| DONCASTER ROVERS 4 CITY 3
League Division 2
7th October 1950
Ref J Pickles
Of all the matches at Belle Vue over the last 80 odd years, there cannot have been Another to match the sheer intense excitement and drama that overtook events in the game between the Rovers and . Manchester City in October, 1950. Both teams were settling down well in their new surroundings in the old Second Division. Rovers were in eighth place following their promotion as Champions of the Third Division (North) at the end of the previous season, whilst City had been relegated from the First Division at the same time. However, the men from Maine Road, had enjoyed a wonderful start to the new campaign and were still unbeaten in the league by the time of their visit to Belle Vue in the first week of October.
Many of Rovers’ Championship winning team of the previous season were still in evidence as the new season progressed, ,whilst City featured their famous German goalkeeper, Bert Trautmann who would go on to give them many years of wonderful service. Incidentally, it was their first visit to Doncaster on league business since December, 1902.
Before the game, both teams lined up in the middle of the field as “Abide with Me” was played by a band in tribute to those lost in a mining disaster at Creswell Colliery.
Rovers won the toss and elected to attack the Town End goal, but it was the visitors who took the lead as early as the fourth minute. Bycroft’s poor defensive header fell to Smith, and the City man wasted no time in driving the ball past Hardwick. The early goal merely served to fire up City still further, and it came as no surprise when Smith scored again after thirty three minutes, following good work by Spurdle and Oakes. There was worse to follow three minutes from the break, when Smith completed his hat-trick, touching home a headed pass from Westcott.
Little had been seen of Doncaster as an attacking force thus far. City had been both brilliant and breathtaking in their play, and thoroughly deserved their comprehensive lead. The Rovers had been outclassed, and there looked to be more to follow in the second period.
What happened during seven magical minutes in that second half has now passed into Rovers folklore. Within five minutes of the re-start, Harrison converted a cross from Calverley to open the Rovers account. Two minutes later, Lawlor caught Trautmann off his line with a delicate lob, and the deficit was down to a single goal. A further three minutes elapsed before Doncaster drew level with a penalty from Doherty after Rigby had handled a goalbound shot from Lowes. Despite the pressure of the occasion, Doherty put away the kick in his usual immaculate style and, amidst astonishing scenes, the Rovers set out for an incredible winning goal That winning goal seemed to have an air of inevitability about it, and it duly arrived just two minutes later when Doherty seemed to take on the whole of the City defence single-handed before beating Trautmann with a fine shot from twenty yards. Cue wild celebrations both on the field and off as the Rovers completed their remarkable comeback of four goals in just seven minutes, and there could have been even more. However, there was no further addition to the score, and the referee, Mr J S Pickles eventually blew his whistle for the final time on a quite remarkable match
Adapted from an article by Paul Gilligan Published in the Doncaster v Manchester City programme 14th July 2007