Analysis & video highlights: Doncaster Rovers 2 Wycombe Wanderers 2

Matty Blair
Matty Blair

A combination of injuries and individual mistakes have probably prevented Doncaster Rovers’ good start to the season being an excellent one.

And an eventful draw with Wycombe Wanderers almost encapsulated Rovers’ first 15 games inside a topsy-turvy 90 minutes.

During a first half that saw Darren Ferguson’s men dig in and recover from going a goal down to deservedly lead at the interval, Doncaster gave a snapshot of their undoubted quality at this level - quality which has seen them rise to third place in League Two with almost a third of the campaign completed.

Tommy Rowe, James Coppinger and John Marquis linked up superbly in attack and at times the Chairboys struggled to live with Rovers when they broke at pace and got into wide areas.

The return of Rowe to the tip of the midfield diamond, with Coppinger playing slightly further forward, coincided with the midfielder’s best display this term and his enforced withdrawal at half-time would ultimately prove to have a huge bearing on what turned out to be a very disappointing outcome.

It was Coppinger who beat the offside trap to burst clear and tee up Rowe for a well-taken equaliser just before the half-hour mark.

Star man Tommy Rowe. Pictures: Chris Etchells

Star man Tommy Rowe. Pictures: Chris Etchells

And shortly before half-time Marquis showed there is a lot more to his game than just working hard and bringing others into play when he slalomed his way through the Wycombe defence before coolly wrong-footing goalkeeper Jamal Blackman to give his side the lead.

However, just like Doncaster’s season so far, the flashes of excellence were accompanied by costly wrongdoings.

Both Wycombe goals resulted from awful individual errors from young goalkeeper Ross Etheridge, whose confidence now looks shot.

He dropped Joe Jacobson’s cross which allowed Matt Bloomfield to hook the visitors into a scarcely-deserved lead.

John Marquis

John Marquis

And when Rovers appeared to be somewhat cruising to a 2-1 victory - and were under very little pressure - Etheridge inexplicably spilled a routine shot from Paris Cowan-Hall and Bloomfield gratefully knocked home the rebound.

Rovers had literally dropped two points, losing ground on Plymouth and Carlisle in the process and also missing an opportunity to extend the gap to fourth place.

Especially given all their injuries, third in the table still represents a very solid start to Operation Promotion.

But with fewer individual errors and a bit more clinicalness in both boxes, Ferguson’s men would have been sitting much prettier.

ROSS’S HORROR SHOW

Etheridge’s only excuse was his lack of match practice, a situation not helped by Rovers no longer fielding a team in the Third Development League.

But both the cross and shot that resulted in goals should have been meat and drink for the stopper.

The youngster did not need telling he had cost his team two points. But nor did he need those ironic cheers from the Keepmoat Stadium crowd either.

INJURY CURSE

The injury to Tommy Rowe just about summed up Rovers’ cruel luck this season.

By his standards, Rowe has had a fairly quiet few months and shown only glimpses of the class he displayed at the end of last season.But no sooner had he clicked into top gear on Saturday, he became the latest player to leave the ground on crutches.

RUTHLESSNESS REQUIRED

Rovers in the second half looked like a team who weren’t really sure whether to stick or twist when they were 2-1 up - and ultimatelythey paid the price.

With a crucial winter period now on the horizon, they need to become much more adept at making their dominance count and/or seeing games out.

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