Doncaster Rovers lost at home in the league for the first time in 2014, at the hands of Birmingham City.
Saturday, 5th April 2014 at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Skybet League Championship
DONCASTER ROVERS 1 Birmingham City 3
Referee – Mr David Webb
Attendance – 9,206 (1,648)
Rovers had to make changes for today’s game. Richie Wellens was out with a foot injury sustained at Leeds and then, in the pre-match warm-up, Abdoulaye Meite suffered a calf strain and was replaced by Mark Duffy necessitating James Coppinger going to right back and Lucas Neill moving into the middle to partner Quinn.
Before the game James Coppinger was presented with a memento to celebrate his 400th competitive game in a Rovers shirt. He joins Fred Emery, Bert Tindill and Colin Douglas in the exclusive ‘400 club’.
Rovers, defending the South Stand in the first half, got the match going against a yellow-shirted Birmingham side just three points and one place below us.
The first quarter hour was spent in midfield, with the visitors shading possession. Burke then fired wide of the far post from the right.
Furman got in a 25yard drive in the 20th minute but it was deflected away and then cleared. Rovers got into the game more and in the 26th minute Cotterill had a go from distance on the left but put wide of the far post.
Rovers now proceeded to get their passing game going and began to have the better of the possession.
In the 37th minute, a foul on Brown gave Rovers a free kick on the right in a good position. Cotterill placed the ball into the middle, a header by a defender fell to QUINN and his shot was blocked but he followed it up and rifled into the net.
Following good play on the Rovers left in the 40th minute, Cotterill floated over a cross to the far side of the six-yard box for Brown to get in a good firm header that looked all over a goal but Randolph managed to beat it away.
As half time came up Birmingham got their attack going, with Burke winning a corner but it was cleared. Then Spector tried his luck from 20yards but put high over the bar under challenge from Coppinger.
The last action of the half came when Novak tried an overhead kick in the penalty area that went narrowly wide.
Half Time – Doncaster Rovers 1 Birmingham City 0
Birmingham made a substitution at the start of the second half, with the giant Zigic replacing Ibe.
The visitors, having kicked off, went on the attack, and were repulsed before Novak eventually tried his luck from 35yards but put wide.
In the 50th minute Rovers were awarded a free kick on their left halfway in the Birmingham half. Cotterill placed it near the penalty spot where Neill met it with a glancing header going into the net but somehow Randolph got a hand to it and pushed it away.
Another teasing cross from Cotterill was headed over his own bar by Novak for a corner to the Rovers but nothing came from it.
At the other end MACHEDA had a go from 30yards but fired high and wide of the far post. But his next attempt in the 57th minute, when he robbed Husband of the ball on the edge of the six yard box, was fired across the keeper into the far corner of the goal.
A minute later and only a great tackle by Quinn stopped Novak from going clear on goal. Then Zigic shot high and wide from 20yards.
Suddenly Rovers had lost their way and Birmingham took advantage by getting a second goal in the 72nd minute when NOVAK went clear on goal and as Johnstone came out he touched it past him and watched it trickle slowly towards goal. Quinn tried to clear but it defeated his efforts and put the visitors 2-1 up.
Rovers hit back and won a free kick on their left but from Cotterill’s kick Randolph got a two-fisted punch on it and cleared.
Then, in the 76th minute, a free kick on the Birmingham right touchline was headed by Zigic at the far post into the middle for MACHEDA to head in from close range.
Rovers tried hard to hit back but Birmingham were now in command and only a good save by Johnstone stopped Shinnie added to their score in the 88th minute.
Result – Doncaster Rovers 1 (Quinn 37) Birmingham City 3 (Macheda 57 76 Novak 72)
Teams – ROVERS – Sam Johnstone; James Coppinger, Paul Quinn, Lucas Neill, James Husband; Mark Duffy, Paul Keegan (c), Dean Furman, David Cotterill; Chris Brown, Billy Sharp
Subs used – Theo Robinson for Duffy 71 mins;
Subs not used – Luke McCullough, Liam Wakefield, Marc de Val, Harry Middleton, Enda Stevens, Jon Maxted gk
Caution – Keegan 21 mins;
Birmingham City – Darren Randolph; Paul Caddis, Tom Thorpe, Paul Robinson (c), Callum Reilly; Chris Burke, Jordon Ibe, Lee Novak, Jonathan Spector, Emyr Huws, Federico Macheda,
Subs used – Nikola Zigic for Ibe 46 mins; Tom Adeyemi for Huws 66mins; Andrew Shinnie for Novak 80 mins;
Subs not used – Will Packwood, Oliver Lee, Shane Ferguson, Colin Doyle gk
Cautions - Spector 69 mins; Zigic 85 mins; Reilly 90+2 mins;