DONCASTER ROVERS manager Grant McCann hailed Tyler Smith as a ‘star in the making’ after the Sheffield United loanee scored twice on his debut against Burton Albion.
Smith took just nine minutes to score on his first EFL appearance with an instinctive header. The 20-year-old, who came off the bench at half-time with Rovers trailing 1-0, then scored with a composed finish to turn the game on its head. But John Brayford netted his second of the game in the 90th minute to earn Burton a point and keep Doncaster in seventh place.
“He’s a very good player, very sharp,” said McCann of Smith. “I’m pleased that he’s come on and made a real impact.
“He’s someone we’ve kept an eye on for four or five months when he was at Barrow [on loan earlier this season]. We knew he could come here and play on the shoulder and get in behind teams. Sheffield United have got a star in the making there.”
Burton’s opening goal came after eight minutes and was just reward for a lively start.
Lucas Akins had already headed a good chance wide and hit the post from a tight angle before a corner was flicked on at the near post for Brayford to cleverly hook a shot past Marko Marosi.
We knew he could come here and play on the shoulder and get in behind teams. Sheffield United have got a star in the making there.Grant McCann
Rovers thought they had been handed a much-needed lifeline after 15 minutes when referee Paul Marsden pointed to the spot for handball.
However, following Burton’s protestations, the official overturned his decision and ruled that it was in fact Rowe who handled.
Smith replaced Mallik Wilks at half-time and it took him just under 10 minutes to make his mark when he drifted away from his marker to superbly head home Danny Andrew’s whipped in cross from the left.
James Coppinger then fired an effort inches wide as Rovers began to take control of the contest. The home side then turned the game on its head on 75 minutes when Coppinger sent Blades rookie Smith clear and the youngster kept his composure to fire past Bradley Collins and give Doncaster the lead.
But there was still time for another sting in the tail for Rovers when, from another corner, Brayford converted from close range in the last minute of normal time.
Doncaster Rovers: Marosi, Blair, Anderson, Butler, Andrew, Crawford, Whiteman, Rowe (Smith 46), Coppinger, Marquis, Wilks (May 46). Subs not used: Mason, Sadlier, Jones, Greaves, Lewis.
Burton Albion: Collins, Clarke (Miller 89), Brayford, Buxton, Hutchinson, Allen (Wallace 55), Quinn, Fraser (Templeton 79), Harness, Boyce, Akins. Subs not used: Bywater, Turner, Sbarra, Fox.
Referee: Paul Marsden (Lancashire).