Attendance – 4,406 (625 visitors)
The Rovers made four changes to the team that played Chesterfield on Tuesday in the JPT. Paul Quinn, Shelton Martis, James Harper and Chris Brown replaced James Husband, Paul Keegan, Martin Woods and Robbie Blake in the starting eleven. The home team made just one change from last Saturday at Crewe Alexandra, Evan Horwood coming in for the injured Andy Monkhouse. The Rovers defended the end where their fans were housed.
The Rovers got the game going had a good ten minutes at the start. Paynter had a go at goal in the 3rd minute, with the ball going wide and Brown just failing to get to it at the post. A couple of minutes later and a cross from the right was well claimed by the Pools keeper, Flinders, with Rovers players waiting in the middle. The first real threat from the home team came in the 10th minute when a long throw by Noble into the Rovers area was headed high and wide by Howard. The match evened out after this and was played out mostly in midfield. Then, in the 22nd minute, a free kick to the home team on their left was punched away by Woods and cleared to Bennett on the Rovers left. He cut in and from the edge of the penalty area hit a good low shot but Flinders made the save. Then Cotterill got to the right byline before crossing to the middle where Brown went for the header but missed the ball. On 25 minutes Austin, for the home team, had a go from 25yards but put wide. Past the half hour and the Rovers won the first corner of the game but Martis headed wide. Then, in the 37th minute, Poole, who had just come on to the pitch, hit a terrific low drive from 25yards that hit the post with Woods beaten and went out for a goal kick. As time ran down to the break, the home team shaded possession but two minutes into added time, Paynter crossed from the Rovers right, the ball was headed out of defence to Bennett, whose volley from 20yards went wide of the far post.
Half time – Hartlepool United 0 Doncaster Rovers 0
The home team kicked off and went on the attack but five minutes in and Harper, for the Rovers,
hit a good low shot that was creeping in at the post but Flinders, seeing it at the last moment, got down to it and pushed it out for a corner, which Syers headed wide at the far post. Five minutes later the home team won successive corners but nothing came from them. Continuing to attack Poole, on the Hartlepool left angle of the area, curled a shot for goal but Woods did brilliantly to tip it over the bar. In the 63rd minute Brown headed wide from a free kick on the Rovers right. Minutes later, following a free kick for the home team, Franks, on he right, curled a left footer that just went wide of the far post. At the other end, the Rovers won a corner on their right, This was knocked out of the home defence to Bennett on the Rovers left. His cross created havoc in the Hartlepool defence before being cleared. Then came drama. The referee awarded a penalty to the home team, citing Martis for holding down in an aerial tussle. AUSTIN stepped up and slammed the ball into the net. Back came the Rovers on to the attack. A corner came to nothing and Syers fired wide from 25 yards minutes later. At the other end Woods saved at the feet of Franks as he went through on goal. In the 84th minute, a venomous strike from Cotterill from 30yards was tipped over the bar at the last moment by a surprised keeper. Jones headed wide from the resultant corner. In the 89th minute the Rovers were awarded a free kick on their right halfway in the Hartlepool half. Cotterill placed the ball to the far post where JONES headed in off the keeper. It was all Rovers now as four minutes of added time was played but Hartlepool held out and the final whistle went, with each side taking a point apiece.
Result – Hartlepool United 1 (Austin pen 70) Doncaster Rovers 1 (Jones 89)
Teams – Hartlepool United – Scott Flinders; Neil Austin, Jack Baldwin, Peter Hartley ©, Darren Holden; Jonathan Franks, Antony Sweeney, Paul Murray, Evan Horwood; Ryan Noble, Steve Howard
Subs used – James Poole for Horwood 36 mins; Charlie Wyke for Noble 58 mins; Ritchie Humphreys for Wyke 81 mins;
Subs not used – Sam Collins, Simon Walton, Jordan Richards, Adam McHugh gk
ROVERS – Gary Woods; Paul Quinn, Shelton Martis, Rob Jones, Tommy Spurr; David Cotterill, James Harper, David Syers, Kyle Bennett; Billy Paynter, Chris Brown
Subs used – Jordan Ball for Paynter 66 mins; James Husband for Martis 81 mins; Paul Keegan for Brown 86 mins;
Subs not used – Martin Woods, Robbie Blake, Michael Woods, Neil Sullivan gk
Cautions - Martis 65mins