Doncaster Rovers 0 Crawley Town 0
Reds picked up a valuable point after a battling performance at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Jamie Ashdown justified his call-up in place of Brian Jensen with three great saves in the closing stages as Doncaster pushed for a winner but this was a resolute and resilient Crawley performance and they thoroughly deserved a share of the spoils.
They worked hard all over the pitch and had a couple of decent chances themselves, with Ryan Dickson close to a goal with a first-half header.
Reds made two changes to the team which beat Fleetwood 1-0 on Saturday. Ashdown was in goal in place of Jensen and there was a start at right-back for Bobson Bawling, with Jimmy Smith moving into midfield. Conor Henderson dropped to a bench which also included fit-again Gwion Edwards. Lanre Oyebanjo and Josh Simpson were still sidelined by injury.
For his 200th game as a manager Paul Dickov named Kyle Bennett, who had a month on loan with Reds last season, in his starting line-up.
Bennett looked lively as Doncaster forced a couple of corners in the opening 10 minutes but with players on both sides snapping into blocks and challenges quickly neither side played with a lot of cohesion in the first half.
Reds had a half-chance when Bawling stood up an inviting cross for Dickson to attack. His header was deflected into the path of Izale McLeod but he failed to keep his shot down.
The visitors went even closer on 17 minutes with the best chance of the first 45 minutes. Jimmy Smith and Tomlin combined well down the right and Dickson met Gavin Tomlin’s centre but his powerful header dropped inches wide of the right-hand post.
McLeod saw a volley deflected for a corner while at the other end the visitors defended solidly and direct threats on Ashdown’s goal in the first 45 minutes were rare. James Coppinger and Bennett combined well and the latter’s shot was deflected over although the wide man blotted his copybook when he was cautioned on 30 minutes for tripping McLeod.
The hosts began the second half on the front foot without getting behind the Reds’ defence too often. Crawley were well organised and continued to deny the hosts any space.
The first change came on 58 minutes when Wright was replaced by Henderson and as Reds began to get forward a bit more often McLeod’s angled drive on 68 minutes was deflected wide then Tomlin’s header from a decent position struck a defender.
Tomlin was replaced by Charles Banya then Matt Harrold came on for McLeod and in the final stages the home side threw the kitchen sink at Reds in search of late reward.
Ashdown held a powerful drive from Coppinger then made a superb save to keep out Theo Robinson’s header in the 90th minute after the striker had got on the end of Reece Wabara’s cross.
Into injury time and Ashdown spread himself to make another great save from Robinson before blocking his follow-up effort. It was backs to the wall stuff for Reds who finished the game with ten men after Dickson hobbled off with an ankle injury, but Crawley held out to pick up an excellent point.