Bright night for teenager Whitehouse soft­ens blow for Dickov


THE MOST frus­trat­ing of Tues­day evenings had at least one re­deem­ing fea­ture for Don­caster Rovers man­ager Paul Dickov.

It came in the per­for­mance of Mexbor­ough teenager Billy Whitehouse on his full de­but for the club in mid­field in their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy north­ern sec­tion quar­ter-fi­nal home loss to Notts County, which at least sal­vaged some­thing from a dis­heart­en­ing night.

The main con­jec­ture sur­rounded the decision of ref­eree David Webb to rule out an open­ing ‘goal’ from Kyle Ben­nett mid­way through the sec­ond-half, seem­ingly for a bor­der­line off­side, which left Dickov to­tally dumb­struck.

Liam Noble’s 74th-minute strike in the 1-0 win – not too long after Ben­nett’s ‘dis­al­lowed ef­fort – added to the Rovers man­ager’s ire. After Dickov made his thoughts plainly clear about the con­tro­ver­sial decision, he at least took heart from the show­ing of Whitehouse, one of five changes to the side who beat Old­ham on Satur­day.

He said: “I thought Billy did re­ally well and he is a player I have liked since I first came in last year and he was in the youth team.

“He plays with a lot of en­ergy, works his socks off and is a fan­tas­tic kid off the pitch too.

“I am sure with the abil­ity he has got as well that the kid has got a re­ally good chance.

“It is al­ways a good sign for me when se­nior pro­fes­sion­als take a younger kid un­der their belt be­cause they do not tend to if they think they are bad play­ers.”

After nam­ing vir­tu­ally the same line-up dur­ing Rovers’ five­match un­beaten away se­quence ahead of Tues­day’s home game, Dickov made five changes for the en­counter, but de­fended that pol­icy after the Mag­pies’ re­verse.

Mind­ful of a hec­tic sched­ule and with full-backs Reece Wabara and Enda Stevens ‘run­ning on empty’ in his words and Richie Wel­lens and James Cop­pinger car­ry­ing in­juries, Dickov in­sists his hand was forced.

What he says he could not mit­i­gate for was the decision to rule out Ben­nett’s goal.

On the make-up of his side, Dickov said: “We just had to make sure with all the games com­ing up over Christ­mas and Satur­day at home as well that every­body was right. Ide­ally, I would have picked the same team, but some­times it is forced upon you.”

On the goal that never was, he added: “I am angry re­ally as it is a game we should have won.

“We had a goal chalked, for (why) we don’t know. We think that if the goal was given, as it should have been done, we go on and win the game.”

CHRIS O’GRADY: Up­set Sami Hyp­pia by say­ing he wanted to stay at Bra­mall Lane for longer pe­riod.

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