Rovers thwarted: Doncaster Rovers 0 Crystal Palace 0 - MATCH REPORT

Determined run: Doncaster Rovers midfielder James Coppinger looks to dribble past two Crystal Palace defenders at the Keepmoat Stadium yesterday.                Picture: Steve Taylor.
Determined run: Doncaster Rovers midfielder James Coppinger looks to dribble past two Crystal Palace defenders at the Keepmoat Stadium yesterday. Picture: Steve Taylor.
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The board had made over 7,000 free tickets available in a bid to generate the atmosphere they hoped would see Rovers come out on top in this vital six-pointer.

The Rovers fans in the club’s biggest gate of the year, did all that had been asked of them, but at the end of the day it didn’t produce the result they all wanted.

The players responded to O’Driscoll’s stinging criticism following the defeat at Hull and could consider themselves unfortunate not to take all three points.

They were a lot sounder defensively - George Friend leading the way in the back-four - with John Oster and James Coppinger showing up well further up the field along with on-loan striker Jason Euell.

O’Driscoll made several changes to his starting line-up with Mustapha Dumbuya returning at full-back after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury and Wayne Thomas being preferred to Shelton Martis at centre-back. Euell got the nod over James Hayter.

Palace were without striker James Vaughan, who failed a late fitness test on an ankle injury.

Palace were quickly out of the blocks and took the game to Rovers, who struggled to get out of their own half in the opening 10 minutes.

Coppinger put right-back James O’Connor in space down the right but his cross failed to pick out a team-mate.

Rovers first real chance on goal fell to Franck Moussa on 16 minutes - his angled shot being blocked for a corner.

Dumbuya, who had caught the eye with his pace on several previous occasions, got away down the left only to waste his efforts with a poor lay-off inside.

Former Palace favourite Oster shot just wide of the right-hand post with a low 25 yarder on 19 minutes as Rovers warmed to their task.

O’Connor had a shot blocked by a defender, and subsequently cleared by another, after latching on to Coppinger’s through ball in the box. Euell then shot wide of the near post with an angled effort.

Palace ‘keeper Julian Speroni got down well to smother a powerful downward header by Thomas from a corner.

The first chance of the second half fell to Rovers on 51 minutes, Euell shooting just wide after good work by Dumbuya and Gillett in the build-up.

Skipper Brian Stock shot wide of the other post from the edge of the area after Oster had squared the ball off to him

Euell did better on 57 minutes with an angled overhead kick but Speroni was well placed to collect.

Rovers’ keeper Gary Woods needed two attempts to smother a glancing header by Darren Ambrose a minute or so later.

Euell, who more than justified his place in the starting line-up, fired just wide of the far post on 69 minutes.

Neil Danns came closest yet to breaking the deadlock on 71 minutes, his low shot hitting the far post with Woods having done well to get a touch.

There was another let off for Rovers seconds later - substitute Steffen Iverson shooting over from from eight yards out from in front of goal after full-back Nathaniel Clyne had pulled the ball back for him.

The limping Dumbuya was replaced by Martis on 80 minutes. O’Connor shot over with a long-range effort on 87 minutes.

Both sides pushed for a late winner but their efforts proved in vain.

But with Scunthorpe also being held to a draw at Coventry, neither side lost ground on the teams in and around them at the bottom.

Rovers: G Woods 7 O’Connor 7 Thomas 7 Friend 8 Dumbuya ** 7 Coppinger ***8 Stock 7 Gillett 7 Oster 7 Moussa *6 Euell 8 Subs: Sullivan Martis ** 79 Wilson Mason Kilgallon Hayter * 73 Shiels ***88

PALACE: Speroni 7 Clyne 7 McCarthy 8 Gardner 7 Moxey 7 Ambrose 7 Danns 7 Agustein 6 Dikgocoa 7 Zaha **7 Counago *6

Subs: Davis Garvan Price Cadogan **90 Easter Wright Iverson * 68

Referee: Coln Webster

Booking: Rovers: Stock. Palace: McCarthy, Counago

Attendance: 14,312