A brilliant performance from Rovers pushes Stoke all the way in a thrilling FA cup tie.
Doncaster - 1 (Tyson 25’)
Stoke - 2 (Crouch 15’ , Walters 57’)
Saturday 9th January, 2016
Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
FA Cup, 3rd Round
With over 13,000 fans watching, it was an electric atmosphere at the Keepmoat right from the off. Rovers didn’t seem phased by Premier League opposition and started the game with a real spring in their step.
Cedric Evina was the first to test Jokob Haugaard in the Stoke goal as he used his pace to drive down the left before striking at goal but the Stoke keeper made the save.
It was the home side who threatened again. More good work from Evina set up Andy Williams whose header forced Haugaard into another save.
Against the run of play the Premier League side took the lead through Peter Crouch. Joselu used his skill to beat Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, before whipping in a wicked ball across the box for Croush to neatly flick past Thorsten Stuckmann.
Despite going a goal down Rovers didn’t lose their spark. Haugaard was called into action twice in quick succession after shots from Williams and Middleton.
After being behind for just ten minutes the home side did find the equaliser they deserved and it was Nathan Tyson who’s name was on the scoresheet.
Luke McCullough carried the ball almost half the pitch, skipping past a number of defenders on the way. Squaring the ball into Tyson Haugaard made a brilliant save but the Rovers striker was there to score at the second attempt.
Stoke looked rattled as Rovers continued to pressure but the referee blew for half time and the teams went in level.
HALF TIME: Rovers 1-1 Stoke City
Darren Ferguson’s side started the second half as they finished the first and had a real energy in their football.
Conor Grant who had controlled the midfield brilliantly went inches away from putting Rovers ahead as Paul Keegan played the ball into him, shooting low his shot clipped the post and went wide.
Minutes later 9,000 Rovers fans were appealing for a penalty as Grant played a deadly ball across goal. With Craig Alcock waiting to tap in at the back post a clear push in the back saw him fall to the ground. Much to everyone’s disbelief, the referee waved play on.
Mark Hughes side found their feet however. Crouch went close for his second but missed a tap in from two yards, before Diouf also pressured the defence.
Jonathan Walters put the visitors ahead as he picked up the ball and tried his luck from 30 yards. With Stuckmann at full stretch, the Rovers keeper could do nothing about it as it rocketed into the top corner, a stunning strike.
Again, Rovers weren’t beaten. Craig Alcock went very close as a corner fell to him on the edge of the area before he fired at goal.
With ten minutes to play Rovers went agonisingly close again. Substitute Richard Chaplow’s cross was met by Andy Butler in the box, beating the Stoke man to it his header bounced back off the cross bar.
Tyson was the next to get the fans on the edge of their seat as Gary MacKenzie headed down for Tyson to tap home from 6 yards but he scooped his effort over the bar.
Throwing absolutely everything at it Rovers went so close again in stoppage time. As the ball came into the box at pace, Butler put his body on the line and threw himself at it but somehow went over the bar from 4 yards.
Despite their hard work Rovers couldn’t find the equaliser they deserved to earn them a replay at the Britannia Stadium and it was Stoke who made it through to the fourth round.
FULL TIME: Rovers 1-2 Stoke
Rovers: Stuckmann, Butler, Evina, Alcock, McCullough, Taylor-Sinclair (Main 76’), Middleton (MacKenzie 88’), Grant, Keegan (c) (Chaplow 76’), Williams, Tyson
Unused Subs: Marosi, Whitehouse, Lund, Davies
Cautions: Tyson 31’ , Grant 83'
Stoke: Haugaard, Bardsley (Johnson 61’), Shawcross, Wollscheid, Wilson, v.Ginkel, Adam (Sidwell 87’), Walters, Joselu, Diouf, Crouch (Whelan 66’)
Unused Subs: Butland, Odemwingie, Teixeira, Shenton
Cautions: Wollscheid 31’ , Van Ginkel 38’ , Walters 62'