The final chapter.
All week we have been bringing you the best examples of Doncaster Rovers’ battling qualities in the face of adversity; where the odds have been stacked against the club and we have emerged on the other side with, usually, something to show for our endeavours.
We’ve taken you from play-off semi-finals against Chester City at Belle Vue to a Championship win over Derby County in front of 33,000 people – via memorable and momentous games against Mansfield Town and Crewe Alexandra.
This is our last offering, and it doesn’t get much better.
27th April 2013
npower League 1
Griffin Park, London
Doncaster Rovers 1 (Coppinger, 90+6)
Renowned for his assured touch throughout his decade with the club, James Coppinger’s initial contact with Billy Paynter’s square ball was decidedly shaky for a midfielder of Coppinger’s quality.
Maybe it’s because he can’t believe what is happening. Maybe it’s because the Rovers fans jammed in to the two tier stand at one end of Griffin Park can’t believe their eyes.
It may have been a leaden touch from Coppinger’s boot, but in all likelihood his entire right leg was akin to gelatine.
The next, all important touch was as decisive a coup de grace as you are ever likely to witness: a prod of the ball home from a mere three yards with an empty net in front of him and an empty penalty area behind him.
Promotion hadn’t just been signed and sealed, the title had just been delivered, but where was everybody else?
For every player wearing a red and white striped shirt with their head in the hands in the Doncaster penalty box, there was a green shirt wheeling off in several directions in sheer unbridled joy.
The Brentford players weren’t just holding their heads either; they were scratching them too – what had just happened? How had that happened?
Coppinger had no right to have the final word; that privilege belonged to Marcello Trotta.
However, the Bees striker Trotta, a young loanee from Fulham, turned the privilege to pain in one swift slash at the ball with his left foot.
The football, placed on the penalty spot as a result of Jamie McCombe’s alleged handball just moments before, was only spared the roof of the stand by Neil Sullivan’s crossbar.
‘Inches’ is the only way of measuring how close Brentford came to automatic promotion and how close Doncaster were to being consigned to the rigours of the play-offs.
It may as well have been miles.
Uwe Rosler’s men couldn’t force home a winner in the ensuing scramble and Rovers were just glad to clear their lines.
It’s safe to say they did a bit more than that on a Saturday afternoon in West London.
Do you agree? Get in touch @drfc_official using the hashtag #RoversSpirit and share your thoughts.