Sub Zero temperatures put paid to any ambitions of Rovers extending their lead at the top of League One on Tuesday night against Carlisle.
Rovers now move onto this weekend where they hope to follow up the tremendous victory against Bournemouth with a similar outcome against their South Coast neighbours Portsmouth.
Pompey find themselves in a battle to stave off the threat of relegation and will prove a stern test for the squad at the Keepmoat despite their current lowly position in the table. Rovers will be keen to avenge the last visit from this weekend’s visitors.
Portsmouth came to town and took the spoils in controversial circumstances but it was one of the most memorable games for the club in recent history albeit for the wrong reasons.
Seven goals, of which two were in the dying embers of the game, a sending off and two penalties which ultimately ended in relegation for Rovers and proved only a stay of execution for Pompey, who were also relegated from the Championship a few weeks later.
John Oster created space for a shot which was saved by Ashdown; the ball rebounded to Fabien Robert who stabbed home from close range.
The game couldn’t have started any better for Rovers when Habib Beye planted a wonderful header past Jamie Ashdown after just three minutes of the game and within two minutes that lead was doubled.
The dream was on as Pompey simply weren’t in the game, it was all Rovers and a third goal would have killed the game. James Coppinger’s dipping effort was a lick of paint away from hitting the net as the ball crashed off the crossbar.
Beye went close again as he nodded goal wards but this time his effort was saved by the Pompey ‘keeper and as the half time whistle blew few could have predicted what would unfold in the following 45 minutes.
The visitors had to push forward, they changed personnel in the first half to little effect but just before the hour mark they were given a lifeline. Habib Beye was adjudged to have brought down Dave Kitson inside the box. A penalty and a red card followed for the Rovers man before Greg Halford slotted home the spot kick.
Five minutes later another penalty and again for the visitors, this time James O’Connor being adjudged to have fouled his man inside the box and Halford once again beat Gary Woods who was unfortunate not to keep the ball out of the goal.
Rather than be downhearted, Rovers pushed on and deservedly got their noses back in front within a couple of minutes of the equaliser. James Coppinger picked up the ball wide on the right before advancing and cutting inside to fire a crisp low shot, which took a deflection on the way through, into the net.
With just over 20 minutes to go it was a nervy ending for both sides, Rovers being the dominant force in the majority of the game meant for little as the visitors were pouring forward at every given opportunity using the extra player to good effect.
It looked like it was three points won for Dean Saunders’ side going into the final minute of the game, before disaster struck. Dave Kitson appeared to have handled as he bundled the ball into the net. If that was bad luck, it was to get even worse when Marko Futacs managed to get a toe onto the ball as he slid into the box to win the game.