Doncaster Rovers: Husband strike seals draw

Paul Quinn in action for Rovers in their draw with Crawley.
Paul Quinn in action for Rovers in their draw with Crawley.
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JAMES Husband’s close range header moved Doncaster Rovers back into the League One automatic promotion placings as they secured a hard fought 1-1 draw at Crawley Town, writes Dom Howson.

Husband, a graduate of the club’s youth system, claimed his first ever senior goal just two minutes before half-time to cancel out Josh Simpson’s stunning opener 25th minute.

The precocious youngster, who can operate at left back or on the left wing, ghosted in unmarked at the back post to nod home David Cotterill’s inviting cross after neat interplay between Billy Paynter and James Coppinger. Although Rovers leapfrogged Sheffield United in the standings, the club have now gone four matches without a victory.

On a bobbly, tricky surface, Simpson broke the deadlock, rifling in an unstoppable right foot shot past Gary Woods after Rob Jones only half cleared Nicky Adams dangerous centre. Simpson, the hosts captain, was later taken off after suffering an ankle problem.

After the break, Billy Clarke, who enjoyed a productive loan spell at Sheffield United last season, tried his luck from distance but Gary Wood was equal to it. Moments later, Rovers survived another scare as Mustapha Dumbuya robbed James Husband of possession on the left but the former Rovers player fired straight at Woods from an acute angle.

In the 64th minute, Crawley’s Jamie Proctor rose well to meet Clarke’s dangerous centre only to direct it inches wide.

Then Paynter joined Lee Fowler and Jamie McCombe in the referee’s notebook following a string of fouls.

Crawley continued to put Rovers under the cosh and it took a fine interception from Tommy Spurr to cut out Clarke’s cross after Matt Sadler opened up the right hand side of the visitors defence.

With 10 minutes remaining, Clarke smartly turned Rob Jones on the edge of the area but his cross narrowly evaded Sergio Torres in the middle.

Rovers manager Brian Flynn threw on Kyle Bennett in the 75th minute to try and inject a bit of pace and purpose into their play. However, the visitors were indebted to Rob Jones as the player-coach made an inch perfect challenge to stop Clarke from having a sight at goal.

The South Yorkshire club hardly created anything as an attacking force in the second period but held on to claim a valuable point.

Crawley: P Jones, Dumbuya, Sadler, Connolly, Clarke, Sparrow, Simpson, Walsh, Proctor, Bulman, Adams. Subs: Essam, Torres, Hunt, O’Brien, Elford-Alliyu, M Jones, Maddison.

Rovers: G Woods, Quinn, McCombe, Jones, Spurr, Cotterill, Fowler, Harper, Husband, Coppinger, Paynter. Subs: Maxted, Wakefield, Middleton, M Woods, Bennett, Sinclair, Ball.

Referee: Andy D’Urso.

Attendance: 3,267