Sharp Strike Sees Off City
The Keepmoat, Doncaster
12 December 2009, 15:00
In-form Billy Sharp scored the only goal of the game as City were put to the sword by a slick looking Doncaster side.
With Evander Sno banned after picking up his fifth caution of the season at Leicester on Tuesday, Johnson opted to bring in Marvin Elliott as a straight swap in midfield in order to keep the shape that brought the 3-1 win in midweek.
Surprisingly, there was no place for inspirational skipper Louis Carey as he had to be content with a place on the bench.
Elliott was first to try his luck, firing his shot high over the bar when well placed just inside the Donny box.
James Coppinger responded for the hosts by waltzing past the tackles of McAllister and Nyatanga en route to the City goal on 9 minutes only to blaze his cross into the stand with Billy Sharp well positioned.
Cole Skuse's poor back-header allowed Billy Sharp to skip in on goal before clinically finding the bottom corner from 18 yards, giving Dean Gerken no chance.
The 11th minute strike was his seventh goal of an extremely productive loan spell from neighbours Sheffield United.
Our chances were few and far between. It was another 16 minutes before our first shot on target arrived when Nicky Maynard could only shoot straight at Neil Sullivan.
Maynard had a strong run and shot which worked over Sullivan before Hartley stole a march on Marc Wilson in midfield only to fire just over from distance.
Coppinger once again proved a threat by shooting straight at Gerkin following a flowing move on 40 minutes.
Donny were enjoying plenty of possession in the first half as City were forced to chase shadows, with the home side stroking it around with consumate ease.
So, with Ivan Sproule pulling up clutching his left hamstring just before the break, it came as no surprise that Johnson chose to make changes at half-time.
Gavin Williams replaced Sproule and Alvaro Saborio came on for the ineffective Elliott as City went to a 4-4-2. Williams moved to left midfield, Haynes dropped back to the right and Saborio partnered Maynard up top.
Probably fresh from a half-time bollocking, City came out with more positive intent early in the second half.
Paul Hartley failed to hit the target from a free-kick whilst Saborio's ferocious shot was forced around the post for a corner.
Maynard followed that up by seeing his goalbound shot bravely blocked by James O'Connor and Haynes saw the linesman rule out his effort for offside five minutes after the restart.
Another of the home side's loanees - Simon Gillett - lacked composure at the other end when blazing over with the goal gaping.
Sharp then raced onto a long ball, beating Nyatanga in the process, before hopelessly shanking his effort across goal when clean through.
City were enjoying more possession but no end product as they pressed for the equaliser with Donny seeking to hit us on the counter.
Gavin Williams came closer still on 83 when his shot went wide off the upright from 20-yards.
By this point, O'Driscoll was taking any sting out of the game by making his three subs in the last ten minutes and so it worked as not even the 4 minutes of stoppage time could take away the points from Donny.
DONNY 4-4-1-1: Sullivan, O'Connnor, Chambers, Shackell, Roberts, Wilson, Oster (Spicer 89), Coppinger, Gillet, Sheils (Hird 82), Sharp (Hayter 86).
CITY 4-3-3: Gerkin, Orr, Fontaine, Nyatanga (Johnson 76), McAllister, Elliott (Saborio 46), Skuse, Hartley, Sproule (Williams 46), Maynard, Haynes.
REFEREE: Jarnail Singh (London)
Ran himself into the ground for the City today and looks to have been hard done by having a second-half equaliser chalked off.
Dean Gerken 5
Bradley Orr 6
Jamie McAllister 5
Liam Fontaine 6
Lewin Nyatanga 5
Marvin Elliott 4
Cole Skuse 5
Paul Hartley 6
Ivan Sproule 5
Nicky Maynard 6
Danny Haynes 7
Alvaro Saborio 6
Gavin Williams 6
Lee Johnson 5
Marginally better from Johnson today. The pro's were that he didn't fart-arse around with the winning line-up from midweek, asides from an enforced change, and he made a double sub early to affect the game positively. In short, he picked the best side we had at our disposal.
BUT... I don't understand why Marv played ahead of Clarkson or Williams from the start as his inclusion gave us three defensive central midfielders. Also, the first half was more dreary stuff even though we were up against a better side in good form.
Very impressed by the ex-Bournemouth gaffer. His side retained the ball superbly well in the first period and utilised Billy Sharp to excellent effect. They were organised and hard to break down. I wish we could play like this.
Better Side Won
City were passed off the park in another dire first-half performance but put on more pressure after the break. Sadly for us though, there was plenty huff but no puff once again this season as we didn't take our chances when they came.
We must hit back from this defeat with a win over Reading next weekend now.
O'Driscoll Potential Successor?
He's a quiet and unassuming manager but I, for one, wouldn't be too disappointed if we went for him if Johnson's put out to pasture over the next season or two.