Sunday, 4 March 2012

Doncaster Rovers - Keepmoat Stadium

Doncaster Rovers FC
Keepmoat Stadium
Stadium Way

01302 764664
Official Website

Matchday Number: 192
Saturday 3rd March 2012
Doncaster Rovers - Brighton & Hove Albion
nPower Championship

I had previously been to Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium just to take pictures. The club were really friendly, letting me in to take pictures without issues. But once I had decided to do the 92, I had to go back for a revisit. The ideal opportunity arose when Wycombe were playing up at Scunthorpe - meaning I could get petrol money keeping down my costs down, dropping my mates off at Scunthorpe before going to the Doncaster game.

On the day Paul was working till 9am, so I left early and got a breakfast sub in town, plus a paper and a drink for the journey. I got up to work at 8.55am, expecting him to be a few minutes early if anything. It was 9.20 before he emerged! The journey up went pretty smoothly. I had originally planned to stop at 5 grounds, but our late departure scaled this back a bit. Still, I got to see 3 good grounds on the way up:

Worksop Town - Windsor Food Service Stadium
Retford United - Cannon Park
Gainsborough Trinity - Northolme

I dropped Paul off at Scunthorpe's ground at about 1.20, before heading to Doncaster. Due to problems on the M18, I had to come off a junction early if I didn't want to face a 40 minute delay, so I had to travel the last 10 or so miles on local roads. I got to the ground and parked up at a local factory for the reasonable price of £3. After a 10 minute walk to the ground and a quick look around the club shop, it was time to go in. I saw a bar, but opted not to go in as I thought I could get a drink in the ground. But they only did Carlsberg and Tetley's which I didn't fancy. The Keepmoat was a nice ground, but must have one of the loudest tannoy's in Football with really noisy music played at some points, see this Youtube video of the half time scores being read out to get an idea...

The game itself was not too bad, with plenty of chances for both sides, and Doncaster perhaps the better team. There was an amusing exchange between some Brighton fans in an executive box with Doncaster fans slinging such remarks as "Sit down you Southern c**t" and then to the bloke in charge of the commercial department at the Keepmoat (after the Brighton fans had been told to sit inside "Why did you sell the box to Brighton fans? Why don't you give it to people from Doncaster!. The game finished 1-1, this report from the Doncaster Free Press reveals all...

EL Hadji Diouf's late penalty earned Doncaster a deserved point against the high-flying Seagulls.

Rovers enjoyed the majority of possession and territory but rarely turned that into clear-cut scoring opportunities against a resolute Brighton side.
They found themselves behind on 20 minutes - rather against the run of play - when an unmarked Craig Mackail-Smith latched onto Liam Bridcutt's cross-come-shot.
Mackail-Smith made a hash of his first attempt but had all the time in the world to tap home from two yards out with Carl Ikeme exposed in the Rovers goal.
Giles Barnes should have levelled before the break when he headed Diouf's free kick wide, while James Hayter blasted over after Simon Gillett saw his shot blocked.
To their credit Rovers came out for the second half fighting and James Coppinger saw his close range volley hit the side netting.
It looked like the game was drifting away from Doncaster - until they were literally handed a way back into it in the 78th minute.
Diouf's corner was clearly handled by Joe Mattock, leaving the Senegalese striker to coolly slot home an equaliser from the spot - earning Doncaster what could yet prove to be a vital point. 

After the game I drove back to Scunthorpe to pick up Paul, but not before stopping to take pictures of Bottesford Town - one of the grounds I had missed on the way up, and also filling the car up with diesel. The journey home was not so smooth. The road people in their infinite wisdom had decided to completely close the M18 for a couple of junctions due to roadworks and so instead of a quick route onto the M1, I had to go down the A1 all the way to Leicester, which with jams and slow moving traffic on that as well, was really frustrating. And to make things worse, Wycombe had been well beaten 4-1 at Scunthorpe, in another dreadful performance. Glad I went to Doncaster then. We eventually got home at 9.15 after hammering it down the motorway, and ended up getting back not long after the coaches, not bad considering we left an hour later. I bought a couple of cans from a local shop to have before and during Match of the Day, before drifting off to sleep as I was up early for work again.

THE KEEPMOAT STADIUM is a smart modern ground, built in the early 2000's. With a 15,000 capacity, it is ideal for Doncaster Rovers. It is pretty well designed too - you can get a good atmosphere going in there if you want, and despite some noise from the Brighton fans, the home support were mainly quiet. The views and legroom are excellent. The tea bars are pretty poor, they had sold out of Yorkshire Wraps and had a very limited range of drinks. Outside the stadium, quite a neat thing is a separate pitch with a small stand and athletics track - presumably used for some reserve games. There is a retail park as well, as well as several food vans, but due to me getting there quite late, I didn't get a chance to explore properly.

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