English summer sabotages Doncaster
THE Great British Summer claimed a surprise victim as a watterlogged pitch ended Doncaster’s game at Charlton just as it was hotting up – sending Rovers boss Paul Dickov’s temperature through the roof.
Torrential rain before and during the match at first led to a 30-minute delay after 27 minutes but with conditions remaining farcical and dangerous, referee Lee Collins decided enough was enough at half-time with the visitors 3-1 up.
The action that was possible – four goals and a sending-off – was enthralling, but these teams must do it all again at a later date.
Doncaster had raced into a 3-0 lead and, not surprisingly, were enthusiastic about carrying on with the second half and Dickov felt the quality of the match hadn't been affected.
He said: “I was disappointed, obviously – we were 3-0 up away from home, playing some terrific stuff and looking as if we could score again.
“For the referee to pull the players off when he did and suspend play was disappointing.
“The fourth official came up to us 15 minutes before that and said he was going to monitor the pitch, which is fair enough, but 15 minutes later it was no worse.
“The way he has done it has turned out to be shambolic.
“He said, ‘as a spectacle it was getting ruined,’ but I thought as a spectacle my team were fantastic.
“We passed the ball well, we caused them problems and when Charlton came back into the game they brought it down and passed it.”
Doncaster got off to a dream start in the second minute when Paul Keegan’s header from Reece Wabara’s cross flew into the top corner.
Donny were slicing through the home defence all too easily and this soon led to a second goal as Robinson gave Chris Brown a simple tap-in.
The Valley crowd were then left stunned for a third time as Charlton failed to clear a corner, leading to the ball ricocheting in off Brown from close range.
But all this threatened to be irrelevant as the heavy downpours of rain led to referee Collins taking the players off the field a few minutes later with the pitch waterlogged in several areas.
After a concerted effort that saw Doncaster’s players pitch in to aid the Charlton ground staff, proceedings got back underway with 18 minutes of the first half still to play.
Charlton were to pull one back and establish a foothold for themselves as the ball ran loose following a free-kick to allow Wales international forward Simon Church to slot into the bottom corner.
And the hosts received a further boost just before the break as Keegan was sent off for a second booking as he tugged back Rhoys Wiggins.
But all that action now means nothing after the referee put player safety first and called the match off.
Charlton boss Chris Powell claimed his players were ready to get on with the game, saying: “My players certainly responded to the position they were in.
“We should never have got ourselves in that position – only one of their goals could be put down to the conditions, but individual mistakes got us there.
“They then showed a bit of bravery and I had prepared my team to go out again at 3-1 because I felt it was the right thing to do.
“If I was in his (Dickov’s) position, I’d feel despondent, but we were ready to go out and play on for the rest of the match.
“But you've got to respect the referee’s position because if there is an injury, the blame’s at his feet.”
BAD NEWS: Referee Lee Collins talks to Paul Dickov and Chris Powell before suspending the match
SINGING IN RAIN: Chris Brown celebrates his goal