Saturday, 1st January 2013 at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Npower League 1
DONCASTER ROVERS 2 Sheffield United 2
Referee – Mr David Cooke
Attendance – 12,783 (4,285)
It was a good start to the New Year, weather-wise, with a sunny and fine day, although it was cold. The Rovers made one change from Saturday, Iain Hume returning to the attack after his enforced absence at Preston and David Syers dropping into midfield for James Harper, who dropped to the bench. Also on the bench was James Coppinger, who received a tumultuous welcome from the fans in the warm-up. The United made four changes to the team that lost at home to Hartlepool, with Darryl Westlake, Harry Maguire, Marcus Williams and John Cofie replaced by Danny Higginbotham, Elliott Whitehouse, Tony McMahon and Terry Kennedy. The Rovers defended the South Stand end in the first half.
The visitors kicked off but the early minutes were spent sounding each other out. Then, in the 11th minute, the match livened up when the visitors were awarded a free kick 25yards out. McMahon placed the kick just under the bar but Woods got to it to tip over the bar for a corner. Another corner to the Blades three minutes later also came to nothing. Then, a long ball to Syers in the United penalty area saw him clattered by Long, who received a booking and the Rovers were awarded a penalty. PAYNTER took the spot kick and, with Long going to his left, he planted it into the other corner after 18 mins. Three minutes on and a free kick to the Rovers from 30 yards caused problems in the United defence but they blocked two attempts at shots before Hume got a good crack at it , the ball being deflected for a corner. Cotterill swung the ball to the far post where Syers headed it the wrong side of the post, with the crowd already screaming ‘goal’. A couple of corners either side of the half hour for the Rovers brought no reward and a few minutes later a free kick from Cotterill was put out for another corner. Bennett followed this with a shot from 25yards that was well wide. In the 40th minute, Blackman, for the United, won a free kick on the right side of the penalty area but it was headed over by Higginbotham. Another corner for the Rovers followed but it was cleared and the half came to an end with the Rovers going in leading by a single goal after shading the play in their favour.
Half Time – Doncaster Rovers 1 Sheffield United 0
The Rovers kicked off and Hume scythed through the United defence before rifling a shot in from the edge of the area that hit the post and rebounded out to Cotterill, who fired in a low shot that Long failed to gather but his defenders cleared the ball before Hume could get to it. Then, a free kick from the Rovers left was placed just wide of the far post by Cotterill. In the 56th minute a cross by Bennett from the Rovers left reached Hume on the corner of the six yard box at the far post but his shot was beaten away by Long for a corner, which the keeper proceeded to catch. Three minutes later and another free kick by Cotterill was just too high for McCombe at the far post. Continuing to press the Rovers were awarded a free kick on their left in the 63rd minute. Cotterill put it to the near post where SYERS headed into the net. The Blades then attacked down their left with Hill crossing to the middle for Jones to head away but only to Blackman, who volleyed high and wide of goal. Then, following a free kick, Syers fired high and wide. In the 70th minute, a good link-up between Cotterill and Hume gave the latter a shot at goal but Long got a hand to it and diverted it away for a corner. The 79th minute brought the pivotal point of the game when Griffin was adjudged to have fouled Ironside in the penalty area. BLACKMAN put the penalty away to Woods’ left as he dived right. Good play by the Rovers drove them to the United goal where they won a corner. Then, in the 88th minute, Paynter received his marching orders after an altercation with McMahon. In the 90th minute the Blades surged forward on the attack as the free kick came in from the right. Successive efforts were blocked and Woods punched one away to Hill, who put the ball inside to KITSON to slam into the net. Five minutes of added time was signalled and both sides went for a winner. Coppinger, on the left, was stopped as he cut in on goal, Ironside fired over for the Blades and Cotterill, with a free kick from the left had Long back-pedalling to catch the ball on his goal-line. The whistle finally went on a terrific ‘derby’ game but the Rovers will look on it as two points lost.
Result Doncaster Rovers 2 (Paynter pen18 Syers 63) Sheffield United 2 (Blackman 79 Kitson 90)
Teams – ROVERS – Gary Woods; Paul Quinn, Jamie McCombe, Rob Jones ©, Tommy Spurr; David Cotterill, Paul Keegan, David Syers, Kyle Bennett; Iain Hume, Billy Paynter
Subs used – Andy Griffin for Quinn 65 mins; James Coppinger for Bennett 77 mins; Shelton Martis for Hume 83 mins;
Subs not used – James Husband, James Harper, Jordan Ball, Jon Maxted gk
Cautions – Jones 31 mins; Griffin 79 mins;
Sent Off – Paynter 88 mins;
Sheffield United – George Long; Tony McMahon, Terry Kennedy, Danny Higginbotham, Matthew Hill; Nick Blackman, Elliott Whitehouse, Kevin McDonald, Michael Doyle ©, Ryan Flynn; Dave Kitson
Subs used – John Cofie for Whitehouse 53 mins; Joe Ironside for Flynn 74 mins;
Subs not used – Darryl Westlake, David McAllister, Richard Cresswell, Marcus Williams, Danny Coyne gk
Cautions – Long 17 mins; Hill 31 mins; Whitehouse 50 mins; Kitson 90 mins; McDonald 90+3 mins;