Mark Whittle discusses the talking points from Rovers’ defeat to Doncaster…
More frustration as Rovers’ poor run in the FA Cup continues
Rovers have now gone four years since progressing further than the third round of the FA Cup – the last victory in this round being a 2-1 win at QPR in 2017.
Some fans may argue and say it is only the cup and it does not matter how we do, but for me, every match matters and I would love to have seen Rovers go on a good FA Cup run. I have always loved the FA Cup and growing up as a kid, and third round day was one of the most exciting days in the football calendar.
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Nowadays, I understand that it is not as prestigious as it used to be, but every fan surely wants their club to have a good cup run? Some of my favourite all time Rovers matches have come in this competition.
However, it is over for another year and even though it is the most used cliché in football, the priority and focus must be the league and a charge for a play-off place in the second half of this season.
Possession game with no final product
The team Mowbray put out was more than capable of seeing us through to the next round. I think we were all excited to see Bradley Dack back in the starting eleven for the first time in 13 months, and was deployed as a ‘false 9’ as Mowbray opted to rest Armstrong, but that did not play to Dack’s strength.
Despite over 60% possession and 20 shots at goal, Rovers failed to create any kind of intensity or creativity to break Doncaster down. In the first half especially, it was all too slow and pedestrian – something which has been labelled at Rovers on several occasions this season and in recent weeks/months – most notably in the first-half of matches. Brereton looked the only player in blue and white who could open the Doncaster defence.
Downing and Travis kept the ball moving in midfield, but you never felt like a goal was going to come. The goal Rovers conceded just before half-time was soft to say the least – again something that has been mentioned once or twice this season, after Richards was allowed space to run in to and his seemingly tame effort went underneath Pears in what turned out to be a nightmare for the ‘keeper, standing in for the ever so reliable Kaminski. It was a case of here we goal again and awfully familiar to recent visits of Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday to Ewood.
This time though, there was to be no comeback in what turned out to be a desperately poor showing.
Is the loss more damaging long-term than just another cup exit?
The cup exit has done Tony Mowbray no favours in terms of how certain sections of the Ewood faithful see his future with the club at present. There has been a growing frustration amongst certain supporters in the last few weeks, and the defeat to Doncaster will not have helped the cause, regardless of it being a cup game or not.
There is no question Rovers had enough quality on the field to win that match, but I think some Rovers fans will be more concerned of the nature of the defeat and what the longer-term damage it could have, rather than just exiting another cup competition.
It is a massive couple of weeks for Mowbray now as two league home matches follow against Stoke City and Swansea City. Both teams with vastly different styles of play in which Rovers will need to find answers to. Personally, I feel Mowbray needs Rovers to be collecting at least four points out of the next two games to keep any further heat and pressure off him.
Stay safe and thanks for reading.