Newport County 0 Doncaster Rovers 0: Ferguson’s men forced to settle for point after dour duel

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DONCASTER ROVERS extended their lead at the top of Sky Bet League Two to six points after drawing at relegation strugglers Newport County.

In only the second meeting between the two sides, the league leaders were held to a goalless draw in a scrappy encounter.

Basement club Newport remained at the foot of the table, two points adrift of safety, while Darren Ferguson’s side missed the chance to go eight points clear at the summit of the table.

Rovers are now unbeaten in their last 10 matches, but the two dropped points against their battling opponents could prove crucial in their attempt to win the league as second-placed Plymouth have two games in hand.

Manager Ferguson made two changes to the starting line-up that was held to a point against Morecambe last Saturday.

James Coppinger was rested due to a hamstring niggle, and Mathieu Baudry also missed out, with Craig Alcock and Joe Wright starting.

Despite the gap in the table between the two sides, Doncaster failed to assert their dominance on proceedings.

Conditions made it difficult for both sides to play football as the visitors adopted a more direct style of attack.

Newport had good chances at the start and end of an uneventful first half, but failed to make them count on a bitterly cold evening.

Ian Lawlor was the first goalkeeper called into action during a quiet encounter at Rodney Parade as he tipped David Pipe’s powerful header over the bar.

Jordan Houghton had Rovers’ first attempt on goal as he feebly hit an effort from range straight at Joe Day.

The visitors looked dangerous from corners, but the hosts’ backline managed to continuously scramble the ball away from danger.

The hosts almost punished themselves as Day was put under pressure from a wayward back pass, but he managed to clear ahead of Andy Williams.

On the stroke of the break Lawlor punched away a corner before Ryan Bird flashed a header wide from a secondary cross.

Mitch Rose had the only real shot after the break as he struck over the bar.

The second half proved just as uneventful as the first as both sets of forwards struggled to break down the respective defensive lines.

With 20 minutes left Houghton had an audacious effort from range blocked by Andy Butler.

John Marquis sustained a cut to the head and was bandaged up for the final quarter of an hour.

Deep in stoppage-time Darren Jones fired a long-range effort into the stands as neither side could muster a goal during a dire draw.

Newport County: Day, Nelson, Jones, O’Brien, Pipe, Rose, Blanchard, Reid, Butler, Bird, Williams (Gordon, 45). Unused substitutes: Parselle, Samuel, Sheehan, Owen-Evans, Flynn, Bittner.

Doncaster Rovers: Lawlor, Alcock, Wright, Butler, Mason, Blair, Houghton, Grant, Rowe, Williams, Marquis. Unused substitutes: Etheridge, Middleton, Keegan, Beestin, Evina, Walker, May.

Referee: David Webb (Lancashire).