Flash report: Oldham Athletic 0 Doncaster Rovers 0
Rovers halted their losing run and delivered a blow to the survival hopes of Oldham as they battled out a goalless draw at Boundary Park.
In a game of few chances and low quality it was the hosts who enjoyed the better of the play as they fought desperately for the win they so sorely needed.
But both sides had to make do with a point, one which for Rovers finally saw them claim survival with mathematical certainty.
Academy product Danny Amos was handed his league debut at left back while Ian Lawlor was recalled for the first time in two months between the sticks. Andy Williams came in for his first league start since September while Luke McCullough was also brought in.
James Coppinger missed out entirely.
Oldham came on strong from the start, as expected for a side so desperately in need of the points. But that desperation brought mistakes as much as it did pressure on Doncaster and they struggled to truly threaten in the early stages.
Rovers fired the first warning shot when Andy Butler stooped to head over the bar from an Amos corner.
Moments late Butler produced a vital blocking tackle after racing back to charge down Duckens Nazon on an Oldham break.
The hosts continued to hold the attacking impetus and the lively Jack Byrne curled narrowly wide of the top corner with a fine effort from 20 yards whle Eoin Doyle flicked a header over from the subsequent corner.
Rovers' first real attack of note brought the best opportunity of the game at that point. Matty Blair raced down the right and drilled a low pass into the box only to see John Marquis robbed at the last moment by Tom Hamer.
Darren Ferguson switched to a 3-4-1-2 to add attacking width to his side and they started to enjoy much more meaningful possession.
However it took a header from Niall Mason to prevent Doyle from flicking in Ben Pringle's fine cross on the half hour.
Marquis thought he had given Rovers the lead on 35 minutes when he latched onto Williams' through ball and slotted past Johny Placide, only for the offside flag to rightly go up.
Oldham again came out strong for the start of the second half and Doyle was inches away from connecting with Nazon's dangerous cross inside the first minute.
It took a pair of big blocks from Mathieu Baudry and Marquis to deny efforts from distance from Pringle and Nazon, who was finding plenty of space after dropping away from strike partner Doyle.
Nazon drew a fine save from Lawlor with a low curling effort and fired narrowly wide from the edge of the box in the next passage of play.
The hosts continued to push and it took a vital touch with the palm from Lawlor to take a stinging cross away from the advancing Doyle.
Rovers enjoyed good spells of possession in the Oldham half but struggled for a spark of creativity in the final third.
And there seemed to be a hesistancy to get shots away early, with Rovers often guilty of overplaying.
Chances therefore were scant with Baudry flicking a header over the bar from a corner.
And Whiteman stretched to send a shot straight at Johny Placide after Rovers' best attack of the game, with incisive one-touch passing.
It brought about a nervy finish to the game with Oldham continuing to push forward whenever they had the opportunity.
But the desperate hosts simply could not test Lawlor while Rovers struggled equally at the opposite end.
OLDHAM: Placide, Hunt, Edmundson, Hamer, Neopmuceno, Byrne (McEleney 75), Gardner, Benyu, Pringle (Davies 65), Nazon, Doyle. Subs: De La Paz, Wilson, Amadi-Holloway, Stott, Obadeyi.
ROVERS: Lawlor, Mason, Baudry, Butler, Amos, McCullough (May 75), Blair (Kongolo 71), Houghton, Whiteman, Marquis, Williams (Beestin 61). Subs: Marosi, Alcock, Anderson, Kiwomya.
REFEREE: Chris Sarginson (Staffordshire)