Reds-Rovers FT: Barnsley 0 Doncaster 0

Barnsley's David Perkins is challenged by Rovers' Richie Wellens
Barnsley's David Perkins is challenged by Rovers' Richie Wellens
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In a quite surreal build-up to the game, chairman John Ryan told reporters he had resigned as chairman of Doncaster Rovers - bringing to an end his celebrated 15-year stint at the helm of his boyhood club.

As the news broke, right on kick off, Ryan was serenaded by Doncaster fans with chants of ‘one John Ryan’. The long-serving chairman responded with a wave from the directors’ box and then took his seat for a vital battle at the bottom of the Championship.

After a rather timid start to the game, the first real opening saw O’Brien release O’Grady down the right but his cross was hooked clear by Quinn.

From Kennedy’s resultant corner M’voto - on trial at Doncaster over the summer and booed by the visiting fans - headed just wide with the goal at his mercy.

Rovers registered their first attempt on the quarter hour. Duffy delivered a teasing free kick but Khumalo failed to get his header on target.

Moments later the South African defender was involved at the other end for all the wrong reasons. After more good work from O’Grady, Khumalo clumsily hauled down Pedersen in the box and Kevin Friend had no hesitation pointing to the spot. However, Turnbull kept out O’Grady’s kick with a good low save to his right, much to the relief of the Rovers fans behind the goal.

As Barnsley continued to press, the ball presented itself to Perkins on the edge of the box but his shot was straight at Turnbull.

Rovers’ main threat continued to be from set pieces, Khumalo again got on the end of a Duffy delivery but headed over.

Neat interplay between Quinn, Brown and Wellens pleased Dickov but it was a rarity as Doncaster were a little ponderous and nervy in possession, as Barnsley’s more direct play offered more of a goal threat.

That was evident when O’Grady got on the end of Kennedy’s whipped cross but it was blocked and cleared by McCullough, who was doing a steady enough job in the absence of Rob Jones.

Duffy was seeing plenty of the ball for Doncaster and good build up by Wellens and Furman created space for the wideman to get a shot away from distance, only for it to be blocked by a Barnsley body.

McCourt danced through the Doncaster defence but prodded his close-range shot straight at Turnbull.

HALF-TIME

Barnsley............0

Rovers............. 0

With attention focused on the stunning events off the field, the second half kicked off with John Ryan still making his way up to take a seat among the visiting Rovers fans. The football was almost a sideshow.

But as Rovers fans raised the volume behind the goal their team was attacking, the visitors started the period at a good tempo, pressing their opponents more and forcing a corner as Duffy’s shot deflected wide.

Robinson, playing from the left of a midfield five, gave a glimpse of the renewed vigour and confidence when he shot from 40 yards but it went sailing over the bar.

There was a fright at the other end when O’Brien’s teasing left-wing cross just evaded Pedersen. Barnsley refused to let Rovers gain the upper hand and the dangerous McCourt unleashed an effort from distance but it sailed wide.

McCourt’s twinkle toes then again took him into the box but referee Friend this time waved away penalty appeals as he fell under a challenge.

Barnsley were again gaining a foothold and, as Cotterill replaced Robinson, Doncaster seemed happy to hold their shape and play on the counter attack.

O’Grady swivelled on the edge before his volley was blocked by Khumalo, before Perkins surged forward and his teasing centre had to be diverted wide by Quinn.

O’Grady held the ball up well on the edge of the Rovers box but his powerful shot was straight at Turnbull.

O’Brien then broke into the box but his cross was deflected wide by McCullough.

M’voto got on the end of McCourt’s floated cross from the right but could not direct his effort on target.

Rovers almost stole the points following a break down the right but Wellens curled his shot from the D just wide.

O’Grady wasted an even better chance at the other end, heading McCourt’s cross wide from six yards before Cwyka glanced a Kennedy free kick wide.