After a good performance and well earned point against Nottingham Forest, Saturday brings a return to derby day football as we make the trip to Sheffield to face the blue and white half of the City.
Arguably the hosts this weekend aren’t in top form following their defeat to Birmingham City last time out, and if Rovers’ most recent trip to Hillsborough is anything to go by then it could be a very good day.
Sean O Driscoll’s squad travelled to Sheffield in February 2010 looking to at least replicate their victory over the Owls earlier in the season at the Keepmoat and put some distance between the clubs who both sat just two points from the bottom three at the start of the game.
Rovers had the first opportunity of the game as Mark Wilson flashed a header just wide of the mark after connecting with James O Connor’s cross before the home side tried to turn the screw. Both Tom Soares and Marcus Tudgay were to be denied the opener by two great saves by Neil Sullivan who turned both efforts onto the woodwork and to safety.
Having the confidence in Sullivan was to drive Rovers forward with Coventry City loanee, Elliott Ward, proving to be a valuable addition to the defence alongside Sam Hird. O’Connor then picked out another loanee, Billy Sharp who forced a very good save from Wednesday’s Lee Grant to deny the diminutive striker his 13th goal for Rovers.
From then on it was almost all Rovers, with the home side struggling to contain the passing and movement on display and it took Grant to deny both James Coppinger and James Hayter to keep the scores level as the game headed towards the half time break.
But the deadlock was to be broken ahead of the end of the first period as Rovers were to get ahead with a goal of supreme quality. Sharp picked up the ball inside the box and shook off the attention of three Wednesday defenders before clipping the ball towards the far post, Ward was there and he connected with an acrobatic overhead kick which smashed in off the underside of the crossbar giving Grant no chance.
Throughout the second half Rovers continued to frustrate Wednesday who were limited to just two efforts of note from Tudgay before the game was put out of the reach of the home side. Sharp who had been on the receiving end of plenty of attention from the Wednesday supporters was to help deliver the killer blow just after the hour mark. It was the Sheffield United loanee’s cross, which caused confusion in the Owl’s box before Wednesday’s James O Connor was to get the last touch deflecting the ball into his own net.
The goal was to bring an end to the Owl’s run of four consecutive home victories and secure a memorable first double for Rovers over their hosts and give them three vital points on the way to securing a strong mid table Championship finish.