FT Rovers/Reds: Doncaster 2 Barnsley 2

Doncaster Rovers' Jordan Bowery in action against Barnsley at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Doncaster Rovers' Jordan Bowery in action against Barnsley at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Barnsley grabbed a last-ditch equaliser as the Keepmoat relegation six-pointer ended all square.

Rovers boss Paul Dickov was keen to stress this was no ordinary game for Doncaster Rovers.

His Barnsley counterpart might not have been so much importance on the South Yorkshire derby, at least publicly, but there was little doubt to the significance of the clash.

Two sides desperate to claw as many points as possible from the remaining fixtures, desperate to secure their Championship status. This was no average clash, no average derby.

Victory for the Reds would have placed them in prime position to emerge from the bottom three in the coming weeks. Should results have gone their way, Barnsley could have been left two points from safety with two games in hand.

A triumph for the hosts would have delivered a major boost to their survival hopes and dealt a big blow to those of their rivals from along the A635.

The form book favoured the hosts who went four games without defeat before last weekend’s loss at Brighton while Barnsley had won just twice in 16 league matches.

The Reds, for the first half at least, did not look a downtrodden outfit, instead displaying plenty of intensity and endeavour.

It made for an enthralling opening half with each side denying the other space to operate, meaning clear cut chances were few in number.

The first real chance of the game fell to Rovers when Meite rose highest to meet a Duffy corner but could only put his header well over the bar from six yards.

It took a mistake from Rovers keeper Johnstone for Barnsley to open the scoring on 27 minutes.

Johnstone allowed the ball to bounce in front of him and was hesitant to claim allowing PROSCHWITZ in to nod over him and slam into an empty net.

Rovers were denied what looked a nailed-on penalty just moments later.

The ball was tossed around the area from a corner before falling to Husband whose back leg was whipped out from under him by Woods, right in front of referee D’Urso who allowed play to continue.

Barnsley looked to have doubled their lead soon after when Cranie rose well to head the ball home off the bar from a corner but it was ruled out for a foul.

Rovers responded well and could have drawn level on 36 minutes. Husband swung a ball in low from the right which Khumalo met with a diving header but failed to get enough power into the effort to trouble Steele.

Another error from a keeper brought Rovers’ equaliser in first half stoppage time.

Steele rose to claim the ball but collided with one of his own players and dropped the ball with COPPINGER able to slot into an empty net.

Rovers came out strong for the second half with Duffy twice going close in the early stages.

First he hit a stunning free kick from the corner of the box which Steele just managed to tip over. And then he tested the Reds keeper’s alertness with a near post drive that was well-claimed.

But Rovers would double their advantage on 55 minutes. Brown flicked a Husband low cross to COPPINGER who hooked a shot just inside the post via a deflection.

Barnsley responded well and twice came close to levelling. Proschwitz drew a superb save from Johnstone with a curling effort from the edge of the box which the keeper stretched to tip over.

And then a Woods piledriver flew just wide from 30 yards.

Johnstone further atoned for his earlier mistake by again producing a top class save to deny Proschwitz.

Rovers’ defence was caught flat-footed allowing substitute O’Brien to pick out a free Proschwitz who headed on goal with Johnstone reacting superbly to hook the ball wide.

The keeper was almost caught out moments later when he watched a Ramage header from the edge of his box sail over his head only to strike the bar on its way out.

Brown could have secured the win for Doncaster when he met an in-swinging free kick from Duffy but could only flick it over the bar.

Rovers retreated deeper and deeper as the half wore on and Barnsley got their just rewards with a leveller in the final minute of normal time.

O’Grady powered to the byline and cut back for PROSCHWITZ who drilled home from close range to give his side a fair share of the spoils after a breathless encounter.