down on the turf as if he's agonising over the final touch and I wonder if, without a crowd, he actually realises the CJ has scored till Jerry dives on him in celebration. 

Chissy gets topical, referring to postal votes and then the Chuckle brothers within 20 seconds. Doncaster muster a half decent low shot and just before half time a first corner, which swing dangerously but does no real damage. 

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The test will come if Doncaster change things. It seems as if they really need to as they've caused almost no problems at all. Pool have been clinical, they've not created that many clear cut chances but such has been our control of the game that 2-0 doesn't seem an unfair outcome at half time. Dougall again is making us tick and the added balance of Robson letting Dougall work his more natural right hand side and we're ticking along, looking like clockwork. 

A well coached team should look like this, mixing confidence, good positional play and using their instinct and how far we've come is measured in me only being able to think of one pointless passing move where we surrendered a good position to go backwards. 

Again, it's hard to really single anyone out as lacking. Marv has made the most mistakes but nothing that's cost us and has mostly looked imperious. We've defended from the front, worked hard out of possession and I just hope we can keep up that work rate with a virtually unchanged side that battled really hard against Peterborough. 

The Counting Crows belt out. It can't be long before we hear some John Farnham. 

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Donny get sent out with their tale between their legs and a new player on the pitch. James 'is he still playing?' Coppinger is off and an athletic, muscular looking lad with dreadlocks is on. Those sort of subs always worry me. Other teams substitutes always seem to have more danger than our own. 

Doncaster start like a house on fire and pin Pool back, a ball in the corner is pulled back, Cameron John comes from deep and drives it home. There's general outrage about offside the validity of which I can't read at all from the angle of the iFollow camera but to no avail. 

Madine then seems to get battered twice, going down like he's been shot, winning two free kicks but Sullay's delivery is dreadful each time. 

The dangerous looking sub with a muscular athletic frame and dreadlocks sub plays an outrageously good scooped pass and a Donny man gets between Marv and Turton and flicks it beyond Maxwell who star jumps for all he's worth but isn't getting near it. 

Fucks sake football. 

Madine with beautiful flick to Yatres who bears down on goal, but Donny scramble back and scramble it away. CJ gets the ball under his feet under the edge of the box but can't get a shot or a pass away. 

Will we react tactically? Donny are looking a different team - Darren Moore has changed it up, got a new message across about both shape and style and though we're still putting pressure on, the control of the first half has evaporated. It's a test of the team's character but also a question of whether we can adjust things to renew our own threat. 

Donny try and fail to spring our offside trap a couple of times. Jimmy Husband sets Sullay away with a long ball but the move breaks down. Madine goes down again. Husband gets belted, Sullay gets crunched. Donny are clearly fired up. Yates wins it brilliantly in his own half, spins and runs but has no support. Hamilton wins it deep with muscle and then goes right through their defence but his pull back is cut out before it reaches anyone. 

I can't help but think 'if only we had a striker on the bench' as we're looking a bit better now but Yates and Madine are tiring... I'm preparing in my mind to say something constructive about 2-2 being a decent result when...

... Donny play it down the right, their winger sprints wide, pulls it back, it seems to slide past three players, it might be an illusion from the camera, but it's like we just let it roll across the box, till Dougall slides in on the onrushing forward and the referee gives a penalty. It looks a bit 50/50 to me but it doesn't matter as Whiteman belts it home with every bit the same certainty as Yates did earlier. 

Pool bring on 4 subs* - Keshi, Mitchell, Woodburn and Gabriel come on. I don't really understand why both Sullay and Yates are coming off but maybe we'll find out. 

*Insert your own rant about a) the notion of 4 subs coming at once or b) why we're only making the subs at 80 mins when we've been piss poor all half. 

We can tick off 'he's quick....but he isn't that quick' once more from the Chissy bingo as CJ races after an overhit long ball. At least there's that. I've been in too much of a bad mood to note some of the classics he's come out with second half but I can't let that pass. 

Grant Ward comes on, but as much as I look, I can't see an obvious change of shape, all the subs seem to be like for like. Gabriel battles hard, Woodburn has a little run but is tackled. CJ again goes through and pulls one back, we have loads of passes that eventually lead to cross where Madine is muscled out by two defenders sandwiching him. Ward hit's one one like a gunshot on the half volley from 20 yards but it's blocked for a corner. Ward belts a long ball into the box, it looks harmless but it clearly, clearly, clearly is handled by the Donny defender - there's screams of handball but nothing is given. 

Fucking football. 

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Everything we were first half, we weren't in the second half. It was an early season pattern that we couldn't cope with teams changing things up against us and it's perhaps a reality check tonight that again, we've struggled against a side that makes definitive changes. There's an element of bad luck, offside, a dodgy penalty and a penalty denied at the other end but I also found myself frustrated that we couldn't make earlier changes when it looked like we needed new energy and new ideas on the pitch. 

I can't be bothered doing the 'who is to blame?' post mortem. What's the point? The answer is sort of 'everyone' in the way we were so flimsy in the second half and I don't want to think about it anymore. Donny came out and were much more direct and much more physical. They were clearly on the end of a bollocking and an instruction to stop letting us play, to leave their mark on us and it worked and as our high press waned as the front players tired, we had nothing much else even if we didn't really have the luck. 

In conclusion, we looked like a steamroller, then we fell apart. To lose was unlucky, but everything good in the first half was equal to what was poor in the second and it was troubling that once it started going against us, we had no answer. 

Nothing else to say. Too glum. Tier 3 bollocks, dark nights, dark mornings, long day at work, all of that, then this.

Fuck's sake 'Pool. 

Onwards. 

utmp

 

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