So. Just what is going wrong? Where does the problem lie? And when does a drama become a crisis? Not even the arrival of local rivals has been able to stir some life into a lacklustre Rovers run. Tonight’s 2-0 loss the side’s fourth successive defeat, to extend their winless run to six games. It really has been a miserable January.
After disappointing defeats against Reading and Ipswich and a capitulation at Molineux Rovers unfortunate start to the year continued with a home derby disaster against Barnsley. Two second half goals from Danny Haynes did the damage for the visitors and Doncaster sadly rarely looked likely to hit back.
Early in the game Billy Sharp got in an effort on goal that was straight at Barnsley ‘keeper Luke Steele. Tellingly Rovers would only bring Steele into the action from a gold-bound strike once more over the course of the evening. It’s clear that the Rovers midfield have been lacking their captain over the last few weeks, and their depleted ranks were dealt a further blow just before half-time as Mark Wilson was forced off with injury. It’s perhaps an indicator of how bad things were in this game that Wilson, so long the scapegoat, was chosen as man of the match by a large number of supporters, despite not making it to the interval.
Barnsley were brighter after the break and reaped the reward; Hugo Colace and Gary O’Connor both had chances to break the deadlock before Haynes found the net for the first time ten minutes in. Bobby Hassell’s angled ball in from the right firmly headed past Neil Sullivan by the forward. And bad duly went to worse midway through the second-half as Haynes doubled his tally, hitting a low angle shot from fifteen yards out that somehow found the net via Sullivan. The veteran Rovers keeper has been in for some stick of late, with some Doncaster supporters suggesting that age is getting the better of him. Unfortunately conceding goals such as this won’t help his cause.
On the basis of their near dominant second half performance The Tykes more than deserved their victory. Rovers best chance of a goal came in the final minutes, James O’Connor heading over from a corner though by now the game was all over bar the chorus of boos. Another night, another terrible second-half showing and Rovers drop to sixteenth.
Doncaster Rovers line-up (4-3-2-1); Neil Sullivan; James Chambers (George Friend), Adam Lockwood, Matt Kilgallon (Sam Hird), James O’Connor; John Oster, Mark Wilson (Paul Keegan), Dean Shiels; Jamie Coppinger, James Hayter; Billy Sharp
subs not used: Gary Woods, Dennis Souza, Ryan Mason, Waide Fairhurst
booked: Billy Sharp
Barnsley line-up (4-4-2); Luke Steele; Bobby Hassell, Jason Shackell, Stephen Foster (Diego Arismendi), Matt Hill; Kieren Trippier (Jim O’Brien), Hugo Colace, Nathan Doyle, Jacob Butterfield; Danny Haynes, Gary O’Connor (Andy Gray)
subs not used: Goran Lovre, David Preece, Alistair Taylor, Steve Bennett