Rovers 1 York 1: Paul Goodwin’s Verdict

Rovers' David Cotterill runs past York's Lee Bullock. Picture: Andrew Roe
Rovers' David Cotterill runs past York's Lee Bullock. Picture: Andrew Roe

“OUR passing wasn’t good enough,” complained Dean Saunders after Saturday’s low key start to the season.

Saunders was putting Doncaster’s ring-rustiness kindly.

His criticism was also a back-handed compliment to a York side that gave Doncaster’s middle men very little space and time on the ball.

But that is something Rovers will have to get used to very quickly in League One.

On the day that Brian Stock’s protracted move to Burnley eventually went through, the former Welsh international was just the type of player that the home side lacked - someone to get the ball down and dictate the flow of the game.

Paul Keegan laboured after being handed the chance to impress in a midfield anchor role, while Martin Woods struggled to influence the game.

What was most confusing was why Rovers seemed to abolish some of the neat passing interplay that offered encouragement during pre-season?

Instead Tommy Spurr in particular chose to by-pass the midfield with chipped balls forward to Chris Brown, who spent most of the game with his back to goal and isolated in attack.

There’s nothing at all wrong with a more direct approach and Brown did his job of holding the ball up very well at times.

But on Saturday it resulted in key men James Coppinger and David Cotterill being starved of possession.

They remained on the fringe of the game for the most part; credit again to the way York worked hard off-the-ball and pressed Rovers.

But with the key creators kept quiet, goalscoring chances were at a premium.

Rovers looked very much like a team still getting to grips with new instructions and a new pattern of play - and they will hope to address their issues in time for this weekend’s trip to Walsall.

The priority has to be not surrendering possession so easily.

From back to front Rovers were guilty of giving the ball away cheaply.

And against a Walsall side who like to get it down and attack at pace, and in numbers, that could prove costly if repeated.

Rovers (4-4-1-1): Woods 7, Quinn (Wakefield 95) 6, Jones 7, Spurr 6, Husband 6; Coppinger 6, Keegan (Syers 59) 5, Woods 6, Cotterill (Blake 106) 5; Brown 7, Bennett 6. Unused substitutes: Maxted.