THOUSANDS of free tickets were given away to ensure fans cheered relegation battling Doncaster Rovers in their game against Crystal Palace - but a scrappy stalemate did little to ease fears, writes Graham Walker.
Rovers enjoyed the better of the contest with Jason Euell, James O’Connor and Wayne Thomas going close, but they are now without a win in nine games - although they did at least pick up just a second clean sheet in 16 matches.
It was a rare away point for fellow strugglers Palace and they came closest to a goal as Neil Danns hit the post in the second half and substitute Steffen Iversen fired over.
But Scunthorpe’s draw at Coventry means Rovers and the Londoners remain just five and three points above the npower Championship drop zone respectively.
Rovers, who recorded a crowd of 14,312 for this Keepmoat Stadium fixture, after making tickets free to home fans, handed a start to on-loan striker Euell as Mustapha Dumbuya returned in defence while Matthew Kilgallon dropped to the bench.
Palace boss Dougie Freedman brought Wilfried Zaha and Pablo Counago into his side at the expense of Iversen and the injured James Vaughan. Sean Scannell was suspended following his red card against Scunthorpe.
Despite the importance of the game, it was the visitors who made an assured start with the lively Zaha giving O’Connor a torrid time, and only a block by goalkeeper Gary Woods stopped the winger’s low centre picking out Counago.
The opening 20 minutes proved to be a predictably scrappy affair but Doncaster grew in confidence as they started to get men forward to support lone striker Euell.
For full report see The Star and The Green Un tomorrow.
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RESULTS, FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2011:
Doncaster Rovers 0 Crystal Palace 0
Northampton Town v Rothrham United (Kick off 7.45pm)
FIXTURES, SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2011 (Kick offs 3pm):
Sheffield United v Bristol City
Watford v Barnsley
Wallsall v Sheffield Wednesday
Oxford United v Chesterfield
FIXTURES, EASTER MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2011 (Kick offs 3pm):
Reading v Sheffield United
Barnsley v Doncaster
Sheffield Wednesday v Swindon Town
League Two: Chesterfield v Bury
Rotherham United v Gillingham