Match Report: Doncaster Rovers 0 Crawley Town 0

Paul Dickov cut a frustrated figure as Rovers continued to struggle in front of goal and in front of home support
Paul Dickov cut a frustrated figure as Rovers continued to struggle in front of goal and in front of home support
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Paul Dickov would have liked nothing more than a scrappy 1-0 win to celebrate his 200th league game as a manager.

But he only got the scrappy element as Doncaster’s search for an elusive home win continued.

Doncaster Rovers' James Coppinger on the attack against Crawley Town.

Doncaster Rovers' James Coppinger on the attack against Crawley Town.

Dickov at least got part of his pre-match wish-list.

His team showed better concentration than the last two games and kept their first clean sheet since their win at Colchester.

They set up a base and for long periods showed an element of control against a Town side happy to take a point home.

But despite the best efforts of Richie Wellens, James Coppinger and Kyle Bennett - Rovers’ main creative forces - they ran out of ideas against John Gregory’s dogged Crawley Town, and saved their best spell for stoppage time.

Rovers' Theo Robinson.

Rovers' Theo Robinson.

But it was a case of too little too late as Rovers’ win-less run at the Keepmoat, which stretches back to March, continued. Chesterfield are the visitors on Saturday, and the natives are growing somewhat restless.

Dickov, who recalled Nathan Tyson and reverted to a 4-4-2 formation in the absence of suspended Harry Forrester, had stressed the need to make a solid start and it was his side that settled quicker.

Wellens shot wide from distance, while Coppinger and Bennett both saw efforts deflected wide.

Rovers’ best early chance fell to Tyson, who inadvertently diverted Bennett’s dangerous free kick delivery away from goal.

Crawley had not really got their foot on the ball but they came close to breaking the deadlock on 17 minutes when Gavin Tomlin got to the by-line and picked out an unmarked Ryan Dickson who headed just wide.

Rovers appeared to be on top but it was from another Tomlin centre that Izale McLeod saw his goal-bound effort blocked by Luke McCullough as Town refused to let Rovers have things all their own way.

Bennett then saw another shot deflected wide after some neat link-up on the edge of the area.

As the half drifted to a scrappy conclusion, Rovers had been restricted to shots from distance - but at least they had a base to build from that they so desperately needed.

The home side started the second half on top too.

Robinson broke clear but his crossed was blocked, before Crawley’s wall held firm from Bennett’s free kick on the edge.

Doncaster then saw a penalty appeal for handball waved away after some classy build-up from Wellens, who was beginning to run the show in midfield.

Crawley were defending doggedly and every now and again countering. McLeod saw a low effort deflected just wide.

Coppinger, captain in the absence of Rob Jones, tried to grab the game by the scruff of the neck during the final quarter and saw a decent driven effort saved by Jamie Ashdown.

Tyson also turned on the edge of the box and fired over as Rovers became more desperate in their play.

But it wasn’t until stoppage time that Doncaster really upped the ante and put Town’s goal under a concerted period of pressure.

First Robinson’s header was clawed away by Ashdown underneath the bar.

And the Town goalkeeper, a summer trialist with Rovers, then made a double save to deny Coppinger from distance and Robinson on the rebound.

Rovers: Steer, Wabara, McCombe, McCullough, Evina, Coppinger, Wellens, Keegan, Bennett, Robinson, Tyson. Not used: Marosi, Furman, Wakefield, De Val, Peterson, Askins, Ferguson

Crawley: Ashdown, Bawling, Dickson, Sadler, Leacock, Smith, Wright (Henderson 56), Walsh, Keane, Tomlin (Banya 78), McLeod (Harrold 82). Not used: Bradley, Young, Edwards, Jenson.

cards: Yellow: Bennett (Doncaster), Leacock, Sadler (Crawley)