Rovers signed off their pre-season campaign with a battling performance in a goal-filled defeat against Championship side Wolves.Saturday 1st August, 2015.
Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Pre Season Friendly, Kick off 3:00pm
Rovers – 3 (Butler 19’, Jones 45’, Tyson 47’)
Wolves – 4 (Afobe 21’, Graham 28’, Dicko 36’, Enobakhare 63’)
Paul Dickov and Kenny Jackett may call their team in for some urgent training to defend corners as a lively first half produced five goals, three of which came from the set-play.
The first real chance of the afternoon was from a different kind of set piece as Harry Forrester’s 6th minute free-kick sailed wide of former Rover Carl Ikeme’s right hand post.
Current Rovers stopper Thorsten Stuckmann was called into action moments later though as he palmed away a long range effort from James Henry.
Following this the Championship side looked increasingly lively. A lovely link up between Conor Coady and Benik Afobe presented an opportunity for the England U21 striker but solid defence managed to block the shot and the follow up from David Edwards.
However, it was Rovers who drew first blood on 19 minutes when Andy Butler produced a fine headed finish from Forrester's corner.
Unfortunately, Wolves hit back instantly. Dominic Iorfa wasted a one on one chance with Stuckmann and it seemed the chance had gone until Afobe knocked in from the resulting corner.
Forrester looked lively but his efforts down the left hand side were in vain. His cross in the 28th minute allowed Wolves to counter. Nouha Dicko sprinted down the wing, played a low cross stinging Stuckmann’s hands as he pushed the ball into the path of Jordan Graham who tapped home gratefully.
Wolves began to show their dominance as mistakes crept into the Rovers game and they took full advantage ten minutes before half-time as an unmarked Dicko knocked the ball into the net from another corner.
It was the half that kept on giving though and it was another corner which gave Rovers a vital goal. Rob Jones towered above the rest to close the gap as the teams headed into the changing rooms at half time.
Half-time: Rovers 2 Wolves 3
Rovers had only conceded once during their pre-season campaign and they could have been forgiven for being slightly shell-shocked after the first half goal-fest.
With this in mind, Dickov made a few changes at the break and Nathan Tyson made an instant impact, the striker capitalising on a defensive mix-up from Wolves to level the scores with a simple tap in.
Despite conceding 3 goals in the first half, the big German Stuckmann was still in inspired form to deny both Rajiv Van La Parra and Matt Doherty from close range five minutes later.
However, there was nothing he could do to prevent a magnificent solo effort from Bright Enobakhare as he weaved in and out of the Rovers defenders to put the visitors in front in the 63rd minute.
Moments later Ryan Colclough went close but his scissor-kick rolled wide and Wolves began to take control of the match from here.
A quiet 20 minutes followed as substitutions were made by both sides including a debut for new signing Danny N’Guessan.
The winger was unable to inspire Rovers though with an ambitious long range effort from Harry Middleton being the closest they came to equalising.
Wolves could have wrapped the afternoon up in the final minute as Bradley Reid wasted a hat-trick of fine chances but it didn’t matter as the visitors held out to head home with a victory before the season opener next weekend.
Rovers Starting XI: Stuckmann, Lund, Butler, Jones (McCullough 56’), Taylor-Sinclair (Mandeville 83’), Coppinger (Evina 45’), Wellens (Middleton 45’), Keegan (P. McKay 83’), Forrester (Whitehouse 83’), Chaplow (Tyson 45’), Williams (N’Guessan 72’)
Unused Subs: Marosi
Wolves Starting XI: Ikeme, Iorfa, Stearman (c), Hause, Golbourne, Henry, Edwards, Coady, Graham, Afobe, Dicko.
Unused Subs: McCarey, Doherty, E-Landell, Hayden, Deslandes, Price, Evans, Colclough, Ronan, Ebobakhare, van La Parra, Rowe, Reid.