Awful. Just awful. If you can find a positive from this game then chances are you’re a Barnsley fan. Rovers never got going at all at Oakwell, they struggled to retain possession or win it back, and mustered just a single shot in the whole ninety minutes. Of course we can all have off-days, but it seems that Rovers’ tend to come the longer they have to prepare for games; twice now the side has returned from international breaks and during their two weeks off seemingly forgotten how to play the game.
With Pascal Chimbonda injured James O’Connor returned to the Rovers line-up, but his first telling act was to go in the book for a foul on Ricardo Vaz Te. Thankfully for Rovers, one player who did perform was goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, as he made two telling saves, firstly turning a long-range strike from Danny Butterfield behind, and then as he dealt out a similar response to a strike from Vaz Te.
After half an hour though the home side did break the deadlock as Shelton Martis misjudged a high ball, stumbled beneath it, and Craig Davies was left to run in on goal before slotting past Ikeme. Martis was replaced soon after, with a dam Lockwood (remember him?) coming on at centre-half. The half-time whistle game with Rovers yet to have a sight of goal.
In the second half Barnsley again began positively as Butterfield fired wide from distance, whilst Vaz Te was also off-target soon after. Rovers’ first glimpse of a chance came as a free-kick from the left caused brief panic in the Barnsley area before Luke Steele eventually smothered it. Any optimism would be short-lived as twenty minutes into the second period The Tyles doubled their lead; Matt Done getting his cross in for Davies to turn the ball home.
Brian Stock brought a rare touch of the ball for Steele soon after as his long-range strike was tipped over by the home keeper, but Rovers already uphill task would face a steeper incline for the final twenty minutes as Adam Lockwood received his marching orders. The defender sent off for flattening Steve Foster after the whistle had already gone for a free-kick. Luckily for the Rovers, despite several efforts from Barnsley, notably a Butterfield shot that was saved, and a Davies strike that struck the inside of the post, the home side failed to add to their tally.
Barnsley line-up (4-4-2): Luke Steele; Bobby Hassell, Stephen Foster, Jimmy McNulty Jay McEvilly; Jim O’Brien, Ricardo Vaz Te (Danny Haynes), David Perkins, Jacob Butterfield; Matt Done, Craig Davies
subs not used: David Preece, Rob Edwards, Scott Wiseman, Miles Addison
booked: Bobby Hassell
Doncaster Rovers line-up (4-3-2-1): Carl Ikeme; James O’Connor, Richard Naylor, Shelton Martis (Adam Lockwood), Herita Ilunga; George Friend, Simon Gillett, Brian Stock (Kyle Bennett); Jamie Coppinger (Giles Barnes), El Hadji Diouf, Billy Sharp
subs not used: Neil Sullivan, James Hayter
booked: James O’Connor, Richard Naylor
sent off: Adam Lockwood