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Doncaster 1 City 1 (aet). Doncaster win 3-0 on pens.

Well, what can you say? We carried on the pattern so impressively set over the years at other distinguished opposition such as Halifax, Cardiff, Barnet, Lincoln et al by being dumped out of the Cup last night at Doncaster.
Starting with the game - true to my away day form I managed to get to the ground with kick-off already underway. Seemed like it was a real town outing with all of Donny coming out for this one. A few changes to the side with Onouha, Ireland and Hussein (for his debut) coming in for Mills, Barton and Musampa.
In truth it started like one of those games that seemed like it would go all the way to penalties. City, dominated the possession and were passing around nicely with the impressive Ireland and Hussein seeing plenty of the ball. However, as a follow on from Bolton there was a lack of edge up front with Sibierski and Vassell unable to penetrate the defence. Doncaster thoug, were rarely creating anything and it kept the crowd flat throughout most of the game.
The second half continued in the same vein and the City crowd (how many did we actually take by the way) began to get restless as any promise of an attack seemed to falter through an error. Croft was introduced for Hussein, who had showed a decent touch but looked lightweight, and began to see much of the ball but several crosses were wasted by a lack of attacking presence in the box.
City had a great chance with only minutes left when Sun Jihai ensured City won the crossbar challenge by rattling it from all of three yards, consigning the travelling Blues to another 30 minutes punishment before being able to escape. Less than five minutes into extra-time, City were awarded a penalty which Vassell converted (although it very nearly clipped the bar, hmm...) and most fans began to plot their exit to get home before midnight.
Onouha then slid in for what appeared a fifty-fifty challenge with their keeper, and after he was stretched off the referee decided to show the red card and we were down to ten men. This should be overturned on appeal and didn't really alter the game as Doncaster huffed and puffed but only created half chances in truth. Then just as we were filing towards the exit there was a cheer from the opposite end as the referee awarded a penalty to the home side and just when we could see a flash of light at the exit, we were dragged back in for the penalty shoot-out.
Doncaster won the toss and the shoot-out was in front of the home end. This was to be a surreal experience as the players lining up on the half-way line in solidarity, completely blocked the view of the goal. However, the moment we realised Vassell had missed we knew we were struggling and true to form, Sibierski and Dunne failed to convert prompting the stereotypical small town pitch invasion to celebrate the 'scalp' of a bigger fish.

It now places a big emphasis on Saturday's game away at Newcastle as a third defeat in a week will probably see the 'Pearce out' chants (piped in I wonder?). Seriously though, there were a few alarm bells again last night in theat it is apparant we missed either Cole or Fowler up front and need a creative midfielder to have more of an impact than Ireland did (who played well but faded after an hour). Is our small squad beginning to be exposed with a couple of injuries?
It will be a stern test at the Toon who probably feel their season has been kick-started now after the victory at Blackburn and they will be fresher with not having to play mid-week.
Pearce said he will know more about his side in defeat than victory - let's hope he doesn't learn much more on Saturday eh?