Frustrated Dickov full of praise for players despite heavy derby defeat to rivals Leeds

DONCASTER ROVERS manager Paul Dickov insists his side did not get their just rewards in Saturday’s 3-0 derby loss to Leeds United on a controversial afternoon at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Paul Dickov
Paul Dickov

Goals from Matt Smith, Ross McCormack and captain Rudy Austin handed United a flattering victory at Rovers, their sixth consecutive win in all competitions against their South Yorkshire rivals.

It moved Brian McDermott’s side up to sixth place in the Championship and in good spirits ahead of the festive programme, with United facing more derby opposition next Saturday at home to Barnsley.

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The defeat leaves Rovers in 20th spot, just three points above the drop zone, with third-from-bottom Sheffield Wednesday – who claimed a fine 1-0 win at Watford at the weekend – having a game in hand on them and a better goal difference.

It was Rovers’ second successive 3-0 reverse, but while Dickov felt his side were well beaten at Bolton Wanderers the previous weekend, he was adamant his side deserved better against Leeds.

Dickov was particularly rueful of the decision to rule out a 65th-minute strike from Theo Robinson for offside, with Rovers on top and pushing for an equaliser after Smith’s opener.

The Rovers chief felt that Lee Peltier played Robinson onside, with video footage appearing to back him up.

Dickov, whose side face a tough trip to in-form Derby County next weekend, said: “It sounds a bit daft, but I’m more than pleased with most of the performance.

“In the second half, although we’ve lost 3-0, we were by far the better team. We deserved something, but on the flip side if you defend as we did for the three goals you’ll struggle to win games.

“We limited Leeds to two shots on target in the second half and, unfortunately for us, they fell to their two best players.”

On Robinson’s strike being ruled out by a late linesman’s flag, he added: “I’ve seen it and Theo’s quite clearly a yard onside. I’ve watched it 20 times.

“The late decision to put the flag up has baffled me as much as the result.

“You get big moments in games, defining moments. This was one, especially with us on top the way we were and the way the decision was made.”

McDermott, who believed the officials got the call right in ruling out Robinson’s ‘goal’, was happy to share out the plaudits following United’s victory, their fifth in their last seven matches in a run which has seen them lose just once.

The United boss hailed another quality goal from the Championship’s top marksman in McCormack and he was also delighted with his side’s defensive resolve when playing against a fierce wind.

McDermott said: “In the second half, Doncaster came out and played really well and we couldn’t get out. But with Ross McCormack, big players make the difference and he certainly did with a fantastic goal.

“That’s why I took him off at the end, for him to know what the supporters think of him. If you look at the finish, it was a fabulous goal, but nothing surprises me with Ross. He’s terrific with great ability. I knew that years ago.

“It’s well documented that he loves playing for Leeds.

“Austin’s goal was very good as well.

“So we’re happy to come away with three points and a clean sheet.”