Afro Goal Machine sends Rovers to Cup Final
There are just three days to go until Rovers kick off their last game of the 2013/14 season, where we take on Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, looking to stay in the Championship. Today sees part three of five in our #RoversSpirit series of articles which looks back at the Club’s battling qualities over the years.
12th February 2007
Johnstone’s Paint Northern Area Final 2nd Leg
Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Doncaster Rovers 3 (Heffernan 63, 83 pen. Price 89)
Crewe Alexandra 2 (Varney 32, Lowe 36)
*Rovers win 6-5 on aggregate
‘Topsy-turvy’ is the one phrase which best describes this thrilling encounter in front of the TV cameras between two excellent footballing sides on the road to Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
The beating heart of Rovers was Jason Price – a Keepmoat Stadium cult hero renowned for wild celebrations and wilder hair – who was aiming for a trip to his native Wales for Rovers’ first national cup final.
Having returned from the first leg at Gresty Road just a few weeks prior with a creditable 3-3 draw, it should have been expected that the second leg would be equally as compelling – we weren’t disappointed.
The Railwaymen started like the proverbial steam train and a double salvo from their formidable front pairing of Luke Varney and Ryan Lowe left Rovers entering the tunnel at half time looking for light.
The prolific Paul Heffernan – who bagged 21 goals that season – was the Rovers saviour just after the hour mark when he rifled home and the belief among the 12,500 inside the Keepmoat was tangible.
The effusive Price came in to his own; this was his moment and no one quite knew what he was going to do next, not least himself.
After picking the ball up on the right flank, he cut inside and was hauled down just inside the box. The referee awarded Rovers a penalty and Heffernan, after being ordered a retake, duly slammed home to level.
Entering the dying embers of a frought and frenetic game, Price found himself in a similar position and, despite miscuing his first attempt, stabbed home his second to seal a remarkable turnaround.
The resilience shown by Sean O’Dricoll’s men was to serve them well in the final also. After blowing a two goal lead, given to them by Jonathan Forte and that man Heffernan, Captain Graeme Lee nodded home an extra-time winner to deny Bristol Rovers and continue the belief that Doncaster Rovers never do it the easy way.