Fleetwood Town were held to a goalless draw at home to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.
The Cod Army dominated most of the match at Highbury, and had a handful of decent chances to break the deadlock, but Doncaster’s back line remained solid especially in the second half.
The visitors themselves could have won the game late on through John Marquis, but it was to be a point apiece.
Uwe Rosler named an unchanged starting XI from last Saturday’s match at MK Dons, with just one change to the substitutes bench as Ashley Nadesan was rewarded for his four goal midweek haul for the Development Squad. He replaced Harvey Rodgers. Alex Cairns was handed his 50th Fleetwood Town appearance.
Town started brightly at Highbury and inside the opening couple of minutes had the first chance of the match as Kyle Dempsey whipped in a dangerous cross towards Devante Cole. The ball was eventually gathered by goalkeeper Ian Lawlor, despite good pressure from Cole who couldn’t quite connect with the ball.
Dempsey then went close himself when Wes Burns’ deflected shot rebounded his way as he turned then dummied outside the area before testing the reflexes of Lawlor.
Burns then burst down the right wing before unleashing a fierce shot just over the bar as Fleetwood began to dominate the early attacking play.
Doncaster’s first decent effort came when Rovers’ James Coppinger flashed a shot across the face of goal, but Harry Toffolo was inches off of a connection that would have put the visitors ahead.
Fleetwood were showcasing some unbelievable passing and were unlucky not to have produced the opening goal when Cole was eventually put through on goal, but the offside flag and Lawlor denied the striker his tenth goal of the season.
The hosts continued to dominate and forced Rovers into a defensive error as Lawlor’s mistake left Cole with a sight of an open goal, but the covering defender cleared with the ball, with it falling to George Glendon who fired over from 18 yards.
Burns then had another long-range effort saved by the goalkeeper as Fleetwood looked to make their dominance count.
Doncaster started much brighter in the second half and were close to opening the scoring as Rodney Kongolo who let rip from 25 yards out, but his shot was just over the bar. At the other end, Baily Cargill tried his luck but his shot also went over.
Fleetwood were still looking dangerous on the counter attack and had another great chance as Jordy Hiwula broke free with Dempsey and Cole to his right. He slotted the perfect through ball to Cole, who’s effort was saved by Lawlor and the second time of asking.
The Cod Army had managed to keep Doncaster’s star striker Marquis quiet until the 64th minute, when he rounded Cargill and hit a powerful strike towards goal, which was well saved by Alex Cairns for a corner.
Tensions boiled over when Cian Bolger was booked for a tackle on Kongolo, with a melee ensuing in front of the benches and the away side making their frustrations known.
With both sides looking for an opening goal and the visitors riled up, the game began to liven up in the final 20 minutes.
With Ash Hunter and Markus Schwabl now on the field as Rosler searched for the opening goal, the tempo was upped. Town came close as a host of bodies battled for a header from a corner, but there was still no breakthrough.
Doncaster were denied a late goal when they counter attacked and Cairns saved Kongolo’s effort before the ball the cleared. With the game in the final five minutes, it was all to play for.
However, there was to be no late drama, as both sides were left to ponder what might have been.
Fleetwood XI: Cairns (GK), Bell, O’Neill (Sowerby), Eastham, Hiwula (Hunter), Dempsey, Burns, Bolger ©, Glendon (Schwabl), Cargill, Cole.
Subs not used: Neal (GK), Pond, Godswill, Nadesan.
Doncaster XI: Lawlor (GK), Baudry, Butler, Kongolo, Marquis, Rowe, Wright, Houghton, Blair, Toffolo, Coppinger (Whiteman).
Subs not used: Marosi (GK), Mason, Williams, Mandeville, Garratt, Ben Khemis.
Referee: J Busby
Attendance: 3,181 (454 away)