Goals from David Cotterill and Kyle Bennett ensured Rovers ended the pre-season schedule unbeaten.
Attendance – 2,850 (343 visitors)
The last pre-season friendly before the League starts was played at Bradford City, possibly the sternest test yet for the Rovers.
The Bantams were League Cup Finalists last season and were also promoted to League 1 via the Play-Offs. David Syers and Jamie McCombe for the Rovers were out with injuries. With uncertainty still surrounding the signing of players, Jon Maxted was given his chance in goal, Paul Quinn had signed a two-year contract this morning, free agent Richie Wellens had trained throughout the week at the Rovers and was named in the team along with Bongani Khumalo from Tottenham Hotspur.
Whilst the sun was shining there was a cooling breeze that made it a pleasant afternoon to be watching a game of football let alone playing.
Rovers got the game underway and immediately got into their stride playing possession football. In the third minute, a cross from the Rovers left by Cotterill was put out for a corner under pressure from Brown. The corner kick brought a header from Jones, which was saved by McLaughlin.
At the other end Wells on the home right tried to curl a left foot effort from 25yards inside the far top corner but put wide. Another patient build-up by the Rovers gave Furman a shot from 25yards but he put wide.
Then, a long pass from midfield inside his own half by Duffy found Quinn on the right flank in a lot of space but he over hit his cross and put it out for a goalkick.
In the 13th minute Furman fed Duffy on the Rovers right, he cut inside and from the edge of the penalty area hit a left foot drive wide. Down to the other end and Thompson, for the home team, crossed from the right to the far post where Hanson headed back across goal and out.
The home team came again and Wells blasted in a shot from 16yards that Maxted could only beat down and collect. The home team were having a good spell and in the 21st minute a cross from the left by Meredith was headed over by Hanson.
Three minutes later and some good play by the Rovers brought them a corner on their left. Cotterill took it short to Duffy and a further 1-2 gave COTTERILL the space to fire in from the side of the area into the far corner. The home team’s best chance came in the 27th minute when the Rovers failed to clear out of their penalty area. The ball eventually fell to Hanson but Spurr got to him and deflected his shot over the bar for a corner. A free kick to the Rovers in the 36th minute had Jones stretching for it at the far post but he could only put it out for a goalkick.
The intensity of the game slowed down and it became more even as the half wore on with neither keeper called upon to do anything other than field the ball. The emphasis of both sides was on playing a passing game and the Rovers were doing quite a good job of it but not producing the end product.
Half Time – Bradford City 0 Doncaster Rovers 1
The Rovers made two changes at half time, Billy Paynter and Kyle Bennett replacing Wellens and Duffy. It was all-action from the kick off, with the Rovers winning an early corner and then Bennett having a go from 30yards and putting it high over the bar. Five minutes in and Maxted was called into action to save from Wells and at the other end a cross from Cotterill gave Brown a header but McLaughlin saved easily. In the 52nd minute, Wells was in on goal with only Maxted to beat but as he shot the keeper saved with his legs.
The next minute brought a free kick from a central position, which Cotterill put just over the bar. The 55th minute brought a goal for the Bantams in somewhat fortuitous circumstances. A misunderstanding in the Rovers defence led to Maxted clearing the ball but it was blocked by THOMPSON, went up into the air and dropped over the line between the posts.
The home team were much more into the game this half and the Rovers were having to defend much more. A corner to the home team came to nothing as they built up the pressure. In the 69th minute Bennett did have the ball in the net but he was flagged offside.
Minutes later and good work by Spurr on the Rovers left gave Paynter a chance from close range but the home defence had reformed to block his shot. Kennedy, for the home team, then had a terrific shot blocked by Furman. Play went back to the home end and a great cross from Bennett, on the right, to Paynter on the left, who passed inside to Cotterill was scooped left footed over the bar. At the Rovers end Hanson had a clear chance but scooped it wide from the edge of the area.
Rovers had at last got to grips with the game and in the 85th minute Bennett was foiled by Nelson as he tried to put the ball into the net from close range. Coppinger arrived on the scene to hit the loose ball goalwards, it took a wicked deflection off BENNETT and went into the other corner of the net. Bradford tried to hit back straight away with good play on their left but Connell, taking a return pass, put wide.
The final whistle was blown bringing an end to an entertaining game.
Result – Bradford City 1 (Thompson 55) Doncaster Rovers 2 (Cotterill 24 Bennett 85)
Teams – Bradford City – Jon McLaughlin; Stephen Darby, James Meredith, Andrew Davies, Gary Thompson, Mark Yeates, Gary Jones ©, Nahki Wells, Rory McArdle, Nathan Doyle, James Hanson
Subs used – Jason Kennedy for Jones 61 mins; Kyel Reid for Wells 71 mins; Michael Nelson for Davies 75 mins; Alan Connell for Thompson 79 mins; Ricky Ravenhill for Meredith 79 mins;
Subs not used – Louie Swain, Jack Bentley gk
Doncaster Rovers – Jon Maxted; Paul Quinn, Rob Jones (C), Bongani Khumalo, Tommy Spurr; Mark Duffy, Richie Wellens, Dean Furman, David Cotterill; James Coppinger; Chris Brown
Subs used – Billy Paynter for Wellens 46 mins; Kyle Bennett for Duffy 46 mins; Paul Keegan for Brown 66 mins; James Husband for Coppinger 85 mins;
Subs not used – James Harper, Luke McCullough, Grant Adam gk