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Rovers 1 Accrington Stanley 1

21 December 2019

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Jon Taylor’s second half strike was not enough as Rovers had to settle for a point against an in-form Accrington Stanley at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Taylor finished off a wonderful counterattacking move to put Rovers ahead just before the hour mark, but substitute Offrande Zanzala bundled the ball home from a Stanley corner with less than ten minutes on the clock to ensure the sides would share the points.

Darren Moore made three changes to the team which lost to AFC Wimbledon with Tom Anderson, Jon Taylor, and Madger Gomes included in the starting line-up. Donervon Daniels and Rakish Bingham dropped to the bench while Ben Whiteman missed out completely.

Accrington Stanley were on an excellent run of form with three wins in four across all competitions and manager John Coleman unsurprisingly made no changes to his side that ran out 4-1 winners against Portsmouth the weekend before.

The visitors certainly looked confident and Colby Bishop drove an effort goalward within five minutes of the start – it was straight down the throat of Seny Dieng who faced no difficulty in collecting the ball. Joey Pritchard looped one wide from distance.

Ben Sheaf forced a good save from Josef Bursik in the Stanley goal after Kieran Sadlier laid off the ball to him – a chance which came about thanks to some excellent work by Taylor down Rovers’ right.

Stanley seemed keen to slow the game down from early on and received their first warning for timewasting after just 20 minutes when Dion Charles kicked the ball away for the second time in as many minutes – the visitors annoyed home fans even more seven minutes later when they delayed their own goal-kick while players took on water.

The latter stages of the second half turned into a scrappy affair. Stanley’s Jordan Clark put the ball wide from close range and James Coppinger’s chipped ball over the visiting defence was inches from being finished off by Taylor.

Brad Halliday tried his luck from distance right on the stroke of half-time after picking up the ball about 25-yards out. Coppinger appeared to have been wiped out on the edge of the the box in the build-up but referee Andy Haines wasn’t interested.

Moore made one substitution at the break with Joe Wright replacing Reece James – this change saw Cameron John move out to left-back.

Rovers started the brighter in the second 45 and created a couple of early half-chances. A through ball found Coppinger in the pocket – he tried to take it around Ross Sykes but the centre-back got a vital touch which eliminated the danger and Madger Gomes whipped in a dangerous looking cross but no one in red and white was able to get a touch.

Taylor put Rovers ahead just before the hour mark thanks to some fantastic counter-attacking football from the home side. Anderson got his head in the way of Sam Finley’s thunderbolt effort and Gomes won two big challenges to clear the ball to a waiting Coppinger. Rovers no.26 found the run of Taylor with a defence-splitting pass and Taylor did the rest – sprinting beyond the Stanley backline and slotting inside the far post.

Taylor could have doubled his and Rovers goal tally soon after but for a superb block from Finley in the Stanley penalty box.

With the game wide open, Stanley had an opportunity on the break, but Bishop pulled his effort wide of the near post. Gomes picked up a yellow card for his part in breaking up a second counterattack from the visitors a few minutes later.

The resulting free kick took a vital touch from a Rovers defender and took it safely over the crossbar.

Rovers continued to press for a second. Halliday was afforded space to shoot when the visiting defence opted to follow Taylor in droves out to the touchline leaving Rovers’ right-back in acres of space at the edge of the box. He struck it sweetly enough, but a deflection sent it safely into the keeper’s arms. Gomes also put one wide after being found in the box by Sadlier.

Despite Rovers looking the most likely, Stanley equalised from a corner with less than ten minutes to go. Substitute Zanzala bundled the ball home from close range after Rovers failed to clear the cross.

Both sides registered a couple of half-chances. Sadlier had an effort blocked while Clark lashed the ball wildly over the bar at the other end.

Rovers’ best chance fell to substitute Rakish Bingham who headed wide from six yards from a Taylor cross while Stanley’s Sean McConville had their best opportunity to snatch the points at the death but was denied by a good save from Dieng in the final minutes.


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