A week which brought renewed hope to Rovers

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SATURDAY: Doncaster Rovers again showed that they are becoming a hard side to beat at the Keepmoat Stadium when holding high-flying Brighton to a 1-1 draw.

Although Rovers boss Dean Saunders said he would have settled for a point before the game, he felt post-match that his side had done enough to take all three.

I thought Brighton a little disappointing and I didn’t think much of manager Gus Poyet blaming the pitch, which he described as being ‘horrendous’ by way of an explanation.

The game saw the return of the Vikettes, still the only dance troupe connected to a Championship club as far as I know, after being dropped by Rovers a year or so ago. They seemed to go down quite well.

SUNDAY: Those rugby league supporters, and there still are some, who hanker for a return to winter rugby should have been at the South Leeds Stadium for the Dons’ final Northern Rail Cup Pool B game against Hunslet Hawks.

Heavy rain had left the pitch decidedly soggy and you could tell during the warm-up that there wasn’t going to be a lot of running rugby, which there wasn’t.

The first-half was riddled with handling mistakes, particularly from the Dons, and my enjoyment of the game wasn’t helped by the fact that I had left my woolly hat at home and was frozen and that I had to move to a seat further back in the stand as the rain was coming into the press area at the front of the main stand.

Thankfully I’d left the computer on charge all night (by mistake) so I had plenty of life in the battery.

The half-time entertainment was provided by a very young dance group performing to One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful.

Bearing in mind I dreamt that I was playing against Rovers’ Kyle Bennett recently after interviewing him, I was hoping that I didn’t dream that I was in One Direction - surely one of the most over-hyped acts in modern times - that night. Thankfully I didn’t. Not that I’d admit it in this column if I had.

The second half was better and Tony Miller’s men could have snatched victory.

MONDAY: Rovers hopes of beating off relegation suffered a blow when a scan revealed the extent of skipper Brian Stock’s groin injury sustained in Saturday’s game against Brighton - a grade two tear 10cm long.

Stock now faces missing most of the run-in where the experience gained in last season’s battle to stay up would have been useful.

Stock, who said he was ‘gutted’ to be told he could be out for up to six weeks, doesn’t like missing any games but hailing from the area he’ll be particularly disappointed to miss the game against title-chasing Southampton at St Mary’s later this month.

TUESDAY: It has been a long time coming but Doncaster Rovers were good value for their first away win in four months against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Forest had gone into the game on the back of an unbeaten three-match run but they looked far from a confident side and if they had played as badly as they did on the night, it’s no wonder they have the worst home record in the Championship.

The City Ground is normally a very passionate place but the Forest fans were remarkably quiet throughout.

They were stunned into silence when loan striker Frederic Piquionne gave Rovers the lead with a superb debut goal on the stroke of half-time. Even more so when Kyle Bennett added a second just after the break.

Forest huffed and puffed and did pull a goal back with a deflected shot but a team with the quality they’ve got in the side should have asked more questions of Rovers.

It was a good night for Rovers but wins for both Millwall and Bristol City took some of the gloss off their 2-1 win.

Former Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll, now the Forest first-team coach, was often criticised during his time with Keepmoat club for not showing much emotion on the touchline so I found it mildly amusing when he was asked to return to his seat by the fourth official after trying to urge the home team on in the first half outside the technical area.

O’Driscoll wasn’t the only former Rovers boss at the match - his predecessor Dave Penney was acting as a summariser for Radio Sheffield alongside the excellent Paul Walker.

I had a few words with Dave, who had a brief chat with Dean Saunders as he came out to do a post-match interview on the pitch, in the media room at the break, but I didn’t see O’Driscoll to speak to.