Rovers enjoy dream start
Doncaster marked their first game in the Championship with an excellent 1-0 win at Derby.
Last Updated: 09/08/08 6:11pm
Doncaster Rovers marked their first game in the Championship with an excellent 1-0 win at Derby County.
Fresh from relegation from the Premier League, Derby were expected to start their push for an immediate top-flight return with three points.
However, Paul Jewell's remodelled Rams failed to count on Lewis Guy spoiling the afternoon as he scored a 58th minute winner.
Jewell handed debuts to seven of his 13 summer signings, including Paul Green who moved to Pride Park from Doncaster, while Paul Connolly and Steve Davies were named as substitutes.
The Derby boss had wanted to rid the club of their "losing mentality" following last season but the hosts looked as disjointed as ever at times, particularly after falling behind.
Gareth Taylor, starting in midfield, had the first chance of the game after 19 minutes when he volleyed narrowly wide on the turn from 12 yards out.
Derby responded by creating two chances in as many minutes midway through the first half.
Kris Commons' driving run and dipping shot was smothered by Neil Sullivan.
Commons' quick thinking then almost broke through moments later. His quickly-taken free-kick released Tyrone Mears down the right-hand side of the penalty area.
Mears' low cross found Rob Hulse but he did not get the desired contact. As he tried to adjust his feet he awkwardly poked the ball against the post from eight yards out as Sullivan stood rooted to the spot.
Commons threatened again as his powerful long-range shot had to be helped over the crossbar by Sullivan.
Hulse looped a left-foot volley over the crossbar just before the break following good work down the left-hand side by Przemyslaw Kazmierczak.
Doncaster's goal arrived courtesy of a well-worked free-kick on the right-hand side on 58 minutes.
As the ball was delivered low into the penalty area, James Coppinger cleverly let the ball run through his legs and Guy slid in front of Jay McEveley to deftly steer it across Roy Carroll and into the far bottom corner.
Only a fine reflex save from Carroll to keep out Guy's volley just after the hour mark prevented matters from getting worse for Derby.
Hulse had a chance to rescue a point in the first of six added minutes at the end of the match, but the summer signing from Sheffield United scooped his shot over the crossbar from 12 yards out.