Good Friday’s defeat to Charlton Athletic was a fourth in six games, with five of those fixtures resulting in Doncaster drawing a blank in front of goal.
They barely even hit the target against Charlton, who on the strength of one win via a finish from Ian Maatsen climbed five places into the top six.
Such is the congested nature of the push for the League One play-off battle that by the time the 3pm kick-offs had concluded, Nigel Adkins’s side were back on the outside looking in.
And that is one crumb of comfort Doncaster can take from this miserable run; one win can change the complexion of the scenario suddenly.
Trouble is, goals are required to get those wins and on this evidence – and recent history – Rovers simply do not carry enough of a threat. Andy Butler, the manager, changed things up from recent weeks by adding more width to his frontline, and he stressed in the wake of this latest defeat that the focus had been on creating more opportunities.
But what was preached in the build-up was not practiced during the 90 minutes as Rovers mustered three shots on target and only one of those – a cleverly worked move that led to an effort from Omar Bogle – troubled Charlton goalkeeper Ben Amos.
“There’s no clear-cut chances from us and after the work we’ve been doing, that’s disappointing,” said Butler.
“When we get to the final third we seem to run out of ideas. It’s something we need to address and work on.
“We’ve got players in that final third who should be creating chances and should be hitting the target. It’s just for the last few weeks we’ve looked flat in that final third. It’s not down to confidence, I think we’re over-thinking things in the final third. If something is not going your eay then you think about it too much when it should come naturally to you. Players are second-guessing themselves.
“But I’ve got to keep my belief in the players, and they’ve got to hopefully keep believing in me.”
Charlton were not much better as an attacking threat but Maatsen’s 11th-minute goal gave Adkins’s side a platform to build on.
Frustratingly for Rovers it was just a ball over the top that Maatsen did well to let bounce as he used his body to hold off Reece James and fire past Louis Jones from close range.
“It’s one long ball forward,” said left-back James, “we don’t win the first header, we don’t win the second header, then we don’t deal with it once it goes into our box. There’s a bit of miscommunication between Louis and myself and a couple of others, but it was still early on and we should have reacted to it.
“It’s the finer details that just aren’t clicking at the moment.”
Butler concluded: “It’s still in our hands, 10 games left, I still believe we have the quality in the squad to get us in that top six.”
Doncaster Rovers: Halliday, Anderson, Wright (John 67), James; Bostock, Robertson (Richards 58), Smith (Greaves 87); Okenabirhie (Lokilo 67), Coppinger, Bogle. Unused substitutes: Balcombe, Gomes, Horton.
Charlton Athletic: Amos; Matthews, Inniss, Pearce, Purrington; Gilbey (Shinnie 90), Pratley; Forster-Caskey; Jaiyesimi (Millar 64), Stockley (Aneke 84), Maatsen (Gunter 90). Unused substitutes: Maynard-Brewer, Oshilaja, Watson.
Referee: M Edwards (Tyne & Wear).
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