MATCH REPORT: Doncaster Rovers 1 Coventry City 1

Spot the ball: Billy Sharp steals a march on his markers as Doncaster Rovers and Coventry City fought out a draw at the Keepmoat Stadium last night.                 Picture: Steve Taylor
Spot the ball: Billy Sharp steals a march on his markers as Doncaster Rovers and Coventry City fought out a draw at the Keepmoat Stadium last night. Picture: Steve Taylor
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A LATE goal by striker James Hayter rescued a point for Doncaster Rovers in a scrappy contest at the Keepmoat Stadium.

A first-half goal by striker Freddie Eastwood had looked likely to earn Coventry City only their second win of the year until Hayter celebrated his first start following a month on the sidelines with a calf injury.

Midfield tussle: Rovers and Coventry players battle for the ball

Midfield tussle: Rovers and Coventry players battle for the ball

Rovers were without defender Joe Mills and midfielders Paul Keegan and John Oster who all picked up injuries is Saturday’s 5-2 defeat at Leeds and defender Sam Hird was relegated to the bench.

Shelton Martis, who was playing his first game since early January, Dennis Souza, Mark Wilson and James Coppinger all came in. Striker James Hayter replaced Dean Shiels while Coventry had 19 year-old Michael Quirke on debut in goal.

City, who arrived at the Keepmoat Stadium boasting just one win in their last 14 league games, were the first side to get a shot of note on goal, but Rovers keeper Gary Woods had Gary McSheffrey’s sixth-minute 20-yarder covered all the way.

Franck Moussa, who did well to stay on his feet in the box, shot wide of the near post from a tight angle on 17 minutes.

Woods did well to tip a goalbound header by striker Lukas Jutkiewicz from David Bell’s right-wing cross, over the bar for a corner.

Coventry took the lead on 22 minutes, striker Freddie Eastwood steering the ball home in clinical fashion from McSheffrey’s delivery.

Eastwood went close to grabbing a second goal, shooting just wide of the far post.

Quirke was equal to the task when Coppinger tried his luck with a low 20 yarder.

Rovers were fortunate when a goalbound shot by Bell struck centre-back George Friend.

McSheffrey took a tumble in the box trying to cut in from the flank but his pleas for a penalty fell on deaf ears.

Coventry would surely have doubled their lead had skipper Richard Wood been able to make contact with a cross into the box six yards from goal.

Rovers went close to an equaliser on 34 minutes, Quirke doing well to tip skipper Brian Stock’s 25 yarder on to the underside of the bar.

Coppinger, pushed from behind as he went to latch on to the loose ball, had strong claims for a penalty.

There was a let-off for Rovers on 53 minutes when Jutkiewicz shot over from less than six yards out after getting on the end of McSheffrey’s cross.

Rovers took off leading scorer Sharp, who had taken a knock, on 61 minutes and brought on Spurs loanee Ryan Mason. It was the teenager’s first taste of action since suffering a hamstring injury.

Sammy Clingan shot tamely at Woods from the edge of the area following a neat move down the left by the visitors.

Rovers, who were playing better football now, made a second change on 79 minutes, Hird replacing the tiring Martis. Coppinger had a shot blocked by Quirke at the near post after cutting in from the right on 81 minutes. Mason had a goalbound 20 yarder headed clear by a defender in the same raid. .

Hayter levelled the scores when claiming his ninth goal of the season. It was all Rovers in the five minutes of stoppage-time but City held out.

Rovers: G Woods 6 Martis **6 Souza ***6 Thomas 6 Friend 6 Coppinger 6 Wilson 6 Stock 6 Moussa 6 Hayter 6 Sharp 6 * Substitutes Alnwick Hird **79 Gillett R Burge Kilgallon ***88 Shiels Mason *61.

Coventry: Quirke 7 Keogh 6 Camerson 6 Wood 6 Cranie 6 Bell *6 Gunnarsson 6 Clingan 6 McSheffrey 8 Jutkiewicz 7 Eastwood 7 Subsititutes Clarke L Burge Hussey O’Halloran Ruffles, Baker *89 O’Donovan.

Goals: Rovers: Hayter (89); Coventry: Eastwood (22).

Referee: David Webb.

Bookings: Rovers: Stock; Coventry: Cameron.

Attendance: 7.921.