Rovers 1-3 Port Vale
The new season got underway at the Keepmoat stadium, but it was a nightmare first 45 minutes for all involved at Rovers.
Despite a quiet opening, Dickov’s men found themselves three goals down by the break.
After twenty four minutes, an unmarked Chris Lines was given a free-header at the Rovers front post, which saw Steer make a great save, however, Williamson followed up with a tap in to put Vale ahead.
Rovers tried to respond and saw much of the ball, but were creating very little and becoming frustrated. Then on 39 minutes things got worse for Dickov’s men, Tom Pope was given room inside the penalty area to side foot an effort past Steer and into the back of the net, to make it 2-0.
The horror show continued, just two minutes later when Dickinson added to Vale’s lead and made it 3-0 in controversial fashion. Steer punched the ball away from a corner but appeared to be impeded; the referee waved the appeals away as the Port Vale captain blasted home from 12 yards.
Rovers had moments of their own in the opening 45 minutes. Tyson had the best chance after 20 minutes, when Main rolled his defender and put his strike partner one on one with Sam Johnson, but the keeper read it well and blocked Tyson’s effort. Forrester also had an effort right on half time from 20 yards but the ball dipped too late and went over the bar.
Rovers made two changes at the break as Dickov looked to find a way back into the match, Theo Robinson and Mark De-Val replaced Dean Furman and Nathan Tyson.
Straight after the restart De-Val got on the end of a Forrester free kick and headed towards the Port Vale goal, unfortunately though, he couldn’t get enough power on his header to beat the keeper.
Rovers made their third and final change on 65 minutes when Kyle Bennett replaced Main. It was Bennett who gave Rovers hope in the match, on 74 minutes, when he bent an effort from 20 yards into the top corner of Johnson net.
The goal saw a short resurgence from the home side, but on 79 minutes another controversial moment went against Rovers, when Forrester was shown a red card. He appeared to have made a genuine attempt to go for the ball, but did catch Johnson in the Vale goal.
Rovers did try to rally together after losing a man, but couldn’t create any clear-cut opportunities. Bennett impressed on a few occasions and had a couple of efforts go wide of the Vale goal.
Captain Rob Jones was given the man of the match award in added time, but it was an afternoon to forget for his side, which was all but over by half time, in what was a very impressive performance from Micky Adams side.
Rovers: Steer, Wabara, Evina, Jones ©, McCullough, Furman (De-Val, 45), Keegan, Coppinger, Forrester (Red card, 79mins), Main (Bennett, 65mins), Tyson (Robinson, 45).
Port Vale: Johnson, Dickinson ©, Duffy, McGivern, Veseli, Birchall (Dodds), Lines, O’Connor (O’Connor), Marshall, Williamson (Jennings), Pope.