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Doncaster Rovers 2 Watford 1 (16/01/2010) 17/01/2010

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five thunks from a disappointing trip to the Keepmoat Stadium.

1- It seems somewhat churlish to complain. We knew the limitations that we were operating under this season; Malky Mackay has achieved wondrous things in the circumstances and expectations consequently need to be consciously kept in check. Nonetheless, this was disappointing; a deserved defeat against a tidy enough Donny side, but a Donny side that only ever looked like being put under pressure in the closing minutes.

2- Most concerning perhaps, given that this was with the possible exception of McGinn our full armoury, was our impotence in turning a reasonable amount of possession into chances. Donny had done their research, and played us to a tee… a disciplined, high defensive line exploited our lack of pace in attack, and robustly got their head to things when balls came into the box leaving us looking short of ideas. The introduction of Bryan, a hopeful punt in this sort of game, spoke volumes – it didn’t work, Bryan never got the ball in dangerous positions, but our need for something different was painfully evident.

3- In central midfield we were particularly disappointing. Henri Lansbury took 60 minutes to make any kind of contribution (albeit then testing the keeper with a fine rising shot from distance, like an adult playing with kids who had finally lost his restraint and let rip). The result was that whilst we made bringing the ball forward look difficult, Doncaster passed through our midfield effortlessly. Only Cowie’s industry, Doyley’s diligence and Loach’s brilliance (in a game where only his shot-stopping, rather than decision-making, were tested) relieved the gloom.

4- We discussed on the way up that Donny boss O’Driscoll’s curtailed dalliance with Burnley could work for us (the failed attempt to move on unsettling the home side) or against us (relief in the manager staying). The answer appeared to be provided by the wild celebration to what proved to be the winning goal, Donny’s squad (including the surely-he-must-be-dead-by-now John Oster and the ever-reliable James Chambers) bundling their boss on the touch line.

5- A word, finally, for referee Andy Hall; he booked three players and will have harder games to referee, but frankly I barely noticed him and don’t remember a single contribution. Good work, that man. Looking back over the history books, only a late penalty conceded at Cardiff last season, which I wasn’t at so can’t comment, blots his record. Having refereed the monumental clash at Bramall Lane in 2006, and tolerated the Steve Palmer “dodgy keeper” incident against Bournemouth in 1998 do not. Being churlish, he could have been harsher on Donny’s aggressive defending, particularly that of the impressive Shackell, but today’s result was nothing to do with him.


1. wfcsteve - 18/01/2010

Agree about the ref, apart from when he tackled Heider and broke up one of our all too rare promising attacks.
The most entertaining thing about the whole afternoon was the stag party.

Matt Rowson - 18/01/2010

That was unfortunate more than anything.

But agree about the stag party, tremendous work all round. I counted seventeen in Hornet costumes I think – considering that, one assumes, not all would have been Watford fans that was a good show all round. As was the premeditated goal celebration, which looked like it might not get an airing…

2. Lincoln Hornet - 18/01/2010

First post for a while as I am struggling to get to games this season but have to say I agree with most thoughts. I don’t think we would have needed to be very good to beat an average Donny but the fact that we wern’t speaks volumes.
H continues to give 100% and I thought Mariappa had a decent game but Eustace’s passing and not much happening between Cleverley and Lansbury meant our midfield was weak. I have reservations about Danny Graham, thought he worked as hard as anybody but can’t help wish we had a bit more than hard work. A young spunker with a bit of pace might do well alongside H.
On the glass half full side of things I did think we would be well and truly in the shit this season so well done Malky and the lads.

Matt Rowson - 18/01/2010

🙂 I think we can all share your desire for a “young spunker”…

3. Flippo Galli - 19/01/2010

Speak for yourself Matt 🙂

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