Doncaster Rovers match report: Lincoln City 2 Rovers 0

Alex Peterson against Lincoln City. Photo: Steve Uttley
Alex Peterson against Lincoln City. Photo: Steve Uttley

Pre-season friendly or otherwise, the defeat at Lincoln City was certainly a performance Paul Dickov would like to forget.

Rovers definitely got the pre-season workout they were after against a Conference side who wanted it more at Sincil Bank.

Harry Forrester. Photo: Steve Uttley

Harry Forrester. Photo: Steve Uttley

And the goals from Jordan Burrow and Alan Power weren’t too bad either as the Imps collected a well-deserved 2-0 victory.

For Rovers, it was a good chance for match fitness.

But the worrying part was that there was simply no bite in their play throughout the sun-soaked 90 minutes in Lincolnshire.

On the other hand, City wanted to showcase what they could do against a higher-division side.

Nathan Tyson. Photo: Steve Uttley

Nathan Tyson. Photo: Steve Uttley

Some of the Rovers contingent were playing for their futures as Saturday saw Doncaster field a handful of free agents.

Striker Nathan Tyson, versatile defender Cedric Evina and goalkeepers Jamie Ashdown and Ben Williams all came in.

And they were positives in a largely uneventful performance from Doncaster.

There were also further chances to impress for trialists Peter Clarke, James Bailey and Elliott Kebbie as well as a host of Rovers youngsters.

One big plus was seeing Harry Forrester complete 45 minutes having overcome an injury-ravaged 2013-14 campaign.

The attacking midfielder has said he wants to “pay back” the club who invested in him last season.

And there were flashes of brilliance from the former Brentford man. From deft touches to strong challenges and forward-thinking play, fans got a glimpse of what could come from Forrester during Rovers’ League One campaign.

As a team, Rovers looked sluggish and lacking in any kind of penetration as Lincoln goalkeepers Paul Farman and Luke Chambers had little to do during their Saturday afternoon workout.

It did start promisingly, though, as Doncaster worked the ball nicely into City’s half and ex-Derby County midfielder Bailey blasted a volley over with four minutes on the clock.

But Lincoln were growing in confidence, largely through Ben Tomlinson who ran riot down City’s left, causing chaos for young defender Mitchell Lund in the first half.

Stand-in skipper James Coppinger attempted to rally his troops before being called upon to head away a Tomlinson chance five minutes into the match.

Rovers’ 4-4-1-1 first-half formation struggled to make an impact, with Theo Robinson able only to chase down loose balls.

Tom Miller glanced a header the wrong side of the post in the 13th minute, and it was clear Lincoln were keen to stamp their authority.

Doncaster felt hard done to after a brilliant move involving Robinson, Paul Keegan and Bailey saw Lewis Ferguson go down under a challenge in the area but nothing was given.

Tomlinson was causing even more problems as the half went on, this time setting up Conner Robinson who headed wide at the back post.

Rather than gee up Rovers, that chance galvanised Lincoln as Arnaud Mendy drilled in a shot from the edge of the area that just evaded Williams’ left-hand post.

Farman was still to be tested in the Imps goal as the game was goalless at half-time.

Doncaster’s new XI for the second half gave a chance for fans to see potential future Rovers players.

Tyson, Evina, Ashdown and returning trialist Kebbie were all thrust into action alongside old heads Richie Wellens and Dean Furman.

But they did not even get chance to settle before City had carved out their first chance within seconds of the restart - Mendy crashing an effort into the side-netting at the near post of ex-Leeds United keeper Ashdown.

The next 10 minutes were perhaps Doncaster’s best spell of the game.

There were some assured touches from Evina at left-back as Tyson looked lively up front, making darting runs for Wellens and co to feed into.

Kebbie used his pace well as it looked like the visitors were beginning to take control.

However, Lincoln had other ideas as substitute Jake Caprice unlocked a shaky defence and delivered on to the head of Burrow, who rose above Liam Wakefield with ease to power home a 56th-minute opener.

There was a hint of a response from Kebbie who surged down the left before pulling the ball back into the danger area, but a lack of gamblers in the box summed up Doncaster’s afternoon.

Caprice, a trialist for Lincoln, looked like he was playing for his life as he danced into the area and struck a glorious effort with the outside of his boot, bringing a smart save from Ashdown.

Fom that corner, Doncaster’s defence were sluggish once more as Power rifled in a dipping volley in the 81st minute.

Rovers were stunned but simply not good enough.

They got their desired workout and it was a good chance to see trialists on show, but their lack of intensity needs to be addressed during their training camp in Portugal before their next friendly, against Conference side Grimsby Town on July 22.

Rovers first-half XI: Williams, Lund, McCullough, Clarke, Husband, Keegan, Bailey, Coppinger, Ferguson, Forrester, Robinson.

Rovers second-half XI: Ashdown, Middleton, Askins, Wakefield, Evina, Furman, De Val, Kebbie, Wellens, Tyson, Peterson.

Lincoln: Farman, Miller, Newton, Brown, Diagne, Mendy, Jordan, Power, Robinson, Burrow, Tomlinson. Subs: Chambers, Bencherif, Caprice, Simmons, Everington, Harper.