Cotterill reflects on Doncaster defeat
I have not seen any replays of any goals, or any incidents in the game, although I think we were somewhat 'hard done by' in some ways we also 'got what we deserved' in others...
Yep, we started ok and could have been ahead before Doncaster were gifted a lead, and they WERE gifted a lead, in fact they were gifted both goals before half time really, and Steve Cotterill knew as much.
He knows that we have to 'get that out of our game' if we are going to get, what was starting to look a promising run, back on track: 'if we want to start climbing the league we've got to stop giving away sloppy goals.
'Nearly all the goals we've conceded this season have been down to individual errors rather than errors by the whole back four. We've got to get that out of our game as quickly as possible.'
Whilst I would not quite agree that we were 'terrific' in the 2nd half we were a hell of a lot better - that 1st half must rank among the worst I have seen for a long time, I was seriously bored big time, and not just because we were losing, there was almost quite literally nothing to be positive about.
As already said we gifted them their goals, being caught out of position again cost us for one goal and the inability to clear the ball, first from the keeper who I felt 'should' have put his foot on the ball before launching it away and then a defender, who often launches it when you sometimes do not want it, who failed to do this at a time you wanted, cost us!
Cotterill does not think we deserved to lose though: 'there's no way we deserved to lose that game. I thought we were terrific in the second half and were the better team by a mile. We went out and pressed the ball in the second half, which we hadn't done enough in the first.
'We started brightly and were the dominant force, with Greg Halford hitting the bar. We could have been 2-0 up before they scored.
'Then they scored against the run of play and had a little bit of pretty football and got their second.'
Much like Cotterill, once we got back into the game at 2-2, I thought there would be only one winner and was stunned when Doncaster got this: 'after the break we imposed ourselves and when we got it back to 2-2 I felt there was only going to be one winner. At 2-2 we could and should have gone on to win.
'But then we gave away our third sloppy goal of the match. It was so disappointing because we had worked our socks off to get back into the game.
'There is no way Doncaster have left here deserving to win the game. They only had five opportunities all afternoon.'
The difference is though Stevie Doncaster made the most of their limited opportunities!
Yep they almost literally only had the chances that they scored from but that is all they needed - give them, or any other team in the nopower championship, as much of a helping hand as we did and they will gleefully accept this invitation...
Like I say, I have not seen any highlights or anything, but Cotterill felt that Mikey Brown was fouled in the build-up to the second Doncaster goal?
It looked a bit of a cruncher but at the same time my first reaction was that both he and the Doncaster guy both went in hard on each other.
Even after this though Jamie Ashdown and Ibrahima Sonko both had ample opportunity to clear successfully, but neither did - I think it was the second goal that they were at fault for with Carl Dickinson majority at fault for the first, or second depending on which way round these goals came...
What a difference Rocha John Rocha made in the 2nd half though, whilst - to be fair - Sonko has improved, he will NEVER be a patch on the former Portuguese international who is calm and calculated more often than not. He will bring the ball down and assess the situation before picking out a pass. It is not often that he will just wildly hoof it or rush into anything like the man he replaced at the break.
As for Dickinson's sending off, again I am not sure, I thought he dived in a bit but was expecting nothing more than a yellow card but the ref was very quickly producing the red, so he must have been sure and my cousin thought it was the right call - I am perplexed as to how no one else was cautioned following the mass brawl that broke out though!
A word of praise must again go to John Utaka, who was again fantastic for most of the game - but for him, in the main, we would not even have got back into the game, let alone looked like winning it for a brief while.
Hey ho, our first defeat at The Fortress in some time is a setback, but now we must dust ourselves down after a difficult week that has rocked us a little and show just how 'strong' and 'up for it' we are against Barnsley and Swansea, both on the road, before the month is out...
PLAY UP POMPEY!