ROT STOPPED: Doncaster Rovers 1 Coventry City 1

JAMES Hayter’s second half volley earned Doncaster their first point in four matches against fellow strugglers Coventry City.

Despite controlling much of the play, Rovers found themselves behind to Sammy Clingan’s superb long range piledriver on the half hour mark.

But Hayter got on the end of James Coppinger’s teasing ball over the top to earn Rovers a share of the spoils.

Rovers were rocked before the match by the surprise omission of Billy Sharp from the match day squad due to serious family issues.

And there were certainly times when Sharp’s absence was felt as Rovers lacked the killer touch in the final third.

Rovers did many things right, particularly without the ball, including pressing the Sky Blues high up the pitch to prevent long balls to industrious striker Lucas Jutkiewicz.

But sloppy passing out from the back put them under a lot of pressure, especially in the later stages when only poor decisions in the box denied Coventry what would have likely proved the winner.

Nevertheless, the result will have been met with a certain element of disappointment as Coventry appeared there for the taking.

This was especially true in the first half when the forward three of Giles Barnes, Kyle Bennett and Hayter were at their most effective.

Barnes – withdrawn at half time due to slight concussion picked up in a collision with man mountain Nathan Cameron – looked particularly dangerous during the first half and provided a couple of killer passes which his team mates failed to capitalise on.

The first of these came on four minutes when he collected a pass from Pascal Chimbonda and sent a low cross into the area with James Hayter shooting on turn only to see it blocked superbly by Nathan Cameron.

Barnes was back providing three minutes later, sending a cross over which Bennett rose well to meet but sent his powerful header straight at Coventry keeper Joe Murphy.

The chances kept on coming for a Doncaster side in full control of the attacking flow and Barnes himself was presented with a glorious opportunity.

He climbed well to meet a Brian Stock corner but made very little contact and scuffed his header out for a goal kick.

Stock delivered another tantalising corner to the back post but Richard Naylor got under the ball and put it straight at Murphy.

These missed chances were rued as Coventry took the lead with the next attack.

Richard Keogh cut back and passed into space with Clingan charging in and lashing a shot into the far corner from 30 yards out.

It was a bitter blow for Rovers and their confidence was clearly knocked with Coventry close to adding a quick second.

Chimbonda gave away a needless corner and from it Carl Baker curled a high shot which Neil Sullivan was forced to tip over.

Rovers settled and regained control of the pattern of the play without crafting a strong chance in the remainder of the half.

Barnes’ failure to emerge for the second half proved a blow but Rovers continued to force the issue with his replacement James Coppinger creating an early chance.

Coppinger did really well to force his way to the byline and cut a cross back only for the ball to get caught under Hayter’s feet allowing the Coventry defence to clear.

But there was more success the next time the two combined on the hour mark.

Coppinger dinked a hanging ball over the top of the Coventry defence and Hayter pulled away clear and hit a side footed volley past Murphy to level the scores.

The remaining half hour was much more open and it proved Coventry’s most impressive period of the match.

Full back Cyrus Christie surged down the wing and cut inside before drilling a powerful low shot which flew just past the far post.

Then a mistake by Shelton Martis allowed Conor Thomas to surge forward but Cody McDonald failed to get any power on his shot when the ball fell to him.

The final touch let McDonald down again after he beat Richard Naylor for pace only to fire straight at Sullivan.

The final chance of the match came for Rovers with Simon Gillett drilling a brilliant free kick from 25 yards, forcing Murphy to tip the ball over.

Rovers: Neil Sullivan, Pascal Chimbonda, Shelton Martis, Richard Naylor, George Friend, Herita Illunga, Brian Stock (Ryan Mason, 86), Simon Gillett, Giles Barnes (James Coppinger, 46), Kyle Bennett (Mustapha Dumbuya, 71), James Hayter.

Subs not used: Jonathan Maxted, James O’Connor.

Coventry: Joe Murphy, Cyrus Christie, Chris Hussey (James McPake, 26), Nathan Cameron, Richard Keogh, Sammy Clingan, Conor Thomas, Carl Baker (David Bell, 90), Gary McSheffrey (Gary Deegan, 75), Cody McDonald, Lucas Lutkiewicz.

Subs not used: Chris Dunn, Clive Platt.

Referee: Colin Webster

Attendance: 8,426