In hindsight I cannot understand why I did not put my house on this match finishing 0-0, well aside from the fact that I don’t actually have a house. On the whole, a 4-0 mauling at the Keepmoat aside, Rovers and Swansea have been pretty evenly matched in recent seasons and both came into this game struggling to establish themselves in the league and also hampered by injuries and suspensions. Like Rovers, Swansea also had two men sent-off at the weekend, and so this game was always likely to feature the word ‘cagey’ in its postscript.
Chances for either side in the opening ten minutes starting with the visitors as Craig Beattie headed over from a corner and then Martin Woods stung the palms of Dorus de Vries with a free-kick; the brilliantly named Angel Rangel having been booked for the challenge on Dean Shiels which led to said set-piece. Shiels has looked lively in his appearances this season and so was the case here as he fashioned Rovers next chance bringing the ball forward before shooting wide from just outside the area.
Midway through the half the Swans began to take a hold of things beginning when a low Mark Gower cross just eluded Gorka Pintado. Only the woodwork prevented the visitors taking the lead minutes later as Alan Tate headed against the bar from a corner, and it took a decent save from Neil Sullivan to keep out an effort from Beattie on the half an hour mark. Ten minutes before the break and a rare foray forward for Rovers saw a Shiels effort deflected wide after Billy Sharp had nodded a John Spicer cross into his path.
So unsurprisingly goalless at the break then indeed so frustrating was the action that Viva Rovers infamous back row moaner Geoff had invented a new word to show his displeasure. According to Matt he did at one point early in the second half yell the word “Billock” in the direction of the pitch. Early indications suggest it was a combination of the word ‘bastard’ and the word ‘pillock’, but the only thing we can be sure of is that it was hurled in the direction of Martin Woods. If the first half had been nothing to write home about, the second half barely merited a text message.
John Spicer set it off with something of a false dawn as he dribbled through a number of Swans players before firing a shot at goal from just inside the area, but it went the wrong side of the post and the game returned to being about as incident packed as an episode of The Archers. It was about quarter of an hour before the next effort of note and that was a speculative Mark Wilson strike which cleared the bar. According to the official club website’s report the crowd at this stage were getting ‘fractious’, presumably that means two fifths were yelling for non-specific substitutions, three sixths were grumbling under their breath and the remaining tenth were asleep.
So inevitable was a goalless draw by the final fifteen minutes that its hard to tell whether the players were trying to score or just ensure that they did not upset the cosmic balance by finding the target. Martin Woods shot wide and then had a free-kick saved by de Vries, James Hayter putting the follow-up wide. Substitute Darren Pratley shot both high and wide for the Swans and that was about it really as the game petered out like the Countdown theme.
Doncaster Rovers line-up (4-3-2-1):Neil Sullivan; James Chambers, Sam Hird, Adam Lockwood, Gareth Roberts; John Spicer, Mark Wilson, Martin Woods (James O’Connor); James Hayter (Waide Fairhurst), Dean Shiels; Billy Sharp (Paul Heffernan)
subs not used: Ben Smith, Byron Webster, Mustapha Dumbaya, Lewis Guy
Swansea City line-up (4-4-2):Dorus de Vries; Angel Rangel, Ashley Williams, Alan Tate, Marcos Parker; Thomas Butler, Garry Monk, Mark Gower (Besian Irdizaj), Ashley Richards; Gorka Pintado (Steve Dobbie), Craig Beattie (Darren Pratley)
subs not used: David Cornell, Kerry Morgan, Lee Trundle
booked: Angel Rangel