Doncaster Rovers boss Richie Wellens believes penalty save against Portsmouth can spark better times

Pontus Dahlberg’s penalty save against Portsmouth could be the catalyst to kickstart Doncaster Rovers’ season, hopes manager Richie Wellens.

The Swedish goalkeeper kept out Shaun Williams’ 78th-minute spot-kick as Doncaster picked up their first point of the League One campaign and ended Pompey’s perfect start to the season.

Rovers’ failure to find the back of the net means they have managed to score just once in their five outings in all competitions this season. The hosts did find a way past the Portsmouth defence on Saturday when Tommy Rowe turned the ball home after 19 minutes, only for the goal to be ruled out for a foul in the build-up.

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However, Wellens believes Dahlberg’s heroics at the other end of the pitch can be the “trigger” to turn the team’s fortunes around.

BELIEF: Doncaster Rovers' manager Richie Wellens. Picture: Nigel French/PA

“It was a thoroughly-deserved point and I’m happy with it, just because of where we are and where we’re coming from, as well as the manner of the game,” reflected Wellens, whose side face Stoke City in the second round of the League Cup tomorrow evening.

“They’re a fit and well-organised team and our fitness levels are still getting up there.

“You always need that one spark and I think that Pontus’s penalty save can be the trigger for us that can start us on a good run.

“We keep working, we keep going and it’s been a really positive day for us, even though we’ve not won. We want to win and everyone knows that but that is a good first step.”

Doncaster Rovers: Dahlberg; Knoyle, R Williams, Anderson (Horton 12), John; Bostock, Galbraith; Seaman, Close, Rowe; Cukur (Gardner 86). Unused substitutes: Jones, Blythe, E Williams, Smith, Barlow.

Portsmouth: Bazuna; Freeman, Raggett, Robertson, Ogilvie; Tunnicliffe, Morrell (Williams 59); Hackett-Fairchild (Jacobs 62), Ahadme, Curtis; Marquis (Hirst 74). Unused substitutes: Bass, Brown, Harrison, Downing.

Referee: C Boyeson (East Yorkshire)