Fan’s Eye View vs Doncaster

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As strolls from pub to ground go then the view one takes in en route to the Keepmoat in Doncaster can have few betters. The tree lined path round & between the man made lake & hills adjoining the Donny Rovers ground was embellished just before kick off last night by a rainbow, one that surely had one end a crock of gold lying beneath the arch of Wembley stadium. It’s all relative of course, I’m not suggesting Michael Palin should head up the M18 with his cameras, only that it makes a change from picking your way amongst the rubble that surrounds the Riverside stadium for instance.

The view from row C of the away end on the other hand isn’t quite so inspiring. It’s like sitting on the floor of an empty & abandoned B&Q staring up at the signs for builders equipment  left hanging above the aisles. (Where the Polypipe mate?  Blocks three and four in the home end sir.) It’s yet another soulless identikit stadium but a vast improvement on the Belle Vue according to the locals so who am I to argue. Everything in the ground is sponsored and tagged, in fact every home substitution was also sponsored as well. You’ve got to get your money where you can obviously and I’ll always have fond memories of my night out in the Case Construction Stand North.

The first ten minutes of the game saw one of the biggest non-referee induced injustices I’ve ever seen on a football field. The action consisted of a blur of red and white hooped shirts as the home team made a mess of our makeshift defence. In our yellow kit Hutton, Bassong, O’Hara and Giovani were like bananas in a blender as Stock, Woods and Oster moved the ball round at speed in front of our left hand side. Cudicini made a series of spectacular saves, the best one probably being the very first stop from a point bank volley. And the result of this passage of play? Ridiculously we had a 2-0 lead. Firstly Huddlestone snuck forward (how can you not see Big Tom coming?) to pick off a pass across the defence and then, somehow managing to make it look like it was something he does every day, casually roll a shot under the keeper. Then a minute or so later O’Hara collected a David Bentley cut back on the edge of the box and curled a right-foot (yes, right foot) shot over Smith in goal.

All noise from the home supporters, so fired up by their side’s start, now dried up. The Spurs fans began a roll call of the team that pretty much carried on all night as the goals gave us confidence and must have left them thinking of a call to the cops to report a mugging. The word in the pub from the locals had been that Rovers play great football but never look like scoring but I never expected to see such blatant evidence.

At the end of the first half Peter Crouch got his head to a Bentley corner and in the second Bentley himself finished very skilfully with a curled left foot strike after some good work by Giovani for our third and fourth goals. As the game drifted Redknapp brought on Boateng & Rose to give Bassong & Big Tom a bit of a rest and Cudicini came off to give David Button his debut. Rovers got one back when Boateng slipped and handballed for a pen and then they hit the post after a lovely move down the left but a generally miserable looking Pavlyuchenko took a one-on-one chance to make it a repeat of last Wednesday’s result. Three away wins in 8 days, two of them by 5-1? “Top of the League and we’re havin’ a laugh” indeed.


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