Verdict: Reality check continues for Doncaster Rovers as Shrewsbury Town earn fair share

Grant McCann
Grant McCann
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AS A boyhood Rangers supporter, the concept of striving to be Simply The Best is something that plainly inspires Grant McCann in his managerial career.

The hit from Tina Turner is the Gers’ run-out song for home matches and a reminder of the club’s golden era of the Nineties when the tune became popular in the blue half of Glasgow.

That same drive for high standards, desire for success and disdain of slackness is noticeable when listening to the Doncaster Rovers manager hold court, even if the surroundings of the Keepmoat Stadium are far less grand than Rangers’ Ibrox home.

Following three vibrant wins, McCann alluded to as much at the weekend. The Northern Irishman was distinctly non-plussed with his side’s narrow loss at Burton, describing it as a wake-up call. Last night provided a further dose of reality.

The ruthless edge that he said Rovers needed to rediscover after their early vim – which had seenthem plunder eight goals in their opening three games – did not return. The early feast has been followed by a mini-famine, with no goals now in back-to-back matches.

McCann forced Rovers to view video footage of what he considered to be a ponderous performance against Burton and last night’s episode, certainly in a disjointed second half, also made for unedifying viewing.

McCann forced Rovers to view video footage of what he considered to be a ponderous performance against Burton and last night’s episode, certainly in a disjointed second half, also made for unedifying viewing.

Leon Wobschall

So dynamic in their second 45 minutes in their previous home game with Wycombe, which yielded three goals, this represented the polar opposite as sloppy Rovers lost their way after a commendable first half displaying elements of wit and invention.

It represented a deflating development for the hosts at the start of a three-match sequence of home matches, with the saving grace being that they escaped with a point, Marko Marosi making some key second-half saves to thwart re-energised Shrewsbury Town.

Rovers were also hugely fortunate not to concede a first-half penalty when Shaun Whalley went down following a clumsy challenge in the box from Andy Butler, referee Darren Drysdale waving play on.

Rovers did display vestiges of the sharpness and quick movement they had showcased in their opening three wins and no lack of confidence either in the first half. The rhythm was noticeable, with passages of first-time passing incisive and pleasing on the eye, but the fact that a breakthrough eluded them was a source of frustration.

An early glancing header from Joe Wright was a whisker away, while Mat Sadler had to be alert to hack a John Marquis header away from close to his line.

A pinpoint drive from Tommy Rowe was smartly parried by Joel Coleman and the goalkeeper, on loan from Huddersfield Town, also did well to grasp a snapshot at his near post from Mallik Wilks.

The Shrews posted limited danger in a first half that they approached in classic away-day fashion. Their best moment arrived ahead of the interval when a goalbound header from Luke Waterfall was cleared in the nick of time in a crowded box.

After witnessing a party performance in the second half of Rovers’ previous Keepmoat outing, the home support were baying for an encore.

Instead it was Shrewsbury who seized the initiative with the previously under-employed Marosi called into action twice before the hour mark to deny Lennell John-Lewis. First he superbly turned away a fierce drive before blocking a rebound from the big striker following Whalley’s cut-back.

It was Rovers who were starting to beat a retreat with Marosi holding Whalley’s free-kick as the visitors pressed strongly.

Paul Taylor and Matty Blair soon entered the fray in an attempt to pep up Rovers, but they struggled to make an impression upon an increasingly assured looking Shrewsbury.

The incision came from the visitors with a smart Marosi parry denying Greg Docherty before James Bolton’s header flew just wide.

Rovers’ sole moment of second-half menace arrived at the finish with a rare of moment of quality seeing a telling centre from Niall Mason find Marquis, but his flicked header flew agonisingly wide.

In truth a winner would have flattered Rovers.

Doncaster Rovers: Marosi; Mason, Wright (Anderson 85), Butler, Andrew; Kane, Whiteman, Rowe (Blair 71); Wilks, Marquis, Coppinger (Taylor 64). Unused substitutes: Lawlor, Lund, Beestin, May.

Shrewsbury Town: Coleman; Bolton, Waterfall, Sadler, Haynes; Docherty, Grant, Laurent; Whalley, John-Lewis (Angol 76), Gilliead. Unused substitutes: Arnold, Beckles, Okenabirhie, Loft, Amari-Holloway, Barnett.

Referee: D Drysdale (Lincolnshire).