Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Moore says there was no more fitting a player to produce last-gasp heroics than James Coppinger as he secured a dramatic 3-3 draw with Hull City.
Wearing a charity third kit he had designed to mark his 17th and final season at the club, Coppinger curled in a stunning free-kick deep into injury time to earn Rovers a point from a battle of the two promotion rivals.
It capped an excellent fightback from Doncaster, who found themselves 3-1 down at half-time thanks to a Mallik Wilks brace and a Jacob Greaves header, with Reece James pulling a goal back.
But an Omar Bogle penalty set the stage for Coppinger’s brilliant equaliser on a day when he was honoured.
“For the day, the occasion, the player, the moment and the well-struck free-kick, it was so fitting for it to have been James Coppinger who scored that,” Moore said.
“I’ve said to him downstairs, if there was ever a man for the occasion, it was him.
“He didn’t let it overawe him, he kept his composure, he kept his calm and he struck the free-kick so well.
“It’s a moment that fans will have seen online and it will have been gut-wrenching for them not to be here.
“He’s still got a lot of football to play. We had a chat on the morning of the game and he’s as hungry as anything. There’s more still to come this season.
“If we needed someone of class and brilliance for a special moment, he was the perfect man for it and we’re thankful that has played out that way.”
Hull City boss Grant McCann felt his side should have put the game to bed in the first half and bemoaned a lack of intensity from his players after the break.
“We should have been out of sight in the first half, with two cleared off the line and a load of chances,” McCann said.
“Every time we went forward I thought we were going to score. Every time we had a set-piece I thought we were going to score.
“When you’re 3-1 up, it gives the opposition chance to reset and regroup.
“In the second half we went against the way we’d been doing in the first half. The press wasn’t right and we lacked a bit of intensity. We didn’t get on the ball enough.
“These are things that I need to look at and address and get back to where we need to be.”
There was concern for George Honeyman after he suffered a neck injury late in the game.
The midfielder left the field on a stretcher, in a neck brace, after 12 minutes’ treatment and was taken to hospital.
“We’re hoping it’s nothing serious and we wish him all the best,” McCann said.