The enthusiasm gained from last weekend’s victory over Southampton was doused somewhat as Rovers snatched defeat from the jaws of, well, a point at least, at Birmingham City. Of course St Andrews is no easy place to go, as both Club Brugge and Nacional can attest to, but having led 1-0 early in the second half Doncaster will be disappointed to have returned empty handed.
In comparison to the end to end slug fest that was the opening forty-five minutes of Rovers’ last match, the first half in Birmingham was decidedly uneventful. Though City looked the stronger of the two sides early on it was Doncaster who had the game’s first clear chance as Jamie Coppinger brought a save from Boaz Myhill.
The hosts would soon find their stride though and felt they should have had a penalty mid-way through the half as David Murphy’s shot on the turn cannoned away off the arm of Herold Goulon; the referee seemingly sympathising with the midfielder’s close proximity to the shot. Birmingham’s best chance before the break would come the way of Chris Wood as he met an inswinging cross from the right with a firm downward header only to see his effort brilliantly turned away by Carl Ikeme getting down to his right.
Five minutes after the interval Rovers opened the scoring. Billy Sharp turned on halfway before releasing Coppinger down the right and his early low ball into the area was controlled by Marc-Antoine Fortune, before being slotted beneath Myhill. Doncaster’s lead however, would last for little over ten minutes as Birmingham took advantage of a defensive mix up to level the score. Ikeme under-hit a short pass to Habib Beye and though the defender managed to beat Marlon King to the ball, but couldn’t stop Chris Burke from collecting it as it came loose and feeding King for the striker to slot the ball beyond the despairing lunge of Sam Hird.
From then on you sensed the game was Birmingham’s for the taking, and after much pressure they eventual struck a winning goal three minutes from time as Burke and King again combined effectively. The former cut in from the right before sliding a neat through ball into the area for King to run onto and slot beneath the legs of Ikeme to win it for the Blues.
Birmingham City line-up (5-3-2): Boaz Myhill; Stephen Carr, Steven Caldwell, Curtis Davies Jonathan Spector, David Murphy; Chris Burke, Guirane N’daw (Keith Fahey), Wade Elliott (Nathan Redmond); Marlon King, Chris Wood (Nikola Zigic)
subs not used: Colin Doyle, Pablo Ibanez
booked: Chris Burke
Doncaster Rovers line-up (4-3-2-1): Carl Ikeme, James O’Connor, Sam Hird, Habib Beye, Herita Ilunga; Brian Stock, Herold Goulon (Kyle Bennett), Simon Gillett; Jamie Coppinger (Giles Barnes), Marc-Antoine Fortune (George Friend); Billy Sharp
subs not used: Neil Sullivan, James Hayter
booked: Habib Beye, Brian Stock