MATCH REPORT: Sheffield United 0 Doncaster Rovers 0
ROVERS claimed the well-deserved point they seemed happy to get after a dour South Yorkshire derby at Bramall Lane.
It may have made for a lacklustre spectacle but it was a fine defensive performance from Dean Saunders’ men as they frustrated at Sheffield United side lacking invention.
Barring a frenetic opening five minutes, there was little action with United dominating possession but unable to break down a resilient defensive unit backed by Gary Woods, putting in perhaps his most assured performance of the campaign.
Jamie McCombe and, in particular, Rob Jones were behemoths at the back, swatting away crosses.
When Rovers did manage possession, they looked for lone front man Chris Brown in the main.
When the ball was on the ground for Rovers, there was a certain degree of overplaying which saw them lose possession cheaply.
Far from a sign of things to come, it was a fast and furious start to the game for the unchanged Rovers side.
And it took two fine saves from Mark Howard to prevent them from taking the lead inside the second minute.
Martin Woods snatched possession as Neill Collins failed to clear his lines and drilled a shot on the angle which Howard parried out.
Brown latched onto the rebound ten yards out but could not send his curling effort beyond Howard.
Richard Cresswell should have done better at the end a few moments later but blasted over the bar after Marcus Williams let the ball run through.
The two sides seemed to cancel each other out after the first ten minutes but United began to take a stranglehold on possession.
Woods had to produce an excellent save to deny full back Tony McMahon, tipping a curling effort from 20 yards over the bar.
Woods dealt with pressure from Williams well to deny Harry Maguire who sent a header from a corner on target.
The second half started as slow as the first finished and it took eight minutes for either side to get sight of goal.
Paul Keegan produced a superb hooking tackle to rob possession from Williams who was lining a shot up after charging into the area.
United had the majority of the chances with Rovers’ best coming when McCombe headed a Tommy Spurr long throw on target.
Woods had to be alert to react at his near post as McMahon sent in a low in-swinging free kick from the left.
Rovers were guilty over overplaying a little when in possession and would lose the ball far too quickly on a number of occasions.
Nick Blackman missed an open goal for United after Woods was knocked over challenging substitute Dave Kitson for a cross.
The final whistle brought a deal of relief to the 1,470 travelling supporters and handed a much-deserved point for the visitors.
Sheffield United: Mark Howard, Harry Maguire, Matt Hill, Nick Blackman, Kevin McDonald, Neill Collins, David McAllister, Richard Cresswell (Dave Kitson, 66), Paul Gallagher (John Cofie, 86), Tony McMahon, Marcus Williams.
Subs: Darryl Westlake, Chris Porter, Shaun Miller, John Cofie, Jordan Chapell, George Long.
Doncaster Rovers: Gary Woods, Paul Quinn, Jamie McCombe, Rob Jones, Tommy Spurr, David Cotterill (James Husband, 85), Martin Woods, Paul Keegan, David Syers (James Harper, 66), Kyle Bennett (Robbie Blake, 87), Chris Brown.
Subs: Jonathan Maxted, Shelton Martis, Iain Hume.
Referee: Mark Haywood.
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