Match verdict: Peterborough 0 Doncaster Rovers 0

All smiles for Doncaster boss Paul Dickov as he comes away with a clean sheet -Pic by: Richard Parkes

All smiles for Doncaster boss Paul Dickov as he comes away with a clean sheet -Pic by: Richard Parkes

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The year 2014 brought few high points for Rovers.

A heartbreaking relegation, another failed takeover and home form to make even the most resolute supporter weep.

But the manner in which the year came to a close suggests the next 12 months should be brighter.

Paul Dickov’s hunt for three consecutive wins as Rovers boss may go on but he will have been pleased to see his side continue the good work of recent weeks, which has brought a run of just one defeat in seven league matches.

The goalless draw a Peterborough saw Rovers deliver another dogged performance, holding their nerve superbly with their backs to the wall and breaking with menace when the opportunity arose.

Despite the busy festive period, Dickov’s men maintained their excellent work ethic and strong pressing game.

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If there was to be one real criticism of Rovers on a bitterly cold day at London Road, it was that their attacking play lacked the zippiness and fluidity shown through much of December.

A large part of that could have been due to the absence of the side’s controller-in-chief Richie Wellens, absent with a hamstring problem.

Marc De Val struggled to fill the shoes of Wellens in the advanced four ahead of Paul Keegan.

While he played some decent passes, the Spanish midfielder lacked the dynamism of his more experience colleague before being brought off after a number of hefty challenges on 34 minutes with Harry Middleton handed his first league appearance.

Overall, the draw was a fair result with very little between the sides throughout the 90 minutes.

The hosts were rather ponderous in possession at times during the first half and it often resulted in mis-placed passes.

With their working heads on again, Rovers were keen to punish Peterborough’s over-relaxed nature.

Chances were scarce in the opening period.

A tame effort from Theo Robinson and a wild strike over the bar from Marcus Maddison for Posh were as good as it got in the first half before Dean Furman curled narrowly wide from the edge of the box in the dying moments.

But the game opened up considerably after the break with both sides enjoying strong spells.

Enda Stevens drew a fine parry from Ben Alwick early in the second half with a shot on the angle while Sam Johnstone watched Luke James’ cross deflect just wide moments later.

Harry Forrester rattled the bar with a stunning free kick on 52 minutes before Posh dominated a five minute spell with Rovers struggling to get out of their own half. But the hosts struggled to create much in the final third.

Rovers survived the onslaught and established a period of dominance of their own with five corners in quick succession producing several nervy moments for the hosts.

Substitute Michael Smith was forced to head over his own bar with Robinson lurking while Furman headed wide from a fine Reece Wabara cross.

Peterborough finished the stronger with substitute Nathaniel Mendez-Laing drawing a superb low save from Johnstone before skipper Jack Payne drilled over from the subsequent corner.

Conceding late would have been harsh for a Rovers side who had looked so resolute. And they march into 2015 with chests pushed out.

Peterborough: Alnwick, Santos (Smith 46), Bostwick, Burgess, Newell, Payne, Beautyman, Oztumer, Maddison (Mendez-Laing 77), McLean (Washington 77), James. Subs not used: Day, Vassell, Anderson, Anderson.

Rovers: Johnstone, Wabara, McCullough, Butler, Stevens, Keegan, Coppinger, Furman, De Val (Middleton 34), Forrester (Whitehouse 90), Robinson (Main 82). Subs not used: Marosi, Wakefield, McCombe, McKay.

Cards: Yellow: Bostwick (Peterborough); De Val, Wabara, Keegan (all Rovers)

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