All the build up to Saturday's clash with Brighton and Hove Albion.
The Amex Stadium awaits this weekend as Rovers look to add another positive result on the back of the draw against Middlesbrough at home and also the chance to extend the unbeaten run to five games against Brighton and Hove Albion. Arguably it is the perfect time to face the Seagulls who have only picked up one point from their last three games.
Rovers were the first visitors to the newly built Amex in competitive action in August 2011 and they snatched a late victory after Billy Sharp had given Rovers a first half lead, so a reversal of that result will be motivation enough for Paul Dickov’s side to pick up more vital points.
Over 20,000 packed into the new stadium expecting big things from their side but it was Rovers who were looking the likely winners right from the off.
Just two minutes into proceedings Billy Sharp tested the reflexes of Casper Ankergren who did well to save the striker’s low shot with his feet. The early onslaught continued as Tommy Spurr rattled a half volley just over the frame of the goal as the home fans feared the worst.
Craig Mackail-Smith won a free kick that Kazenga LuaLua fired on target but Gary Woods saved well to halt what would have been an undeserved opener for the hosts.
The Rovers passing and movement was bamboozling the home side and when James Coppinger found Sharp in the box, the Brighton supporters feared the worst but his curling effort went inches wide of the goal. Frustration levels were rising amongst the home supporters, players and management and it was compounded when LuaLua was shown a yellow card for simulation, Seagull’s manager Gus Poyet remonstrated a little too vigourously and he was sent to the stand.
Things then got worse for the hosts as Rovers got the goal their performance had so far deserved. Ryan Mason did well to regain possession from Gary Dicker and he fed Sharp who hit the net despite Ankergren getting something on the ball to send Rovers into the break with a one goal advantage.
However, following the restart Rovers were dealt a body blow when Sharp had to be stretchered off following a hard tackle by Lewis Dunk. And the home side looked to grow in confidence knowing that they didn’t have to deal with the movement of Sharp for the remainder of the game.
Rovers rearguard did themselves proud as the home supporters urged their side on and when the did make the breakthrough, Woods was still in no mood to let the lead slip saving brilliantly from Mackail-Smith.
Will Buckley was introduced with just over 15 minutes to go as Brighton pressed forward looking for an equaliser and the sub did the trick, twice within the final eight minutes to give the hosts the points. It was cruel on Rovers who more than deserved a share of the spoils.
Goals have been at a premium in the last five games between the sides with an average of just two per game being scored. There has also been two goalless draws played between the two sides in the last ten meetings, 2007 in Doncaster and a meeting on Valentines Day 1998.
The aforementioned game on February 14th 1998 was the last time the sides met in February, and it also followed a win for the Seagulls in the first league meeting of the season by 3-1 in South Yorkshire, much like this season.
Rovers will be looking to add to a relatively low goal average against the Seagulls which currently sits at just under a goal per game, however, the host’s record isn’t much better with just over a goal per game. BUT in their last three visits to the South Coast, Rovers do average a goal per game.
This game will be just the fourth time the two teams have met in the second tier, with all but one of the previous encounters being played out in either of the bottom two divisions. The other one game between the sides was the first meeting of the two, in the FA Cup in December 1931.
You can get great odds with Football League Sponsors Sky Bet who have Doncaster Rovers at 11/2 to record a victory at the AMEX Stadium.
Brighton and Hove Albion 8/15
Doncaster Rovers 11/2
To open an account with Sky Bet CLICK HERE
* Odds subject to change, correct as of 06/02/14
Rovers Player will be broadcasting Live audio commentary of the game. Don't miss a kick with out match day commentary team Glen Wilson & Chris Donald.
Get in touch with the commentary team on air, tweet @drfc_official with the hashtag #drfclive
Subscribe to Rovers Player can experience all of the below.
• Live Audio Commentary
• Extended Match Highlights
• Full Match Replays
• Exclusive Manager and Player Interviews
• TV News
Click HERE to subscribe