Doncaster Rovers 1 PNE 1 full-time

Doncaster Rovers vs PNE
Doncaster Rovers vs PNE
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Preston North End were denied victory by a Doncaster Rovers equaliser in stoppage-time at the Keepmoat Stadium.

A thumping finish from Chris Humphrey in the 65th minute looked to have given them three points.

But like they did a few times last season, North End let the slip late on, Rovers substitute Nathan Tyson netting the leveller in a close-range scramble.

Doncaster would claim they were worthy of a draw having been the better side for much of the first half.

Humphrey’s fine finish perhaps came a little against the run of play but for a long time it looked like being enough to give them the win.

Lilywhites boss Simon Grayson had kept faith with the side which had beaten Scunthorpe last Saturday.

They started well, looking the better side in the first quarter of an hour before falling away and allowing Donny to get on the front foot for the remainder of the first half.

Just 29 seconds were on the clock when Joe Garner let the ball bounce in front of him before letting fly with a speculative shot from fully 35 yards which went straight through to goalkeeper Jed Steer.

Josh Brownhill’s first-time shot from a Garner lay-off skidded off the side of his boot and travelled well wide, then in the seventh minute Bailey Wright popped up just outside the hosts’ box and struck a volley which dipped inches over.

That early promise gave way to some sustained Doncaster pressure and there was plenty of defending to be done by North End right through until the interval.

James Coppinger’s shot from distance was gathered comfortably by Jamie Jones, and a Kyle Bennett diasy-cutter deflected off Tom Clarke and went behind at the expense of a corner.

Some respite from the defending came when Clarke’s free-kick into the box was met by Garner at the back post but his header was held by Steer.

In the run-up to half-time, the home side really stepped up the pressure and there were three decent openings for them.

With 35 minutes played, Coppinger’s run took him from the centre circle to the edge of the box and past three PNE players.

The space opened up for him to shoot but thankfully his toe-poke flew straight into the gloves of the well-positioned Jones.

Three minutes later, the same player cut in from the right-wing, his shot clipping off Wright and flying across goal before going wide of the far post.

In the 42nd minute, Theo Robinson beat Clarke to a bouncing ball on the left side of the box.

He advanced a couple of steps and shot, Jones, blocking well with his knees at the near post.

Just moments into the second half, Humphrey’s clever pass played in Paul Gallagher behind the Donny defence.

As the home side looked for an offside flag, Gallagher seemed to delay crossing the ball and when he did try and put the ball into the middle, it was cleared behind for a corner.

Neil Kilkenny went into referee Gary Sutton’s notebook in the 49th minute for a foul on Bennett.

Marc De Val took the resulting free-kick from out in the left channel, his curling effort having Jones scrambling back to tip behind at full stretch.

At the other end, good play on the break saw Alan Browne take possession 25 yards out and curl a shot goalwards which Steer dived to parry away.

Grayson made his first change of the evening just beyond the hour mark, Jack King replacing Kilkenny in midfield with the system switching to a 3-5-2.

Soon after that, Brownhill’s 30-yard free-kick cleared the angle of bar and post.

North End went ahead in the 65th minute and in some style too from Humphrey’s right boot.

Gallagher delivered a free-kick from the left-wing into the box which was cleared as far as Wright.

He headed the ball up into the air, Bennett first to react to it but succeeding only in scuffing a clearance into the path of Humphrey a couple of yards outside the area.

Humphrey did not need a second invitation, hammering a first-time shot into the top corner.

That was pretty much his last involvement in the contest, the Jamaica international giving way to Andy Little in the 70th minute.

Doncaster responded strongly and almost levelled when a Cedric Evina shot from the tighest of angles was fumbled around the near post by Jones.

In the 80th minute, substitute Little twice tested keeper Steer in a matter of seconds.

He came inside off the right-wing and hit a low shot to the near post which Steer pushed out, and when the ball fell his way again he tried his luck a second time, this time the keeper managing to hold it.

Just over a minute of stoppage-time had been played when Doncaster grabbed their equaliser.

A cross from the right flew across the face goal and out to the left-wing, and when it was put back into the middle, Jones managed to get a hand to it but the ball fell to Tyson who stabbed it over the line from four yards.

North End forced two corners late on as they tried to regain the lead but they could not force the ball home.

Doncaster: Steer, Wabara, Evina, Jones (Wakefield 12), De Val, Bennett, Furman (Tyson 70), Keegan, Coppinger, Robinson, McCullogh. Subs not used: Marosi, Whitehouse, Askins, Peterson, Middleton.

PNE: Jones, Woods, Clarke, Wright, B Davies, Kilkenny (King 62), Brownhill, Browne, Humphrey (Little 70), Gallagher (Hayhurst 87), Garner. Subs not used: Wiseman, K Davies, Welsh, Stuckmann.

Booked: Kilkenny 49, Wright 74

Referee: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire)

Attendance: 6,513 (888 PNE)