The national stage...Keepmoat Stadium is due to host a ‘Legends’ game on Sunday 19th April 2015 (4pm) in honour of club captain James Coppinger.
In the build up to the fixture between a ‘Coppinger XI’ and a ‘Louis Tomlinson XI’, we are reviewing each of the season’s played in the red and white by the 34 year old fans favourite.
Coppinger was set to put Sean O’Driscoll’s ‘total football’ philosophy in to practice and on a national stage.
The season got off to an auspicious start for the South Yorkshire side until they visited South Wales and came from behind to defeat Roberto Martinez’s Swansea City courtesy of Richie Wellens’ double.
Out of the League Cup, FA Cup and Football League Trophy by mid-November, Rovers turned on the style over the Christmas and New Year period, accumulating wins over Crewe, Northampton, Southend, Carlisle and Leeds United – conceding just one goal in the process.
The 1-0 win over Leeds at Elland Road was a pivotal moment in the club’s history and Coppinger was intrinsic to the settled midfield which contained Stock, Green and Wellens at the peak of their powers.
A 4-0 humbling at the hands of end of season Champions Swansea on a Friday – while a good spectacle for the neutral – showed how far Rovers had to go.
It proved to be the poke in the eye that Rovers required and they proceeded to win nine of their next ten games. The pinnacle of which came in a 3-0 rout at The New Den where Rovers produced a stunning display and registered over 30 shots on target – one of which was Coppinger’s first goal of the season.
Coppinger was to score only twice more in the regular season; both came in wins against Tranmere and Gillingham.
Rovers were patchy in the home straight but still had their fate in their own hands when entering the last game of the season against Cheltenham Town at Whaddon Road. Rovers needed to better Nottingham Forest’s result to earn promotion to the Championship.
They failed in heartbreaking fashion, but would come back stronger in the lottery of the play offs thanks to their ‘go-to’ man, Coppinger.
After a nervy 0-0 draw against Southend in the first leg of the semi final at Roots Hall, Coppinger stepped up to the plate in spectacular fashion and scored a hat-trick of epic proportions that went down in Rovers folklore as O’Driscoll’s men romped to a 5-1 win.
Their reward was a tricky looking final against Leeds United at Wembley.
Had the Keepmoat outfit peaked too soon?
A 1-0 win thanks to James Hayter banished any doubts of that.
And many more are some of the names who will be present at the Legends game. Click below to secure your tickets or call 01302 762576.