Match report: Doncaster Rovers 2 Sheffield Wednesday 2

Doncaster Rovers' Harry Forrester is tackled by Sheffield Wednesday's Jacques Maghoma. Picture: Andrew Roe
Doncaster Rovers' Harry Forrester is tackled by Sheffield Wednesday's Jacques Maghoma. Picture: Andrew Roe
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A tale of two takeovers and two goals apiece was the story of the day as Rovers and the Owls battled out a pre-season draw at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Goals from Atdhe Nuhiu and Michail Antonio had Wednesday in full control just after the break before Rovers were drawn back level through Marc De Val and Kyle Bennett.

Sheffield Wednesday's manager Stuart Gray. Picture: Andrew Roe

Sheffield Wednesday's manager Stuart Gray. Picture: Andrew Roe

Overall it was a well-matched friendly between two sides who have endured a summer of uncertainty so far.

Despite the early promise for both teams, neither squad resembles anything close to what either of their respective managers would have hoped for with just a fortnight remaining until the start of the season.

For the Owls, the continuing delay in Hafiz Mammadov’s buyout of the club means Stuart Gray’s business has been restricted to two new signings and the tying down three out-of-contract players.

Such business would be a dream for Rovers boss Paul Dickov, who continues to pick through the wreckage of the collapsed takeover attempt by John Ryan and Louis Tomlinson.

Doncaster Rovers' manager Paul Dickov. Picture: Andrew Roe

Doncaster Rovers' manager Paul Dickov. Picture: Andrew Roe

From having a speculative budget capable of pushing for an immediate return to the Championship, Dickov now must work with more modest means. Promoting youth is the order of the season.

While his starting XI bore little evidence of that fact - other than youngster Scott Brown at right back - his subsitute’s bench was certainly telling with three first year professionals among the eight replacements named.

Dickov will have been buoyed by another strong performance from his side, particularly from trialists Nathan Tyson and Cedric Evina who he is keen to business with this week.

For the Owls, trialist Dejan Kelhar started his second consecutive friendly as he looks to secure a deal. Supporters may have been hoping for a few more new faces in the squad after a long summer.

Doncaster Rovers' Marc De Val Fernandez heads away from Sheffield Wednesday's Rhys McCabe. Picture: Andrew Roe

Doncaster Rovers' Marc De Val Fernandez heads away from Sheffield Wednesday's Rhys McCabe. Picture: Andrew Roe

The game began at a brisk pace with the Owls enjoying the best of the early possession.

Such a pace would not be maintained throughout the half as both sides struggled to produce crisp play.

Wednesday had the greater success in possession but were regularly undone by misplaced passes in the middle of the park or long balls into the channels from the back.

Rovers struggled to get going in the early stages but used the pace in the side well to begin to find the gaps in the Owls defence.

Doncaster Rovers' Paul Keegan keeps close to Sheffield Wednesday's Jeremy Helan. Picture: Andrew Roe

Doncaster Rovers' Paul Keegan keeps close to Sheffield Wednesday's Jeremy Helan. Picture: Andrew Roe

It was the hosts who had the first real opportunity and trialist Nathan Tyson really should have put them ahead.

Theo Robinson produced a particularly tame shot from the edge of the box which Wednesday’s defenders failed to track, allowing Tyson to dart in and take the ball past Chris Kirkland only to fail to get a shot away before it ran out of the play.

It was Rovers’ defenders who were caught standing when a Jacques Maghoma raced onto a well-weighted Kieran Lee through ball and drilled a shot, albeit straight at Ben Williams.

Harry Forrester increasingly found space between the Owls’ two banks of four and almost caught Kirkland out with a low drive but Kamil Zayatte lunged in to block the ball and send it a yard wide.

Wednesday really should have taken the lead on 29 minutes. Lee sent in a fine cross, finding a free Antonio at the near post but the winger could only head wide.

The Owls did go ahead three minutes from the break after a superb run from Jaques Maghoma.

Doncaster Rovers' Kyle Bennett celebrates his equaliser with Harry Forrester. Picture: Andrew Roe

Doncaster Rovers' Kyle Bennett celebrates his equaliser with Harry Forrester. Picture: Andrew Roe

The wide man robbed the ball from Kyle Bennett just inside his own half and surged across the field to the right byline, beating Luke McCullough and sending in a near post cross to an unmarked Nuhiu who powered a header past Williams.

Wednesday doubled their lead two minutes into the second half with Maghoma again providing the creative spark.

He ghosted past Brown on the left and drilled a low ball across the box which ran out to Antonio who lashed into the bottom corner from 18 yards.

The two goal margin lasted just three minutes as Rovers pulled a goal back.

Tyson battled superbly against Helan and Kelhar to release Bennett who clipped a ball into the heart of the area where half time substitute De Val darted in and side-footed a volley past Kirkland.

Gray began his raft of changes around the hour mark and within a few minutes saw his side concede the equaliser courtesy of a superb free kick from Bennett.

The winger - who has impressed throughout the summer following a season on the fringes at Rovers - stepped up and curled the dead ball into the top corner from 20 yards, leaving Kirkland standing.

The game petered out after Rovers’ second goal but the Owls twice went close to going back in front.

Substitute Rhys McCabe went close with a 20 yard drive while Rovers keeper Williams produced a superb reaction stop with his feet when Antonio turned and shot inside the area.

Rovers threatened themselves, using their pace to get in behind but there was little to trouble Kirkland. As the game wore on, Rovers looked much the equal of their higher league visitors.

Both bosses will feel they have plenty to do before August 9.

Rovers: Williams, Brown, Wakefield, McCullough, Evina, Bennett, Furman, Keegan (De Val 46), Forrester, Tyson, Robinson.

Subs: Trialist, Peterson, Middleton, J McKay, Gordon, Whitehouse, P McKay.

Owls: Kirkland, Palmer, Zayatte (Loovens 61), Kelhar, Helan (Mattock 72), Antonio, Lee (McCabe 72), Coke (Hutchinson 61), Maghoma, Lavery (Madine 58), Nuhiu (Maguire 61).

Subs: Wildsmith, Sanders, Floro, Corry, Young.

Goals: Nuhiu (42), Antonio (47), De Val (50), Bennett (65)