Doncaster Rovers 3 Blackpool 3: Lack of concentration cost us victory, says Darren Ferguson
'I have to find a way of beating these, it's doing my head in,' joked Darren Ferguson after his side's 3-3 draw with Blackpool.
If you believe in bogey clubs then look no further than the Tangerines.
They virtually consigned Rovers to relegation when they won 1-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium last year.
They repeated that scoreline in April to complete a double over Doncaster last season.
And on Saturday they simply refused to roll over as they came from behind three times to earn a share of the spoils from what Ferguson described as an ‘unusual’ game.
Blackpool have never lost at the Keepmoat Stadium and have now gone nine league games unbeaten in Doncaster.
Ferguson’s problem was not with the visitors, though, who he accepted had scored two excellent goals through Sean Longstaff and Oliver Turton.
It was with his own players’ lack of concentration and nous as they continued to surrender their advantage and twice conceded within seconds of scoring.
“When you’re three times in the lead you would have to say it’s two points dropped,” he said.
“I thought we controlled large parts of the game so I’m slightly disappointed.
“I think we’ve got ourselves to blame for not winning the match.
“Sometimes you have to say the opposition did this or that but we’ve done it to ourselves with just lapses of concentration.
“It’s rare that you get two goals of the quality of Blackpool’s first two in one game.
“But the third goal is terrible. It’s less than a minute after we score and we’ve not touched the ball.
“I thought with concentration and being careless, we’ve done that too much for my liking.”
story of the match
Clearly confident following their excellent 3-1 win at Blackburn, Rovers were on top during the early part of this game and had a good opportunity when Tommy Rowe and John Marquis raced clear only for the latter to be forced wide and see his shot blocked.
The home side survived a huge let-off when, against the run of play, Mark Cullen went clean through on goal only to pull his hamstring and play no further part in the game.
Callum Cooke replaced Cullen and his extra bite in midfield allowed Blackpool to wrestle back some control.
However, it was Rovers that went ahead on 37 minutes when Rowe’s 20-yard half volley hit the crossbar and went in off the back of goalkeeper Ryan Allsop.
The hosts were caught off guard from the re-start, however, when Longstaff found space 25 yards out and smashed a stunning effort past Ian Lawlor.
Rovers retook the lead before half time when Matty Blair headed back across the face of goal and John Marquis converted from close range with a clever bicycle kick.
The lead lasted 20 minutes this time, before Turton cut in the from the right and curled a delightful left-footed effort into the far top corner.
Blackpool sensed an opportunity to go and win the game and threatened to score next.
But it was Rovers who went ahead for a third time when Clark Robertson failed to clear Blair’s cross and super-sub Alfie May prodded in from six yards.
The home side’s joy quickly turned to anguish, however, as straight from the kick off they worked the ball into the Doncaster area and Cooke coolly sidefooted home the third and final equaliser.
CASE FOR THE DEFENCE
Despite conceding three goals at home, and switching off twice immediately after scoring, Ferguson was keen to absolve his defenders of the blame.
“The third goal was really poor defensively from us a team,” he said.
“The second goal we need to stop the shot quicker but it’s one hell of a shot. Nine times out of ten their first two goals don’t go in most Saturdays. We conceded three and everyone will be screaming ‘it’s the defence’. I thought my defence were fine.
“It wasn’t an issue with the defenders, it was what was in front of them.
“I felt the early part of the second half we lost a grip of the game in midfield. We weren’t aggressive enough.
“When it went to 2-2 I changed the shape [to 3-5-2] and matched them up and it helped us get control of the game again.
“I thought we finished the game very strongly but our conentration let us down.”
IMPACT FROM THE BENCH
Alfie May’s impact from the bench has been noticeable, coming on to score for two Saturdays in succession.
He gives the side a real lift, energy and spirit when he appears.
And Rodney Kongolo did the same this weekend, bolstering the midfield during the closing stages - although the youngster appeared to fail to track the run of Cooke for the third equaliser.
ON THE PLUS SIDE
The Rovers players trudged off the pitch with glum faces at the final whistle, knowing they had let two points slip from their grasp.
But on the flip side they remain unbeaten this season. And with nine goals in their last three games, goalscoring is not proving to be a problem.
“We’ve got goals in the team, all over the team,” said Ferguson.
“John’s got two on the bounce, Alfie May’s got two on the bounce [in the league], Rowey’s got off the mark.
“We just need to concentrate better.”