DRFC - Season review January
Doncaster went into January full of confidence after two tremendous results over Christmas saw them just filling the last relegation place.
Rovers were due to meet Cheltenham Town away on the first Saturday in January in the FA Cup, due to freezing conditions the pitch was unplayable and Rovers went into the hat for the fourth round of the FA Cup where they would meet Aston Villa at home if they could beat Cheltenham.
Rovers momentum that they had taken into the New Year was well and truly put on hold when the fixture against Bristol City the following Saturday at the Keepmoat also fell foul to the weather, once again the freezing conditions were to blame.
The club finally got back into action on the Tuesday night when the re arranged FA Cup clash at Cheltenham took place, Rovers looked rusty after a long lay off and a 0-0 draw meant a replay at Keepmoat the following week.
Rovers got back into League action on the Saturday, their first League game for three weeks in a crucial six pointer at Southampton.
The League form that had picked up over the Christmas period continued into this game and second half goals from Martin Woods and James Coppinger had Rovers well on their way to another three points. A late consolation goal from Marek Saganowski gave Rovers a few nervous moments
in the closing stages.
With Rovers going three weeks without a League fixture they still found themselves in the relegation zone but the pack in front was being closed down.
The following Tuesday Rovers booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup with an easy 3-0 replay victory over Cheltenham, two goals from Brian Stock and one from Sam Hird meant a home clash against Aston Villa in the fourth round on the Saturday.
Villa came to the Keepmoat on the Saturday looking to avenge a 3-0 Carling Cup defeat against Rovers just over three years earlier.
It was a completely different looking Villa from the one comprehensively beaten by Rovers in the Carling Cup and veteran keeper Neil Sullivan turned back the clock with a tremendous performance to keep Villa at bay.
Rovers enjoyed the most of the first half and Gareth Roberts should have put them ahead in the first ten minutes.
Villa were the better side in the second half but Rovers nearly booked their place in the fifth round when Martin Woods free kick in the final few minutes had Brad Friedel in the Villa goal well beaten, unfortunately for Rovers the ball hit the post and went out to safety.
A draw was probably a fair result and Rovers would have another chance against their Premiership opponents in a replay at Villa Park.
Rovers quickly found themselves back in League action this time at South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United.
Rovers recorded their first ever victory at Bramall Lane when James O`Connor scored the only goal of the game to send over 3,000 Rovers fans in the crowd wild with delight.
The win took Rovers out of the relegation zone for the first time since September.
Games were coming quick and fast and Rovers fourth game in ten days saw them entertain fellow strugglers Norwich City.
Paul Heffernan gave Rovers a half time lead but they had to make do with a draw when Jonathan Grounds equalised for the Canaries in the second half.
Rovers finished the month in twentieth place, two places outside the relegation zone and had enjoyed an undefeated month, going six games unbeaten.
Could Rovers carry the form into February and could they pull off a cup shock at Villa?
Find out next week when I do my review of February.
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