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Blues In The News: Southend 0-0 Doncaster

12 March 2018

Blues were held to a goalless draw by Doncaster Rovers on Saturday...

Take a look at what various sections of the media had to say following the result.

Southend Echo

SOUTHEND United were held to a drab 0-0 draw by Doncaster Rovers on a terrible Roots Hall pitch on Saturday.

The Shrimpers wasted a clear cut chance to score when Stephen McLaughlin fired wide when clean through on goal.

But Chris Powell’s side were also indebted to goalkeeper Mark Oxley who kept the game goalless with a stunning double save.

In a largely uneventful encounter, clear cut opportunities were few and far between but Doncaster wasted a huge chance to take the lead in the 14th minute when James Coppinger’s right-wing cross picked out an unmarked Joe Wright but the centre-back could only send his header wide of the right post from 12 yards.

Moments later, Blues hit back with Michael Kightly curling a 25 yard shot inches wide of the right post.

And, in the 24th minute, the hosts wasted an even cleare chance to score when Marc-Antoine Fortune played in McLaughlin only for the Irishman to fire wide of the left post with just Rovers goalkeeper Marko Marosi left to beat.

After surviving the scare, Doncaster immediately replied and only a stunning double save from Shrimpers shot-stopper Mark Oxley stopped them opening the scoring.

Oxley did well to keep out John Marquis’ header low down to his left hand side before recovering superbly to keep out Alex Kiwomya’s follow up effort from close range.

The relieved Shrimpers hit back in the 42nd minute with Marosi smothering McLaughlin’s header from Jason Demetriou’s right wing cross in the final action of the first half.

After the break, Kightly sent a low angled effort flashing wide of the right post before Michael Turner’s header from McLaughlin’s right wing cross was tipped wide of the left post by Marosi.

In a further bid to make a breakthrough, Blues boss Powell made his first substitution of the afternoon in the 68th minute with Anthony Wordsworth replacing Cox.

Moments later and, with 10 minutes on the clock, Shayon Harrison replaced Kightly before Freddie Ladapo also took the place of Fortune but the new look Blues were unable to make a breakthrough with Wordsworth sending a late effort over the crossbar.

BBC Sport

Southend were held to a goalless draw by Doncaster in a drab encounter at Roots Hall.

In a game played on a terrible surface, Doncaster wasted an early chance to take the lead when an unmarked Joe Wright headed James Coppinger's right wing corner wide of the right post.

The Shrimpers hit back with Stephen McLaughlin firing wide of the left post when clear on through before the visitors were denied by a stunning double save from Mark Oxley who kept out efforts from John Marquis and Alex Kiwomya in quick succession.

After the break, Southend winger Michael Kightly sent a low shot flashing across the face of goal before Michael Turner saw a header tipped wide of the left post by Marosi.

But both teams struggled to create clear-cut chances as the game, between two sides separated by just one league position and two points before kick-off, could not be separated with Anthony Wordsworth sending a late opportunity over the crossbar for the Shrimpers.

Doncaster Rovers

Rovers earned a point in a scrappy match played out at a muddy Roots Hall.

Mathieu Baudry, Joe Wright, Matty Blair, Jordan Houghton and Luke McCullough all came into the starting line-up for Rovers, with boss Darren Ferguson able to welcome back a number of players from injury.

Blair was originally named on the bench, but was elevated into the starting line-up after Craig Alcock was forced out with a groin injury.

Andy Williams and Issam Ben Khemis also made their comebacks to claim a place on the bench.

It was a scrappy affair from the off, with Rovers’ early opportunities coming through free-kicks and corners.

That almost led to the opening goal after 14 minutes when a James Coppinger corner was turned behind for a corner. The Rovers captain took the resulting corner, and his delivery was met by Joe Wright - he had a free header, but it went wide.

That kick-started a flurry of activity, with Blair and Houghton - who was deployed on the right of the midfield diamond - combining well before the latter whipped in a low delivery which was palmed away by home keeper Mark Oxley.

Michael Kightly fired wide a couple of times for the hosts, and Stephen McLaughlin put the ball wide after being played through by Marc-Antoine Fortune.

Oxley pulled off a brilliant double save as the game approached the half-hour mark. Blair’s cross from the right was met by John Marquis, who powered a header low towards goal.

The home keeper got down well to palm it away, then got up quickly to keep out Alex Kiwomya’s effort.

Those two chances in quick succession were the standout opportunities of the second period, with Tommy Rowe firing over from a free-kick and Baudry not able to get much direction on his header from another Coppinger free-kick.

Wright and Baudry also combined to keep the Shrimpers out at the other end, blocking efforts from Kightly and Joe Wright.

There were no changes at the break, and the second period was very similar to the first.

The first chance after the restart came five minutes in when Niall Mason won the ball in the opposing half then advanced on goal.

He had Marquis and Kiwomya either side of him, but chose to shoot with a strong low effort which Oxley kept out but spilled - unfortunately, from a Rovers perspective, the ball just would not fall to either of the forwards who were up with play.

Rovers had some luck down the right, with Blair and Houghton combining well. Michael Turner got in a particularly vital header from Blair’s cross with Marquis lurking.

Marko Marosi, starting his third game in a row, pulled off a great stop as the game reached the hour mark - getting two strong hands to Turner’s header following a corner.

Chances became harder to fashion out as the game entered the closing stages, and both managers started making changes.

Marquis almost caught Oxley out with a low free-kick which went just wide, while Anthony Wordsworth fired over for the home side.

 

Doncaster Free Press

Sometimes you have to master the conditions as much as you do the opposition.

And Rovers did just that as they battled out a goalless draw at Southend United on a playing surface so poor that even a Sunday league side would turned their noses up at having to turn out on it.

Cutting up severely in the warm-up, the pitch rapidly deteriorated throughout the game which made playing football on the ground almost impossible in certain areas.

But Rovers coped well, being smart and careful while also pushing for the victory.

Both sides had chances to win the game but such an outcome would have been unjust. Rovers’ best opportunities came in a burst that drew a superb double save from Southend keeper Mark Oxley.

First he batted away a powerful header from John Marquis before recovering to parry Alex Kiwomya’s follow-up.

And Marko Marosi - again favoured over Ian Lawlor in goal for Rovers - clattered into his own post acrobatically tipping away a header from Michael Turner.

The manner of the assured and composed performance from Rovers was the ideal response after their painful injury time capitulation at Rotherham United last time out.

They were certainly tested and faced another onslaught from the opposition in added time but did not look like conceding.

It was a timely reminder that Rovers do possess a good degree of resolve - a timely reminder for both supporters and players.


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