Analysis: First goal the winner at Doncaster Rovers

Curtis Main celebrates his goal against Bristol City with Richie Wellens.
Curtis Main celebrates his goal against Bristol City with Richie Wellens.

First the goal the winner.

It sounds like a playground game, but it’s becoming a very serious business for Doncaster Rovers.

Without analysing every other team in League One, the following stats might lack a bit of context.

But they only add further fuel to the suggestion that the first goal counts for (almost) everything when it comes to Doncaster.

Rovers have won 87 per cent of games in which they have scored the first goal this season (13/15). That’s a very high conversion rate in anyone’s book.

In the 22 games that Rovers have conceded first, they have lost 64 per cent of them. That’s a ratio that Paul Dickov probably feels is too high, but nothing too out of the ordinary. His side have come from a goal down to win four games and also draw four.

However, it is notable that Doncaster’s powers of recovery are significantly stronger on the road.

Only once this season have Rovers come from a goal down at the Keepmoat to win (v Crewe) and once to draw (v Preston).

Further to that, exactly two thirds (66.7%) of games at the Keepmoat have been won by the team scoring first. Away from home that figure is 60.9%.

Ultimately, when Rovers take the lead they are adept at seeing the job through.

Concede first, particularly at home, and they typically find it hard to claw their way back into the contest.

So while Dickov took heart from Rovers’ second half display against Bristol City on Tuesday night, he’ll want one thing more than anything when Colchester visit the Keepmoat tomorrow - his team to score first.