Oxford United 2 Doncaster Rovers 2: Another huge point collected in play-off push

Doncaster Rovers came from behind to pick up what could prove to be a valuable point in the battle for League One’s final play-off place.

Sunday, 28th April 2019, 15:25 pm
Updated Saturday, 27th April 2019, 17:36 pm
Oxford United v Doncaster Rovers

An early John Marquis strike and a Nico Jones own goal earned Rovers a 2-2 draw in a wide open game at Oxford United.

With rivals for sixth spot Peterborough United suffering a shock 3-0 defeat at Walsall, Rovers extended their advantage over Posh to four points.

And Peterborough face a do-or-die game in hand against Portsmouth on Tuesday night.

But Rovers know victory over Coventry City on the final day of the regular season will hand them sixth place.

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Oxford made the brighter start but it was Rovers who took the lead after seven minutes when Marquis met a smart cross from Mallik Wilks and powered a header past Oxford keeper Simon Eastwood.

The game opened up significantly after the goal and Oxford grabbed the equaliser on 13 minutes.

Browne got in behind Matty Blair and charged into the box before slamming a shot through the legs of Marko Marosi.

Rovers’ biggest downfall in the first period was the quality of their passing. Play was rushed, with the ball often moved first time and frequently cut out.

And Oxford looked the more dangerous with Jerome Sinclair drawing a smart save from Marosi after being played in by Cameron Brannagan.

A slack back-headed from Blair played in Sinclair but the striker’s attempt to square the ball was cut out by Paul Downing.

Rovers had a shout for a penalty when Marquis appeared to be nudged in the back as he charged into the box but referee Charles Breakspear was unmoved.

Marquis lashed a shot from his own knockdown which drew a save from Eastwood.

Downing was switched off for Tom Anderson at the break, largely due to a booking picked up by the centre half.

Oxford thought they had gone ahead a minute into the half when Marosi spilled a Browne shot from distance and Sinclair slotted into an empty net but the offside flag was up.

There was no mistakes for the hosts on 49 minutes when Gavin Whyte galloped clear and drilled a low effort which Marosi blocked, only for Henry to slot in at the second attempt.

Three minutes later it looked to have slipped away from Rovers entirely when Henry lobbed a sublime finish over Marosi but Breakspear had pulled play back for a handball.

Kieran Sadlier almost made an instant impact after coming off the bench to replace Tommy Rowe but volleyed at Eastwood after meeting Marquis’ dinked ball.

Rovers were level on the 61st minute however. Andrew smashed a cross into the box which rattled off Jones and past his own keeper.

Marosi produced an excellent save to keep out a rasping shot from Henry.

Wilks side-footed into the side netting from a Marquis cross as Rovers showed the greater threat in the later stages.

And Wilks headed wide in added time as Rovers’ hopes of snatching a late win were quashed.

All eyes now turn to Tuesday night when Peterborough visit automatic promotion chasing Portsmouth in need of something.

OXFORD: Eastwood; Long, Nelson, Jones, Ruffels; Hanson, Brannagan; Whyte (Hall 78), Henry (Sykes 70), Browne; Sinclair (Mackie 85). Subs not used: Stevens, Garbutt, Mousinho, Lofthouse.

ROVERS: Marosi; Blair, Downing (Anderson 46), Butler, Andrew; Kane, Whiteman, Rowe (Sadlier 56); Wilks, Marquis, Coppinger. Subs: Jones, Lewis, Crawford, May, Smith.

REFEREE: Charles Breakspear (Surrey)

ATTENDANCE: 9,000 (709 away)