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Rovers 2 Oxford United 2

22 December 2018

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Late drama at the Keepmoat Stadium saw both sides share a point as Rovers were held by Oxford United in a 2-2 draw in Sky Bet League One.

Ben Whiteman put Rovers ahead with a first half penalty, before Gavin Whyte’s 64th-minute leveller.

Alfie May came off the bench to put Rovers ahead on 90 minutes, before Josh Ruffels scored with the last kick of the game to seal a point for the U’s in the sixth minute of added time.

It would be the visitors who would have the brighter start, with James Henry first to try his luck for the U’s.

He stole in down the right and looked to drive the ball into the corner, only to find Ian Lawlor down well to save.

Lawlor would have to be at his best moments later to deny Whyte as he shot first time from a rebound, but this time the Irishman was able to tip the
ball around the post for a corner.

Rovers would have two close shaves in a matter of seconds, with John Marquis and Lawlor again preventing the U’s from going in front, with Marquis blocking Whyte’s initial shot on the line before John Mousinho was stopped superbly by the Rovers stopper.

It would be those two crucial saves that Rovers would be grateful for with the game approaching the 20-minute mark, with Rob Dickie bringing down Andy Butler in the area after a corner, with referee Alan Young quick to point to the spot.

Whiteman stepped up to smash in his second goal in consecutive home games, with Simon Eastwood guessing correctly by going to his right, but the midfielder’s spot kick had too much on it for the U’s stopper to get near it.

Rovers were in the ascendancy after their goal, and it would be Marquis with two great opportunities to extend his side’s advantage.

First, he met Danny Andrew’s brilliant ball in, only to scuff his shot at the back post with the ball eventually cleared.

James Coppinger would carve out the striker’s next chance, with some neat trickery down the left seeing him able to cross the ball in to the danger area, only to see Marquis unable to keep his header below the bar.
Coppinger would set up his side’s final chance of the half as he released Ali Crawford in the area, only for the Scottish midfielder to see his effort
blocked by the sliding Curtis Nelson.

The start to the second period would be a slow one, with neither side putting the other under too much pressure after the break.

With 64 minutes played, there would be another goal, and this time it would be the visitors who would find their way to goal.

A free kick from Jamie Hanson was played short to Henry, who in turn played the ball into Whyte, and he evaded the challenge of Coppinger to drive the ball low across goal and into the corner to equalise for the visitors.

With less than 60 seconds of normal time left to play though, Rovers would be back ahead, with Marquis’ crossing into the area to cause trouble.

His cross was initially blocked by the U’s defence, only to find substitute May who was lurking just six yards out to smash the ball beyond Eastwood and put Rovers back in front.

There would be one last twist at the death, with Luke Garbutt sending a free-kick forward and Ruffels was there to curl in the equaliser off the post with the last kick of the game.

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