Poor formation, substitutions and defensive errors – 3 things we learnt from Doncaster

Rovers fell to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Doncaster in Rovers’ first home game of the season. Here’s 3 things we learnt from the defeat.


Poor Formation

It is that simple. Mowbray got it wrong against Doncaster and he has to hold his hands up and admit that. To play with a back 5, which i found to be far too flat, with a lone man up top when playing at home is ridiculous. Mowbray seems insistent on playing a back 3 with wing backs, and when executed this can work, but so far though it hasn’t.
Graham is left far too isolated, the 4 in midfield leave too much of a gap between themselves and the Graham. ┬áThe ball goes up and come straight back, there’s no outlet, no one to pick up the ball and run with it, and I don’t remember a single chance created in that first half. The formation has to change, if Mowbray refuses to adapt then fans will be fast to get on his back and after what we’ve been through, who can blame them?

Mixed Substitutions

We saw the good and the bad with the subs made today. The introduction of Samuel and Dack made positive impacts, the same can’t be said about Ben Gladwin even though I thought he played well. For a 5 minute period when the first two changes were made we looked dangerous. Dack was direct, tricky and skilful. He looked to make things happen, something we had lacked at the start of the match. Samuel was a handful, he looked to put pressure on the defenders and offered mobility another thing we had lacked.

Gladwin, whilst playing well when he came on, was the wrong substitution. The decision to change to a flat 3 in defence with no recognised full back, besides Nyambe who was being utilised at centre half, baffled me. I can only assume it was Bennett and Gladwin’s job to act as wing backs. It left us far too open, and it was no surprise that as soon as that sub was made, Doncaster started a counter attack and won the penalty.

Defensive Errors

Despite a terrible performance, Doncaster failed to threaten once in a lacklustre first half. That soon changed as within a minute of kick off, Elliot Ward’s error left Marquis one on one with Raya to put Doncaster one up. The third goal again, what Raya is doing heading it where he heads it I do not know. I can completely understand him coming out and doing what he did, head it straight though. He’s tried to play it too smartly and has gifted them another goal. These errors have to be stamped out. It’s not time to make major changes just yet, and I wouldn’t make the decision to drop the young Spaniard after just 2 games but we must see improvement. We also ┬ámissed Lenihan sorely today and if Sheffield United do manage to land him, then we need to find a replacement fast. We can have all the attacking quality in the world, but if we continue to concede silly goals like today, it won’t matter.

All in all, it isn’t time to panic just yet. I can understand the frustration and I am suffering it with you. 2 games in with 2 defeats looks bad but there is plenty of football to be played and, call me foolish, I’m still confident that come end of the season we will be celebrating promotion back to the Championship.