Doncaster Rovers 1 Nottingham Forest 1: Lockwood salvages point

DONCASTER Rovers have scrapped bonuses awarded for Championship survival – and the club's players are delighted.

Now, instead of bagging a reward for staying up, Rovers pocket more on the basis of how many games they win.

The financial strategy serves to highlight the growing self-belief that now exists at a club which, until winning promotion three seasons ago, had spent 50 years outside the top two tiers of the English game.

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Speaking to the Yorkshire Post after this gritty performance against Nottingham Forest, club captain Brian Stock revealed that the push to amend the monetary incentives had come from within the dressing room.

"The players just felt that we had a realistic chance of achieving something this year," he said. "We didn't feel that we should get a bonus for staying up in this league anymore.

"Being captain, I actually negotiated the bonuses with Dave Morris (chief executive). He said what we could have and there were certain boundaries we couldn't go past, but now it's a bonus for wins."

Stock, who has been dropped to the bench for the last five games, was only introduced for the last 15 minutes of this game against Forest.

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The Welsh international so nearly tipped the scales but Rovers were still happy to secure a point.

Manager Sean O'Driscoll is also willing to sacrifice his footballing principles now, if and when necessary, to boost the club's points tally.

"It was very scrappy but this was a game we might have lost in the past," said Stock. "In our first year in the Championship, we passed teams off the pitch but sometimes we would still come off the field having lost


"It's important, especially against teams like Forest who pressure and are in your face, that you mix your game up, go long, and play when you can," he added.

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"Although we didn't play the attractive football we know we can (against Forest) we have not lost the game and that's a plus point."

A goal from defender Adam Lockwood extended Rovers' unbeaten home record after Forest had gone ahead through Dexter Blackstock.

Forest had not scored in four previous visits to Doncaster but Blackstock struck from close range after Paul McKenna's corner was headed back across goal by Paul Anderson and headed goalwards by Wes Morgan.

The lead lasted only six minutes before Lockwood rose unchallenged to head in a freekick from John Oster.

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Rovers struggled to impose any real authority in the first half but enjoyed the better of the second and probably should have taken all three points.

Substitute Mark Wilson struck the crossbar with a 25-yard volley and striker Billy Sharp missed two excellent opportunities.

Rovers fans would probably have wagered a weekend's spend on Sharp scoring once he had wriggled past two defenders but his shot was blocked by Luke Chambers.

Deep in stoppage time, the former Sheffield United striker also headed another good chance over the bar.

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O'Driscoll had made three changes to his side with midfielder Simon Gillett, defender Mustapha Dumbuya and striker James Hayter replacing Dean Shiels, Sam Hird and the injured Shelton Martis.

Forest started the afternoon unbeaten in eight games although six of those games had ended in draws.

Manager Billy Davies employed aerial bombardment in an attempt to upset Rovers and were the more muscular outfit.

The majority of O'Driscoll's men stood up to the challenge although winger James Coppinger, possibly the lightest man on the pitch, was often subdued.

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Goalkeeper Neil Sullivan produced a flying save to deny Lewis McGugan from 25 yards but would have been helpless if Chambers had been able to reach a free-kick from Nathan Tyson late on that flashed across the goal area.

However, Rovers striker Hayter went closest of all to scoring a winner when his downward header from close range was tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Lee Camp's legs.

"It's hit Lee on the back of his heels," said O'Driscoll afterwards. "But that's what goalkeepers are there for – he made himself big and he has got a bit of luck."

Assessing the overall performance, O'Driscoll said: "We have grown up a lot since we first entered the Championship. Our organisation and discipline was excellent in all areas – and we passed the ball at the right moments."

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Forest manager Davies said: "Any point away from home is always worthwhile and welcome. We scored an excellent goal but switched off for the free-kick from which they scored the equaliser and that cost us dearly."


Hero: Mustapha Dumbuya

The Rovers' full-back has burst onto the first-team stage this season and again showed real potential. Oozes enthusiasm and tenacity and could go a long way.

Villain: Billy Sharp

So often lethal, the Rovers striker spurned two of his side's best chances – which allowed Forest off the hook. The club's record signing will surely have better days for the Rovers as the season goes on.

Key moment

76th minute: Forest goalkeeper Lee Camp manages to turn a downward header from James Hayter over the bar with the back of his legs.

Ref watch

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Graham Salisbury: No major controversies but issued four yellow cards and still allowed Forest to get away with spoiling tactics at times.


Rovers ditched the 'total football' mentality to secure a gritty point against a physical side but were also the more likely victors towards the end.

Quote of the day

We have grown up a lot since we first entered the Championship.

– Rovers manager Sean O'Driscoll.

Next game

Scunthorpe United, Saturday October 16, away, Championship (12noon kick-off).