Rovers fall just short in final pre-season fixture.
Doncaster Rovers 1 (Main, 82)
Rotherham United 2 (Derbyshire, 52; Hall, 56)
Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Saturday 2nd August 2014
Doncaster Rovers’ pre-season campaign ended with a narrow defeat to local rivals Rotherham United, of the Sky Bet Championship, courtesy of goals from Matt Derbyshire and Ryan Hall.
Though new signing Curtis Main responded for the hosts, they could not repeat the feat of six days earlier when they came back to draw 2-2 with fellow South Yorkshire side Sheffield Wednesday.
Striker Main, who arrived in midweek, was one of a number of positives for Paul Dickov in a performance where his side were equal to their more illustrious counterparts for large parts of the game.
Captain Rob Jones returned to the fold after a lengthy lay off following his serious neck injury, while new loan goalkeeper Jed Steer started between the sticks for the first time following his arrival from Premier League side Aston Villa.
The visitors could, and arguably should, have been down to ten men when centre half Craig Morgan hauled Rovers front man Nathan Tyson down in the box in what was an even and fairly lacklustre first half.
Neither efforts from former Rover’s Jordan Bowery or Paul Green troubled Steer and, when he was beaten by a smart finish from Matt Derbyshire, the goal was chalked off for offside.
Bowery looked to have broken the deadlock just after the break when he poked over the onrushing Steer, only to see his strike partner Derbyshire apply the finishing touch and have another effort ruled out for offside.
The former Blackburn and Olympiakos striker was not to be denied a third time, however, and hesitation in the Rovers six yard box saw Derbyshire poke past a stunned Steer.
Things quickly went from bad to worse for the hosts in a spell which Paul Dickov would later describe as “naïve”. Millers midfielder Lee Frecklington got to the byline before pulling back for Hall to drill in to the turf from the edge of the area and past a despairing Steer for 2-0.
Rovers showed that they weren’t going to buckle though, and the youngsters who were called upon to ‘step up’, by their manager in the week, did so towards the end.
A sumptuous ball from Marc De Val slipped in Main who, with his first real chance of the afternoon, finished with aplomb to endear himself to the Rovers faithful.
Late efforts from Harry Forrester and Luke McCullough didn’t trouble Scott Loach in to anything too pressing late on and bragging rights, for now, belong to United.
Rovers: Steer, Wabara (Lund), Evina, Jones (Wakefield, 46), McCullough, Bennett (Forrester, 46), Coppinger, Keegan, Furman (De Val), Tyson (Peterson), Robinson (Main, 46).
Subs not used – Whitehouse, Middleton.
Rotherham: Collin, Brindley, Skarz, Morgan, Broadfoot, Pringle, Frecklington, Green, Hall, Bowery, Derbyshire.
*Loach, Arnason, Wood, Milson, Newton, Sadler, Tidser, Swift, Yates all featured in the second half*
Subs not used – Agard, Revell.