Rovers continued their undefeated pre-season campaign after battling out a stalemate in a hard-fought match at the Keepmoat Stadium.Doncaster Rovers 0
Saturday July 25th, 2015 3.00pm
The Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
The visitors started almost as brightly as their kits but for an offside flag and a fine save from Thorsten Stuckmann preventing Stewart Downing from opening the scoring inside 3 minutes.
However, Rovers responded quickly, Curtis Main winning the ball back 30 yards out, finding James Coppinger who chipped a delightful ball to Harry Forrester, he skipped inside on the edge of the box to create space but his shot was saved comfortably by Dimi Konstantopoulus.
It took another 15 minutes before either goalkeeper was tested again. Some good work from Andy Williams allowed Richie Wellens to spray the ball out to Coppinger who unleashed a fierce strike at goal only for Konstantopoulus to parry it away.
This seemed to inspire the visitors who created two unlikely chances from crossing positions, first from Mustapha Carayol on the left and then from a low drive by Downing on the right unnerving the Rovers back four but ultimately neither troubled Stuckmann.
The large German was breathing heavily a couple of minutes later though as Adam Forshaw’s strike from distance scraped the crossbar’s paintwork.
With the game reaching the half hour mark at 0-0, Middlesbrough became a little desperate. Bradley Fewster, one-on-one with the keeper, decided he’d prefer a penalty to a shot at goal. The striker tumbled over the advancing Stuckmann only for Mr D England to brandish a yellow card for diving.
Boro were presented with a fantastic opportunity to break the deadlock a few minutes before half-time. Carayol showed tricky feet and was brought down just outside the area only for Grant Leadbitter to drag the free-kick wide of Stuckmann’s right post.
Half-time: Rovers 0 Middlesbrough 0
Middlesbrough started the 2nd half as they did the 1st with Downing finding himself in space inside the box and driving a low shot at goal only to be thwarted by fine leg save from Stuckmann.
On the 54th minute Rovers were presented with a fantastic opportunity after Forrester was bundled down on the edge of the area following a fine driving run.
The winger stepped over the free-kick, allowing Aaron Taylor-Sinclair a clear shot at goal. Konstantopoulus was left stranded as the ball whistled inches wide of his right post.
The game sprung into life just after the hour mark. Taylor-Sinclair worked hard in defence to regain possession before launching a 50 yard pass over the heads of the Boro defence. Forrester showed great pace to latch onto it but he couldn’t quite stab the ball home from inside the area.
Moments later Carayol was denied by Stuckmann at point blank range in a goalmouth scramble as the game threatened to become end-to-end action.
Sadly this didn’t materialise but with 15 minutes left on the clock, Middlesbrough should have drawn first blood. Downing once again found space inside the area but Stuckmann once again came out on top in the duel as he produced a magnificent one handed save to deny the England international.
Minutes later Rovers created their greatest chance of the match. A fine counter attack started by Curtis Main as he flicked on to Wellens in midfield could not be finished by the striker who found himself off balance as his shot hit the side netting.
The final ten minutes of the match had a real pre-season feel to it with both sides seemingly happy with the result and it gave Paul Dickov a chance to blood the youngsters who held their own against the Sky Bet Championship side.
A free-kick from Cedric Evina presented Rovers’ final chance to win the match but Mandeville’s header drifted wide of the goal as the referee blew his whistle.
Full-time: Rovers 0 Middlesbrough 0
Rovers starting XI: Stuckmann, McCullough, Taylor-Sinclair (P.McKay 80’), Butler, MacKenzie (Jones 69’), Wellens (Whitehouse 80’) Coppinger (Mandeville 80’), Middleton (Linley 89’), Forrester (Carberry 89’), Williams (Evina 59’), Main
Subs not used: Marosi, Lund
Middlesbrough starting XI: Dimi (Osorio 70’), Kalas (Wildschut 84’), Burn (Husband 45’), Carayol (Adomah 64’), Ayala (Nsue 64’), Downing (Maloney 84’), Fewster (Kike 45’), Forshaw (Jackson 84’), Leadbitter (Clayton 64’), Friend (Fry 84’), Tomlin (Reach 45’)
Subs not used: Ripley.
Attendance: 2,831 (726 away).