It’s South Yorkshire derby time again this weekend, as Barnsley make the relatively short trip over from Oakwell to face Rovers.
It’s a massive game for both sides but one that, if it goes by previous encounters at home, Rovers should take the spoils.
A win for Rovers would see us move further away from the relegation zone and leave the Reds firmly in trouble as they already sit four points from safety after they threw away a two goal lead against Ipswich Town last weekend.
The 2005/06 season was a memorable one against Barnsley, three games against the Reds during the season and after beating them twice before they visited Belle Vue the omens looked good for Sean O Driscoll’s side in that respect. Rovers went into the game sitting some eleven places below the visitors in the table however, and neutrals may have expected a routine victory for Simon Davey’s team.
Rovers fans welcomed debutant Jason Price to the club as the teams took to the field and shortly after the kick off it was the new striker who went closest to unlocking the visiting defence, he picked up the ball on the left and swung over a pinpoint cross to Michael McIndoe but his effort was deflected just wide. As the half wore on it was easy to see which team was in the ascendency, McIndoe played a wonderful ball from left to right, Dave Mulligan in turn slid the ball through to Price, he sidestepped his marker but unfortunately Nick Colgan in the Barnsley goal managed to save his shot. But with ten minutes to go before the break, Rovers got their noses in front and it was somewhat inevitably, the debutant who was to put his name on the scoresheet.
Kevin Horlock lofted in a lovely ball towards Leo Fortune-West and he nodded the ball into Price’s path who made a lovely connection with the ball to send it into the far corner of the goal past a helpless Colgan. Rovers almost netted a second just before the break following a Mulligan free kick which caused panic in the defence, Fortune-West managed to get a shot in amongst the sea of legs but Colgan somehow saved.
Rovers stood firm as the visitors came out of the traps flying at the start of the second half, with the defence really excelling under considerable pressure from the Reds before turning the game back on Barnsley. David Wheater’s header from a corner won by Ross McCormack was deflected just wide, was a sign of things to come.
With just under 15 minutes played in the second half, Rovers were to strike the killer blow in fine style. Paul Green took possession of the ball in midfield and he played the ball into the path of Price who drilled a low effort across goal and into the bottom corner past a diving Colgan. Much like after the opening goal, Rovers pressed for another, Fortune-West guilty of heading wide from a McIndoe cross, the big striker was then denied by Colgan as the home side threatened to run riot.
As Rovers pressed forward the visitors had their best chance of the game going into the final five minutes of the game, Daniel Nardiello did well to beat Alan Blayney to the ball but his toe poked effort squirmed wide of the frame of the goal with the striker left with his head in his hands.
A deserved three points and an almost perfect debut for Jason Price hoisted Rovers up to 14th place in the table, just one point away from the top ten.
Barnsley Stats (H)
Rovers go into the game ahead in the head to head record between the sides, by virtue of 25 wins to 23, 20 games have ended in a draw.
Over the last five games there has been an average of two goals scored per game, with the last meeting between the sides being the first 0-0 draw in 25 years and only the third over the course of history.
Goals scored is something that Rovers have the advantage over the Reds too, with an average of over 1.5 goals per game against our opponents, who have an average of just over a goal per game. Rovers have scored over 50 goals on home soil in 33 games played in Doncaster, with the visitors netting 38 on their travels.
The highest aggregate score between the two sides was played in Doncaster in 1933/34, a 4-4 draw.
Football League Sponsors Sky Bet have Doncaster Rovers at 11/8 to record a victory at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Doncaster Rovers 11/9
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* Odds subject to change, correct as of 14/02/14
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