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npower championship fixture
Kick off 3pm (GMT)
Doncaster 3 Portsmouth 4
PHOTO: Ashley Harris celebrates with Marko Futacs scorer of the winning goal at Doncaster Rovers
Report by Neil Weld at the Keepmoat Stadium
Pompey clung on to their Championship status, mounting an incredible second-half comeback to win at Doncaster.
The Blues made a disastrous start and fell behind to early goals from Habib Beye and Fabien Robert.
But Greg Halford’s two calm second-half penalties drew them level, while Beye saw red for conceding the first.
Man-of-the-match James Coppinger immediately restored the hosts’ advantage as relegation to League One looked to be confirmed.
Substitutes Dave Kitson and Marko Futacs both struck late on, however, to keep faint survival hopes alive and instead relegate Doncaster.
Michael Appleton stuck with the same side that lost at home to Millwall on Tuesday night.
But his faith was not rewarded early on as the Blues found themselves two goals down after just five minutes.
Coppinger was Pompey’s tormentor, setting up both of Doncaster’s goals with crosses from the right.
First his free-kick was met by Beye, who sent a looping header into the net with just 126 seconds on the clock.
Pompey barely had chance to digest that goal when the hosts doubled their advantage.
Jamie Ashdown did well to save Chris Brown’s initial effort after the striker had met Coppinger’s low ball into the box, but Robert was on hand to slam home the rebound.
The Blues should have immediately reduced the deficit, but Luke Varney fired Joel Ward’s cross high over the crossbar from close range.
It was proving to be a very open game and Coppinger almost made the most of that, volleying onto the bar from the right-hand side of the box.
Pompey were struggling at either end and Appleton threw on another striker in the shape of Kitson on 28 minutes, with Kelvin Etuhu limping off.
But it was Halford who almost pulled one back on 30 minutes, meeting Scott Allan’s corner with a thumping header that was cleared off the line by Coppinger.
The Blues still looked shaky at the other end, though, and Ashdown did well to push Beye’s header around the post.
Pompey’s keeper then got down quickly to hold onto John Oster’s 25-yard drive as Rovers tried to heap more misery onto the visitors.
At least Allan was looking lively and a mazy run that took the midfielder past four players ended with a shot that was comfortably saved by Gary Woods.
He then sent a dangerous free-kick into the box, but Jason Pearce could not get a strong enough touch on the ball to beat Woods.
Half Time: Doncaster 2 Pompey 0
Appleton freshened things up at the start of the second half with teenage striker Ashley Harris coming on for Varney.
But it was Allan who went close to finding a route back into the game for Pompey on 50 minutes. The midfielder hit a fine shot from 20 yards, only to see the ball crash against the crossbar.
Harris then fired in a neat shot from an acute angle that Woods did well to smother at the near post.
But Pompey did pull a goal back on 59 minutes after Beye had been penalised for hauling down Kitson in the box.
The defender was last man and therefore promptly shown a red card by referee Mick Russell.
HALFORD stepped up to take the penalty and nonchalantly rolled the ball past a static Woods and into the net.
And Pompey were incredibly level on 65 minutes when Russell spotted a handball by Lockwood in the box.
HALFORD opted to place his penalty in exactly the same area and although Woods guessed the right way, he could only fumble the ball into the net.
The Blues’ fans had been doing a conga early in the second half, but it was the home fans who were dancing in the stands on 68 minutes.
Coppinger had impressed throughout the match and deservedly got on the scoresheet when he cut inside and drilled home a shot that crept through Pearce’s legs and into the bottom corner.
Pompey pushed forward in search of another equaliser and David Norris fired over, before Harris drew a decent stop from Woods.
They then went close when the ball ricocheted dangerously around the box and Allan blazed over the bar.
KITSON did score in the 90th minute, however, heading home from virtually on the line – despite Doncaster appealing for a foul on Woods – after Pearce had sent the ball back across goal.
And it got even better for the Blues in stoppage-time as FUTACS made himself space, before stroking the ball coolly into the bottom corner.
Doncaster: Woods; O’Connor, Beye, Lockwood, Friend (c); Oster (Hird 69), Barnes, Gillett; Coppinger, Robert (Hayter 46); Brown (Dumbuya 73)
Goals: Brown 3, Robert 5, Coppinger 68
Sent off: Beye
Subs not used: Sullivan, Bennett
Pompey: Ashdown; Ward, Rocha, Pearce (c), Rekik (Futacs 76); Allan, Halford, Norris; Etuhu (Kitson 28), Varney (Harris 46); Maguire
Goals: Halford (pen) 58, (pen) 65, Kitson 90, Futacs 90+3
Subs not used: Mokoena, Scapuzzi
Referee: Mick Russell
Doncaster Rovers v Pompey: PREVIEW Posted by Pompey Pages ⋅ April 13, 2012 ⋅
By Kyle Whitworth
Pompey head to the Keepmoat stadium, hanging on to their Championship status by a fine thread. They face another side resigned to life in League One next year, Doncaster, who prop up the league table and will be looking to salvage pride if little else. Both sides will be looking to bounce back from home defeats and cling to slim hopes of playing Championship football next year.
Ricardo Rocha was substituted early during the home defeat to Millwall on Tuesday evening, but is expected to be passed fit ahead of Saturday’s kick-off after taking part in training this week.
Aaron Mokoena and Nwankwo Kanu remain absent and are unlikely to feature again this season – the King returned to training this week after recovering from a back injury but rumours continue about a likely departure.
The Pompey squad have been struck with a virus which may see David Norris sidelined, but Dave Kitson is available after missing the Millwall fixture.
Michael Appleton may be tempted to change his team around after admitting confidence has dropped amongst the side, and with Championship survival looking bleak, young talent such as Sam Magri and Luca Scapuzzi may play a part.
Ashley Harris is yet to make his first away appearance or first start for the Blues after making his debut in the 4-1 win against Birmingham City.
Dean Saunders has a plethora of injury concerns, telling media that the “whole team in injured, near enough”
Habib Beye (ankle) is doubtful, with midfielder Martin Woods (knee) and forward Habib Bamogo (hamstring) confirmed absentees.
Pompey boo-boy El Hadji-Diouf joins former Blues striker Frederic Piquionne in a late fitness dash to be ready for this fixture, which fellow striker Brian Stock lasted is unlikely to feature after lasting just 22 minutes against Burnley.
Pompey hold clear advantage in the history of league meetings between the sides, winning seven of the 11 fixtures, Doncaster having only collected three points on two occasions.
Spoils were shared last year as David Healy struck a Doncaster winner at Fratton Park, before a classy Joel Ward finish secured 3 points for Pompey at the Keepmoat.
A Luke Varney brace set Pompey on the way to 3 points at this year’s reverse fixture at Fratton Park in October. Joel Ward and Dave Kitson have both scored two goals against Doncaster in the previous three fixtures, so both would be delighted to add to that total.
Today’s hosts Doncaster find themselves in dire straits at the bottom of the Championship table, 11 points from safety with 12 to play for. Doncaster simply must win to retain any survival hope, should Bristol City win, Doncaster will be relegated regardless. Pompey also find themselves needing results elsewhere to go their way, finding themselves 9 points from safety. Should Bristol City win or Draw, Pompey would be relegated with defeat. Should Bristol CIty win, and the sides were to draw at the Keepmoat, both Pompey and Donny would be relegated together.
Pompey’s last 5 (league): LWLDL
Doncaster (league): LDLLL
Line-UpPossible Pompey line-up: Ashdown; Ward, Pearce, Rocha, Rekik; Halford, Etuhu, Varney, Allan, Norris; Maguire
Possible Doncaster line-up: Woods; O’Connor, Friend, Lockwood, Hird; Stock, Gillett, Brown, Hayter; Robert, Bennett
Pompey Away Day Guide
The Keepmoat Stadium (Doncaster Rovers) Posted by Pompey Pages
Pompey travel to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday, all but relegated. The two teams fighting it out at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday are both looking likely to be relegated, whilst both teams will try and give it one last push.
The stadium is out of the town centre, and in more of a nice looking industrial park kind of setting, so if you’re looking for a pre-match pint you’ll have to take one of three options.
First of all, getting off the train in the town centre, you could make your way to any of the bars around town – there’s a very nice Wetherspoons there.
Secondly, there is a Lakeside Beefeater right by the ground, and one of the few bars friendly to visiting supporters in the surrounding vicinity. You can also grab a bite to eat here.
The third and final option is to drink in the bar which is located in the Keepmoat Stadium itself. The Keepmoat has its own bar, and although it’s likely to be flocking with home fans, if you can get in there early for a cheeky pint, you can’t go wrong.
If you are travelling by train, you’ll need to get off at Doncaster Train Station, which is about 2 miles away from the stadium. It is walkable, but you may choose to get a taxi down to the ground, and you’ll find enough of them around the town centre ahead of kick-off.
There is a bus which leaves from the bus station across the road from the train station and runs every 10 minutes up till kick-off if you prefer this. The cost is £1.10.
If you’re brave and you’ll be driving up instead, you’ll find a lot of road parking around the estate, as well as a number of companies offering out car parks for about £5 – reasonably safe and guarded as well.
There is parking at the ground itself but it only holds 1,000 cars so you’ll need to be really early and it costs £5.
In terms of directions, leave the A1(M) at Junction 35 which is signposted Hull or if you are on the M1 then join the M18 at Junction 32.
Once on the M18, leave at Junction 3 and take the A6182 towards Doncaster. The Keepmoat Stadium is well signposted from here. Drive past a retail park on your left until you arrive at the next roundabout, at this roundabout turn left onto White Rose Way. Travel past the Lakeside Shopping Centre on your right and you will arrive at a roundabout which you should turn right at. Turn right at the bottom of the road for the Keepmoat Stadium.
Alcohol is available inside the ground, Carlsberg is the beer available inside for £3 a bottle.
Refreshments inside the ground are the second cheapest in the Championship. Pies available from £3.20 whilst hot drinks are available for as little as £1.10.
The newly released match-day programme was launched in November and is called RTID and is available for a standard £3 from all around the ground.
Your Home For The Next Ninety Minutes
The stadium is a newly built stadium and was only opened back in 2007. Pompey fans experienced the Keepmoat Stadium for the first time last season.
The away end is very roomy and with 3,300 tickets available, there will be more than enough foot room in the seating area.
Tickets are no longer available to buy online or over the phone for Saturday afternoon’s trip, however, tickets can be purchased from the Frogmore Road ticket office.
The prices are as follows:
Seniors (65+): £20
Young Persons (17-20): £20
Juniors (12-16): £15
Children (under 12): £10
All fans who buy concession tickets are advised to bring proof of age identification or a student card.
There is no news on whether tickets will be available on the gate, but at the moment it is looking unlikely.
Finally…Safe travelling to all fans heading up to Doncaster, and let’s bring back another three points and enjoy the trip!