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Match Reports

Match Report: Doncaster Rovers 3-3 Hull City

20 February 2021

James Coppinger’s sublime free-kick 12 minutes into stoppage time denied Hull City victory in a pulsating match against fellow promotion hopefuls Doncaster Rovers.

The Tigers led 2-0 after 24 minutes, courtesy of a brace of headers from Mallik Wilks against his former club.

Reece James’ fizzing strike halved the deficit but Jacob Greaves’ first senior goal made it 3-1 at the break.

Omar Bogle’s 67th-minute penalty set up a grandstand finish and Rovers veteran Coppinger completed a rousing comeback with a pinpoint free-kick deep into injury time.

It was gut-wrenching for City but the stuff of fairytales for Coppinger, who designed the special gold third kit Doncaster were wearing to commemorate his 17th and final season at the club.

Of real concern to Grant McCann will be a serious-looking injury to George Honeyman, who was stretchered off with his head in a neck brace.

Unsurprisingly, the Tigers’ Head Coach – back at the Keepmoat for the first time since leaving for Hull City in June 2019 – named an unchanged team from the 5-0 thrashing of Wigan Athletic.

Blustery conditions made for a scrappy start to proceedings and it wasn't until the 16th minute that either side had a sight of goal.

Honeyman delivered a typically inviting free-kick towards the far post but Greaves, perhaps not expecting the ball to reach him, was unable to make a meaningful connection.

Set-pieces have been a common source of goals for the Tigers this season and so it proved again on 19 minutes.

Callum Elder’s delightful free-kick from near the corner flag was missed by home keeper Ellery Balcombe and nodded into an empty net by Wilks from six yards.

The in-form forward scored his first career hat-trick in the midweek Latics success and had his fifth goal in two games with another header five minutes later.

Greg Docherty swung in a pinpoint cross for Wilks, getting across his man, to send a glancing, bouncing header just out of Balcombe’s reach.

Hull City were playing with a real swagger and could have been further ahead on the half-hour.

Lewie Coyle regained possession on the edge of the box and fed Josh Magennis, whose drive deflected fortuitously off Joe Wright into the arms of Balcombe, who was already on the deck.

From almost scoring, Magennis then showed his value from defensive set-pieces, hacking Omar Bogle’s towering header off the line from Jon Taylor’s corner.

But it proved only a momentary reprieve as James took aim from 25 yards and drilled a fizzing effort into the bottom corner with the outside of his left boot.

Determined to re-establish their two-goal cushion, the visitors immediately went on the offensive.

Docherty’s sweet half-volley from a partly-cleared Honeyman corner was headed over by Tom Anderson from virtually on the line.

Anderson thwarted Docherty again shortly after, blocking the Scot’s driven effort from Keane Lewis-Potter’s pull-back.

But the resulting corner on 38 minutes brought the third goal Hull City were craving, Greaves rising highest to head home Honeyman’s inswinging delivery for his long-awaited first Tigers goal.

It was the perfect end to an enthralling first half and the Tigers should have been home and hosed 12 minutes into the second period.

Balcombe's sliced, scooped clearance went straight to Lewis-Potter, who took his time before delicately dinking the ball over the shot-stopper but onto the outside of the post.

The visitors, who lost Docherty to injury moments before that golden chance, spent the remainder of the game on the back foot.

Darren Moore's men had penalty appeals waved away after Josh Sims’ close-range shot from Taylor Richards’ cut-back appeared to strike Coyle’s hand.

Rovers protested vehemently but to no avail and were incredulous when shouts for another spot-kick fell on deaf ears from a James corner.

Doncaster were building up a head of steam and were eventually given a penalty on 67 minutes, Bogle sending Matt Ingram the wrong way after Sims was tripped by Wilks.

That made for a nervy final quarter and the Tigers - having made all of their permitted substitutions - were forced to finish the game with 10 men after a worrying injury to Honeyman.

The influential midfielder stayed down after colliding with Jason Lokilo and required a lengthy spell of treatment before leaving the field on a stretcher with his head in a neck brace.

It had been a breathtaking match packed full of incident and there was to be one last twist in the tale.

In the 12th minute of added time, substitute Coppinger stepped over a free-kick and curled a sublime 20-yard effort into the top corner to rescue an unlikely point.

 

Doncaster Rovers: Ellery Balcombe, Brad Halliday, Reece James, Tom Anderson ©, Joe Wright, Madger Gomes (John Bostock 45’), Omar Bogle, Jon Taylor (James Coppinger 86’), Matt Smith (Scott Robertson 86’), Taylor Richards, Josh Sims (Jason Lokilo 76’).

Subs: Louis Jones, Andy Butler, Cameron John.

 

Hull City: Matt Ingram; Lewie Coyle ©, Reece Burke, Jacob Greaves, Callum Elder, Alfie Jones, George Honeyman, Greg Docherty (Regan Slater 56’); Mallik Wilks (Josh Emmanuel 81’), Josh Magennis (Gavin Whyte 68’), Keane Lewis-Potter.

Subs: George Long, James Scott, Sean McLoughlin, Crowley.


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