Match Report

 

Sat 13 Aug 16

Reds worked hard against one of the EFL 2 promotion favourites to return from the Keepmoat Stadum with a point.


James Collins scored his first goal for the club on 25 minutes to give the visitors an interval lead they deserved.


Doncaster were level within four minutes of the re-start through James Coppinger but the home side’s efforts to find a winner were thwarted by a hard-working defensive display from the visitors.


With Jordan Roberts (toe) and Adi Yussuf (hamstring) not fit and Mark Connolly serving a one-match ban, Reds made three changes. Billy Clifford and on-loan Alex Davey came in for their first starts and Andre Blackman returned at left back after serving a suspension.


Reds began confidently, putting some nice moves together and working hard when they didn’t have the ball.


In contrast the hosts looked nervous early on and this was epitomised when goalkeeper Ross Etheridge sliced a clearance along his own goal under pressure from Collins with no Crawley player unable to capitalise.


Neither side produced a shot on target until the 25th minute when Crawley went in front. Jason Banton produced a terrific cross from the left which Etheridge failed to gather, giving Collins a simple tap-in on the line.


The hosts finally mustered a response eight minutes later when Coppinger missed by inches with a free kick from 20 yards given for a foul by Joe McNerney.


But Reds, who were neat in possession and full of menace in the final third, nearly doubled their lead a minute later when they broke away and Banton saw his shot from 20 yards strike a defender and deflect inches wide of the post.


The home fans were not slow in offering forthright opinions of their side’s shortcomings although Tommy Rowe twice came close improving their mood just before the break. Riccardo Calder’s inviting cross found the striker in space but he side-footed wide before sending a half-volley past the right-hand upright in stoppage time.


Doncaster made a change at the break, bringing on Tyler Garratt and reverting to 4-4-2 and within four minutes of the re-start they were level. Matty Blair picked out Coppinger from a left-wing corner and skipper Coppinger beat Yusuf Mersin with a well-struck shot inside the left-hand post.


Having enjoyed a lot of possession in the first half Reds now found it harder to get on the ball as the home crowd found their voice and the home side pressed for a second goal.


The home side still gave the ball away casually though and Josh Payne nearly profited when he met a loose ball 30 yards out and saw his effort dip and swerve just over the bar.


Reds made their first change with 20 minutes to go when Bobson Bawling’s energy was introduced for Billy Clifford before Rovers went close to profiting from another corner when John Marquis twisted to head a yard over.


With 13 minutes to go Josh Yorwerth replaced Jason Banton and slotted into midfield and in the closing stages Reds looked fairly comfortable, although they had to survive a shaky moment in the 89th minute when Mersin got down well to push the ball out after Coppinger bent a free kick from a central position 20 yards out round the wall. Moments into stoppage time Andy Williams blazed over after getting on the wrong side of Joe McNerney as Reds worked diligently to protect a well-deserved point.

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