Within seconds of a League Cup semi-final...In countdown to James Coppinger’s Legends game at Keepmoat Stadium on April 19th, we are reviewing each season played in the red and white hoops by the fans favourite.
Yesterday we reviewed his debut season in a Rovers shirt, while the club were still at Belle Vue.
Coppinger and Rovers were due to become more prominent figures.
An inauspicious start to the season from Dave Penney’s side in the league was offset by their Carling Cup exploits and a dramatic penalty shoot out win over Premier League outfit Manchester City at a rocking Belle Vue.
Just three days after those heroics, Coppinger bore the brunt of a feisty South Yorkshire derby at Oakwell and was the standout performer as he was kicked from pillar to post by Barnsley who had two men sent off and shipped two goals.
Coppinger’s first Doncaster goal came in a routine home win over Bristol City and whilst it was a momentous milestone for the midfielder, a huge team effort three days later saw Doncaster comprehensively sweep another Premier League giant aside in the League Cup as Aston Villa were hammered 3-0.
A quarter final appearance against the mighty Arsenal beckoned for Penney’s men and Coppinger played his part in another tie that went to a penalty shootout though the Guisborough born man was withdrawn in extra time; two minutes before Paul Green’s strike put the hosts 2-1 up although they were to eventually bow out courtesy of the lottery of spot kicks.
Coppinger’s season took a turn for the worse as the team went a month without a win and, once they did; he was red carded in a tangle at Scunthorpe with Steve Torpey.
The South Yorkshire side ploughed on nonetheless and were dark horses for a tilt at the play-offs entering the final month of the season. Coppinger was the goalscorer in three consecutive 1-0 wins (over Walsall, Southend and Oldham) to leave Rovers still in with a mathematical chance of the top six.
Though a final day win over Tranmere saw Doncaster uphold their end of the bargain, Coppinger and his teammates had to settle for 8th place, an agonising two points off sixth place Swansea City.