Match analysis: Blackburn Rovers 1 Doncaster Rovers 3 - Impressive performance gives Rovers first ever win at Blackburn

Alfie May  scored the third for Doncaster Rovers
Alfie May scored the third for Doncaster Rovers

This League One lark is not so bad after all.

OK, no one should be getting carried away with anything after only three games of a season.

But Rovers’ impressive start has raised positivity and optimism for a good campaign ahead back in the third tier.

It is difficult not to be impressed and optimistic following Saturday’s excellent win at promotion favourites Blackburn Rovers.

A disciplined performance from start to finish brought a well-deserved victory and a result which should act as a statement to their divisional rivals.

Goals from John Marquis, James Coppinger and Alfie May secured a first win at Blackburn in Rovers’ history.

That substitute Dominic Samuel denied Rovers a clean sheet was the only blot on the copybook of a superb afternoon.

Two wins in four days over top sides in League One has significantly helped to banish fears there could be a repeat of what happened the last time Rovers were at this level.

In fact there is growing hope Rovers could replicate what happened when they were in the third tier the time before that.


It was a match that began as a tentative tactical battle with both sides happy to keep the ball in midfield and defence and patiently wait for openings.

But, surprisingly, Rovers were much more eager to loosen the self-imposed shackles and just attack Blackburn.

The hosts were ponderous, unimaginative and unambitious. Success will not come for their star-packed squad if they do not loosen up a bit.

Rovers initially operated with caution but, without throwing it to the wind entirely, they grew more and more positive and probed harder for openings.

Darren Ferguson labelled the performance as ‘mature.’ Measured words as well.


Who would have guessed that Ben Whiteman would emerge as the player most key to what Rovers are all about?

He has the deep-lying midfield role locked in a vice-like grip after only three games of the season and three very impressive performances.

Whether it is using his physicality to break up opposition play or dropping deep to help the defence, Whiteman works his socks off doing the less glamourous stuff.

But then he will show off his impressive technical ability and brilliant range of passing.

The Sheffield United loanee is the pivot on which Rovers operate right now and proved so again at Ewood Park with another classy showing.

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Rovers had the edge in the first half but certainly wrestled control in the second, taking the lead just 44 seconds after the break.

Former Rovers loanee Elliott Ward had a nightmare attempting to control Charlie Mulgrew’s pass and Marquis nipped in, charging forward and slamming a shot past David Raya.

Rovers were handed the opportunity to double the lead on 67 minutes with a pretty soft penalty decision.

Coppinger raced clear on the break and, just as he shaped to shoot, he was felled by Mulgrew, who seemed to claim the ball before the man. Coppinger dusted himself down and smashed the spot kick past Raya, who went the wrong way.

The win was wrapped up eight minutes from time. After rushing out, Raya attempted to nod down a long ball to one of his centre halves but got little on it, allowing May to nip in and slot into an empty net from 20 yards.

Blackburn did get on the scoresheet with three minutes to go when Samuel beat Andy Butler to head in a deflected cross.


What Rovers lacked the previous week they had in abundance at Ewood Park.

Rovers should have two wins on the board, such was their dominance over Gillingham on the opening day.

The fact they followed up the goalless draw with a win is thanks in considerable part to a killer touch in front of goal.

Marquis simply put his laces through the shot which brought the opening goal, showing no signs of hesitation.

And once May had clear sight of goal after capitalising on Raya’s error, he shot and scored without any hint of hesitation.

Good chances will be harder to come by this season. To see Rovers taking three is a major positive.