Doncaster Rovers 2:1 Leicester City
City surrendered their lead and all three points as Doncaster stage a second half comeback
City turned in another below-par performance at the Keepmoat Stadium and came away empty-handed as Billy Sharp turned the game on its head with two goals in three second half minutes.
Nigel Pearson resisted the urge to make wholesale changes and the only change from the Peterborough starting line-up was the inclusion of Steve Howard for Jermaine Beckford. The first half was tense and tight and the play was condensed in to the middle of the park with City relying on the long ball out of defence to Howard and Nugent. The only effort on target before City took the lead was a Howard header that Woods tipped over comfortably. Doncaster, for their part, were equally ineffective and so it was a surprise to us all when City fashioned a goal in the 38th minute when Howard fed Nugent on the left and Nugent outpaced full back, Sam Hird, before firing a dipping shot over Woods and in off the far post. This was the score at half-time when most City fans seemed surprised with the lead and concerned about the display.
Their concern was justified as the second half unfolded and the City defence looked uncomfortable against Fortune and Sharp and Schmeichel was finally forced in to a save when he tipped over an awkward shot from Gillett. It wasn’t long before Rovers were level when a cross from Fortune, just after the hour mark, was met by Billy Sharp who nipped between the static Konchesky and Bamba to plant a downward header through Scmeichel’s legs. If that wasn’t bad enough then two minutes later Rovers were in front after a deep cross from Stock found its way to Sharp in acres of space and he executed a superb scissors kick in to the far corner with Schmeichel helpless to stop it. It was a rare glimpse of class in a poor match and it turned out to be the winner.
City raised their game as they went in search of an equaliser but the end product in front of goal was poor. First Wellens wasted two identical chances in front of goal as the ball ran loose from ten yards out and he failed to hit the target with either. Gallagher saw a shot deflected wide and, right at the death, a St Ledger header drifted just the wrong side of the post.
Whilst City might consider themselves unfortunate not to claim a point but there is no getting away from the fact that this was a sub-standard performance and a frustrating afternoon for the two thousand or so travelling fans who grew increasingly frustrated and vocal as the match wore on. City seemed disjointed and lacked fluency and were unable to keep the ball or cause enough problems for Rovers’ defence. Rovers themselves were not great but three inspired minutes from Billy Sharp was enough to separate the sides in the end.
Doncaster: Woods, O’Connor, Hird, Beye, Ilunga, Coppinger, Barnes, Stock (c), Gillett, Fortune (Hayter 83), Sharp.Unused subs: Maxted, Bennett, Friend, Dumbuya.
City : Schmeichel, Peltier, St. Ledger, Bamba, Konchesky, Gallagher, King, Wellens (c), Dyer (Beckford 77), Nugent, Howard.Unused subs: Weale, Abe, Fernandes, Tunchev.
Attendance: 9,461 (2,218 away) Referee: Darren Sheldrake (Surrey)