Keepmoat clash ends in stalemate...


Doncaster: Sullivan, Martis, O'Connor, Friend, Gillett (Mason 85), Shiels (Fairhurst 80), Coppinger, Martin Woods, Oster (Stock 80), Dumbuya, Sharp. Subs: Lockwood, Wilson, Gary Woods, Hird.

United: Higgs, Hughes, Bruce, Collins, White, Gradel (Watt 85), Kilkenny, Howson, Johnson, Somma, McCormack (Snodgrass 67). Subs: Naylor, Becchio, Sam, Faye, Brown.

Referee: K Woolmer

Att: 13293 (3297 Leeds)

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United manager Simon Grayson rang the changes after the midweek 5-2 beating at Barnsley. Paul Connolly and Fede Bessone both missed out with injury, Luciano Becchio and Richard Naylor were both rested following a heavy workload, and there was a full debut for Ross McCormack.

Alex Bruce battles with Shelton Martis at Doncaster

Davide Somma also came into the starting line-up along with Aidy White while Amdy Faye was named among the subs, along with Rob Snodgrass who returned from injury.

The United boss has demanded a response from his players, but they were on the back foot inside the opening minute when Billy Sharp latched on to a cross from the Doncaster right and should have done better with his finish. Doncaster won three successive corners, but Leeds cleared the third and broke quickly and incisively, White's cross being too far in front of an advancing Somma.

Max Gradel was also an early threat for Leeds and he tested Neil Sullivan at the near post before winning a corner.

There was plenty of huster and bluster from both sides during what was a frenetic opening with action at both ends. Somma was also looking lively for United and his hold-up play allowed McCormack a shot which was deflected for a corner.

Somma came within a whisker of opening the scoring on 22 minutes, though, when his sweetly struck effort beat former Leeds keeper Neil Sullivan but came back off the bar. McCormack teed his striking partner up again from the re-bound, and another cracker of a shot flew just wide.

Ross McCormack at Doncaster

When Doncaster came forward, Dean Shiels sent a shot across the face of goal and well wide of a watchful Shane Higgs. Moments later, Shiels did go close when he curled a shot against the upright after finding himself on space inside the box.

The balance of free-kick decisions were certainly going Doncaster's way during the first half, and Jonny Howson had to be alert to clear one effort which skidded through a ruck of players.

But it was United who fashioned out another great chance when a perfect through ball released Somma, who was denied by an advancing Sullivan, the veteran getting down well at the striker's feet.

As the first half entered its final moments, United had some defending to do, Bruce making one timely intervention when Sharp was in space. Simon Gillett also had a shot blocked from the resultant corner.

However, Leeds ended the half on the front foot. Kilkenny had shot deflected for a corner and Neill Coillins saw his header cleared from the resultant corner.

The game was finely balanced at the interval, and it was Leeds who had the first opportunity of the second half when the lively Somma sent a shot wide of the mark.

Doncaster did fashion out a half-chance for Shiels shortly before the hour, but he was unable to make a good connection and his header looped over the top.

Dave Somma has a goal disallowed at Doncaster

At the other end, Sullivan was called into action moments later to save a strong effort from Gradel after some good build-up play, and the former Leeds keeper also had to save when McCormack returned the ball with a powerful strike at goal.

The first change for Leeds came on 67 minutes when Snodgrass was handed his seasonal debut in place of McCormack who went down injured. The Scot was given a terrific reception by the travelling fans.

And those travelling fans were going wild on 74 minutes when United thought the lead was theirs. Johnson tried his luck from distance with a shot which Sullivan failed to hold, and Somma was on hand to apply the finishing touch from close range for his fifth goal of the season. But an offside flag was raised to deny the striker and put a swift end to the celebrations.

With 10 minutes remaining, and Leeds shading the contest, the home side made two changes, introducing Brian Stock and Waide Fairhurst.

United had immediate claims for a penalty when Somma appeared to be shoved in the back while looking to get on the end of a cross, but the referee waved play on. The South African had been terrific for Leeds and his pace and movement caused Doncaster problems throughout.

Grayson made another change as the game entered its final five minutes, Sanchez Watt replacing Gradel.

The hosts had a lucky escape within moments of the change, Sullivan scrambling to push a deflected shot from Johnson around the post for a corner.

United still had to make some decisive blocks. Both Collins and Bruce getting their bodies in the way when the hosts looked to force a goal.

Both sides were looking to win the game and three minutes of added time gave hope that it could be Leeds who snared the points, but there p;roved to be no decisive goal as honours ended even with a stalemate.