The Doncaster – Oldham Autumn Test series ends with another stalemate at Boundary Park; James Hayter’s injury time spot kick earning Rovers a 1-1 draw. Having played each other four times in little over a month you could expect these sides to have worked out how to cancel one another out by this stage, yet this still proved to be an entertaining game. Both sides had come close in the opening twenty minutes of the game; Neil Sullivan denying Lee Hughes and almost immediately after Lewis Guy striking the crossbar at the other end.
Brian Stock had also threatened Mark Crossley’s goal, forcing the big Welshman to turn a thirty yard effort over the bar, but it was to be the home side who had the better of the first half. Neal Eardley and Craig Davies pulled efforts wide, and Sullivan had been called into action to deny a Neil Kilkenny header before, as with the game at the Keepmoat Stadium eleven days ago, the Latics scored on the stroke of half-time. Mark Allot’s shot from outside the box looked to be heading to Sullivan only to be deflected past him and in via an Oldham player’s hand.
The second half started much like the first with chances for both sides; Neal Trotman heading over and Martin Woods hitting the crossbar with a speculative thirty-yard effort. Rovers were threatening the hosts lead but the luck was not forthcoming as Mark Wilson pulled an effort wide and Woods and Stock forced further saves from Crossley. For all their raids on the home side’s goal, Rovers had Neil Sullivan to thank for the fact they were still only chasing a one goal deficit. With just over quarter of an hour remaining Sullivan somehow pulled off a point-blank save from Lee Hughes, and in the final five minutes the former West Brom striker was denied again by a Sullivan save. Storm weathered, Rovers received a lifeline.
In injury time Jamie Coppinger cut inside from the right and was brought down right on the edge of the penalty area; the Oldham players claimed it was outside, the referee decided it was inside. A penalty to the Rovers and despite the pressure James Hayter sent the keeper the wrong way to rescue a point and maintain Rovers unbeaten run. Rovers have now gone ten league games without defeat and this was a valuable point to add to the tally. Of Rovers next five games three are against sides in a similar league position; if the draws can become wins in those key matches, it could be a very happy Christmas in Doncaster.
Oldham Athletic line-up (4-4-2): Mark Crossley; Neal Eardley, Stefan Stam, Neal Trotman, Ryan Betrand; Chris Taylor, Gary McDonald, Neil Kilkenny, Mark Allott; Lee Hughes, Craig Davies
subs not used: JP Kalala, John Thompson, Reuban Hazell, Deane Smalley, Josh Bell
booked: Lee Hughes, Ryan Bertrand
Doncaster Rovers line-up (4-3-2-1): Neil Sullivan, James O’Connor, Stephen Roberts (Mark McCammon), Adam Lockwood, Sean McDaid; Richie Wellens (Paul Green), Brian Stock, Mark Wilson (James Coppinger); Martin Woods, Lewis Guy; James Hayter
subs not used: Kevin Horlock, Craig Nelthorpe
booked: Jamie Coppinger