Well, I hate to say it, but we did warn you all. In Viva Rovers’ match preview we pointed out that of late, despite their lowly league position, teams have generally struggled to breakdown Peterborough United. Of course we had hoped that Rovers too would not struggle to get the better of The Posh, however despite the struggle they did at least get the better of their hosts. It took an injury time winner to do it, but Rovers have continued their unbeaten run, and more prominently after over a year of waiting they have finally come from behind to win a game.
Rovers win at London Road was not only a long overdue taste of turning a loss into a victory, but it also had a significant effect on the Championship table. Suddenly Rovers sit eighth and people are starting to take TheLikesOfDoncaster seriously as a second tier football team. Thanks to goals from Doncaster’s Welsh contingent Rovers staged a second half comeback to put themselves in their highest league position in half a century. Its a situation worthy of the jubilant celebrations on the London Road terraces tonight.
Coming into this match Peterborough had enjoyed rare back to back wins and they began this fixture with evident confidence as they had the better of the first half’s chances. Charlie Lee had the first effort on goal for the home side ten minutes in as his shot on the half volley was saved by Neil Sullivan. Further chances were sparse in the opening half an hour – a wayward header by Craig Mackail-Smith being matched by a wayward shot at goal from John Oster. United did have a good chance to break the deadlock half an hour in, as they broke from a corner as Mackail-Smith’s low ball inside found Sergio Torres breaking into the area, but Torres scuffed his shot and Sullivan was able to turn the ball behind. Rovers had a couple of late efforts of their own with Billy Sharp forcing a save from Joe Lewis and Martin Woods firing over, but perhaps unsurprisingly the half ended goalless.
The second half was to prove much livelier with Rovers forcing the first chance as Sam Hird headed wide from a corner, but the next ten minutes were to be all Posh. The host ‘s first chance came as a free-kick from the left was headed back across goal by Gabriel Zakuani where it was met by Charlie Lee inside the six yard box, but somehow Sullivan managed to get down and turn Lee’s header round the post. Peterborough continued to press, next from a long throw as the ball fell to Reuban Reid, but again Sullivan was down well to smother the chance. Eventually the pressure told though as a couple of minutes later United took the lead from a corner swung in from their right which was met by Lee, his header was blocked by a combination of Sullivan and Jamie Coppinger, but the officials ruled it had crossed the line to put the hosts 1-0 up.
The goal sparked some life into Rovers and they created a couple of chances of their own. In the season’s earlier meeting between these two sides both Sharp and Dean Shiels were on the score sheet and they both came close here, the pair shooting wide of Lewis’ goal either side of the hour mark. Peterborough were by no means a spent force though and they had chances to extend their lead as Mackail-Smith and Exodus Geohoghan both tested Sullivan. Thankfully though the next goal did come Rovers’ way – Martin Woods turned his man neatly in the corner to cross, but his delivery was headed clear, albeit briefly. The ball only made it as far as the edge of the box where it was met on the volley by Gareth Roberts who’s first time strike found the far corner of Lewis’ net for the equaliser.
All square both sides pushed for the win, with Rovers squandering one chance as Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was caught off balance and fired his volley wide. Woods also came close as he had a strike saved by Lewis, and at the other end Sullivan like-wise had to claw away another effort by Mackail-Smith. As the game entered injury time Peterborough a corner for Peterborough suggested there was to be one last chance of a goal and it came… for Rovers, on the break. The dead ball was cleared to Coppinger on the Rovers right, who in turn played in Sharp in the right channel, and though he couldn’t get a shot off he did manage to nudge the ball into the path of Oster, steaming in at the far post to turn the ball home and secure a great comeback win for Doncaster.
Peterborough United line-up (4-4-2); Joe Lewis; Mark Little, Craig Morgan, Exodus Geohaghan, Scott Griffiths; Liam Dickinson (Reuban Reid), Charlie Lee, Tommy Rowe, Gabriel Zakuani; Craig Mackail-Smith, Sergio Torres (Josh Simpson)
subs not used: Jamie Day, James McKeown, Billy Cook, Nathan Koranteng, Dominic Green
Doncaster Rovers line-up (4-2-3-1); Neil Sullivan; James Chambers (James O’Connor), Sam Hird, Shelton Martis, Gareth Roberts; John Oster, Martin Woods; Jamie Coppinger, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Dean Shiels (Adam Lockwood); Billy Sharp
subs not used: Ben Smith, Mark Wilson, Jordan Mutch, John Spicer, James Hayter