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Rovers 0 Barnsley 0

15 March 2019

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Rovers were held to goalless draw at the Keepmoat Stadium by local rivals Barnsley.

Despite being dominant for long periods of the match, Rovers could not find a way past the side who have now gone 18 matches unbeaten in Sky Bet League One.

Grant McCann made three changes to his side which drew away at Blackpool earlier in the week. John Marquis returned from his one-match suspension with James Coppinger and Herbie Kane also included in the starting XI. Tyler Smith, Kieran Sadlier, and Ali Crawford dropped to the bench.

Visiting manager Daniel Stendel was forced into a few changes of his own as injuries impacted his team selection. Jordan Williams, Victor Adeboyejo, and Ben Williams all came in, Daniel Pinillos, missed out entirely while Jordan Green and Mike Bähre dropped to the bench.

It was a match Grant McCann would be forced to watch from the stands as he and goalkeeper coach Paul Gerrard served a one-match touchline ban.

With assistant manager Cliff Byrne at the helm, Rovers got off to an excellent start and within five minutes of kick-off, Barnsley 'keeper Adam Davies has been asked to make two big saves – the first to deny the head of Mallik Wilks, the second to deny Marquis' follow-up effort - and had seen a Wilks volley whistle past a post.

Wilks, who was being given plenty of space on the wing, went close again dragging a shot just wide after a brilliant pass from Marquis picked out his run. Shortly after, an effort from Ben Whiteman was blocked by Kenny Dougall, the Barnsley midfielder injured himself in the process sparking an early change for the visitors with Zeki Fryers called upon as the replacement in the centre of the park.

Barnsley's first real chance of the half came just before the half-hour mark when a through-ball found the run of Ben Williams who was denied by a fantastically timed challenge by Matty Blair at right-back. The ball went for a corner which was headed away decisively by Paul Downing.

Rovers continued to press, Andy Butler went close with his headed effort, Coppinger followed-up with a thunderbolt effort which produced an exceptional save from Davies, before Whiteman's effort was blocked en route to goal.

The combination of Coppinger and Marquis continued to cause problems and it took some very shrewd defending by Dimitri Cavare to deny both. Barnsley managed to use this play to launch a counter-attack which ended with Jordan Williams through one-on-one with Marko Marosi. The keeper came out brilliantly to deny Jordan Williams on his League debut and thwart what would prove to be Barnsley's best chance of the first half.

Alex Mowatt tried his luck from the edge of the box but while his effort dipped and swerved, it was never really on target and so rounded off a dominant first half display from Rovers.

No changes at the break for either team and it was a case of "as you were" for the opening stages of the second half. Rovers had the lion's share of possession and neat, passing football kept the pressure on the Barnsley back four but unlike in the first half, Rovers weren't creating any clear-cut chances while Barnsley carried the ever-present threat of a counter-attack.

The first chance of the second half fell to the visitors and came when a ball found number 9 Cauley Woodrowin the box, his half-volley dipped just over Marosi's bar but was the first warning sign for Rovers and started a short period of pressure for the Tykes.

A miskick by Davies offered Marquis a half-chance on the hour mark but the shot lacked power and the Barnsley 'keeper was able to save with ease.

As the match wore on, Barnsley began to look the team most likely with the visitors asking more and more questions of the Rovers defence. Marosi did brilliantly to palm Woodrow's effort away and Whiteman's vital block was the only thing stopping substitute Mike Bahre's first wonder strike, Downing's block was the only thing stopping Bahre's second.

Rovers best chance of the half came in the final minutes, Kieran Sadlier – who had replaced James Coppinger in the 75th minute – earned himself a yard of space and fired his shot towards the near post, Davies had to be on top-form to make the save. Sadlier had another chance minutes later but he couldn't keep the effort down.

The final chance of the game went Rovers' way, Ali Crawford's free-kick was cleared into the path of substitute Alfie May but the forward's strike was blocked to round-off a thoroughly entertaining 0-0 draw at the Keepmoat Stadium.


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