Rovers progress to the knockout stages of the Checkatrade Trophy as group winners
Doncaster Rovers 0
Port Vale 0
Tuesday, November 8
Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Rovers and Port Vale played out a goalless draw, ensuring Darren Ferguson's men reached the group stage of the Checkatrade Trophy as group winners.
Ferguson rotated his squad, with goalkeeper Ross Etheridge returning in place of Marko Marosi and Will Longbottom, Paul Keegan, Niall Mason and Riccardo Calder among those coming into the starting XI.
The visitors, knowing the needed a win to guarantee progress, started well and had a chance insde the opening second when Dan Turner shot over following a corner.
Sam Kelly also fired over the bar for the visitors before Turner had the first effort on target, though his header was tame and comfortable enough for Etheridge to hold.
Rovers started to come into the game, but found it hard to fashion chances against an impressive Vale rearguard until the 25th minute when two came along in quick succession.
The first fell to Cedric Evina, in an unfamiliar right-wing position, who hammered a shot which Miguel Santos tipped around the post for a corner.
And from the resulting set-piece, Calder found space to get a shot away. It was deflected, but not enough to give Santos too much of a problem.
The only other real chance wither side fashioned before the break fell to Mason, whose shot went over the bar.
HALF-TIME: Rovers 0 Port Vale 0
Rovers made one change at the break, with Frazer Richardson coming on in place of Alcock.
And the home side started well, with Mason heading over following an Evina corner.
Rovers suffered a blow just after the hour mark when Beestin was forced off with an injury, meaning Jordan Houghton came off the bench for the final half hour.
Chances were again hard to fashion for both sides, with Quentin Pereira trying a shot which went out for a throw-in, and Mandeville rifling a shot which came back off a defender.
Rovers again enjoyed a few minutes of pressure with 20 minutes to go. First Houghton forced his way through the area before firing in a shot which Santos palmed away at the near post.
Then, from the corner, Mathieu Baudry tried an overhead kick. He was appealing for a penalty as he got up, but there was no goal and no set-piece.
Longbottom went close to his second senior goal after 78 minutes with a shot from the edge of the area. It took a deflection, and looped over the bar.
Baudry also went close from the resulting corner, but his header was again well held by Santos.
There was still time for Calder to have two efforts on goal. The first was well blocked, then, after the ball made its way back to the midfielder, he fired straight at Santos.
Full-time came without any goals, meaning we had a penalty shootout for a bonus point.
Rovers started well with Houghton confidently rifling home, but Longbottom and Evina failed to convert meaning the visitors took the bonus point.
It proved in vain, though, with Rovers finishing top of the group and the Valiants going out.
FULL-TIME: Rovers 0 Port Vale 0
(Vale gain bonus point after 4-2 win in shootout)
ROVERS | Etheridge, Mason, Evina, Alcock (Richardson), Baudry, Garratt, Keegan (c), Calder, Beestin (Houghton), Longbottom, Mandeville. ROVERS SUBS | Marosi, Walker, James, Pugh, Fletcher. BOOKED | Mandeville
VALE XI | Santos, Macintosch, Streete, Hart, Smith, Grant (c), Pereira, De Freitas, Kiko (Mbamba), Kelly (Cicilia), Turner. VALE SUBS | Boot, Amoras, Haughton, Brown, Tauares. BOOKED | Smith
ATTENDANCE | 1,495 (92 away)