Doncaster Rovers 2 Carlisle United 2 - Paying price for penalty pain

Tommy Rowe slots in Rovers' opening goal against Carlisle United. Picture: Andrew Roe
Tommy Rowe slots in Rovers' opening goal against Carlisle United. Picture: Andrew Roe

Doncaster Rovers paid the penalty as they had to settle for a point against unbeaten Carlisle United.

Rovers reacted well to falling behind to Shaun Miller’s 15th minute strike and led at the break courtesy of goals from Tommy Rowe and John Marquis.

John Marquis slams in a shot to put Rovers ahead. Picture: Andrew Roe

John Marquis slams in a shot to put Rovers ahead. Picture: Andrew Roe

But Tommy Rowe missed a second half penalty and a determined Carlisle outfit fought back impressively to equalise through substitute Jabo Ibehre.

Darren Ferguson made one change to the side that lost at Luton Town on Saturday, replacing Frazer Richardson with Riccardo Calder. Matty Blair reverted to right back, while Calder started on the right of the midfield diamond.

The visitors made the better start and twice came close to breaking the deadlock in the opening ten minutes through striker Shaun Miller.

He latched onto a long ball over the top from his namesake Tom inside two minutes but his lobbed effort went well over, before going clean through again only to be denied by Marko Marosi.

Rovers’ somewhat pedestrian start was summed up when Andy Williams failed to take advantage of a hospital ball by Carlisle centre back Michael Raynes and saw his effort comfortably saved by Mark Gillespie.

Within moments the visitors grabbed the lead when the ball fell kindly to Nicky Adams on the edge of the area and his shot was diverted past Marosi by Shaun Miller.

Carlisle’s advantage lasted for barely three minutes. Rovers had produced very little of note but, jolted by going behind, they suddenly sliced through the United defence and Williams layed it on a plate for Rowe to finish with aplomb.

Despite tossing away their lead, Carlisle had the look of an unbeaten side not short on confidence. They were well organised in defence and looked capable going forward.

They went close to re-taking the lead when Adams flashed an effort just wide from the edge of the box, while Marosi breathed a huge sigh of relief after failing to hold a shot from Tom Miller and then seeing Shaun Miller blaze the rebound over the bar.

Rovers had their moments too as Coppinger twice fired narrowly wide and Williams broke into the box but saw his initial effort saved by Gillespie before his second attempt bounced clear off the underside of the bar.

The home side did go ahead before the break courtesy of a fine strike from Marquis. Out of nothing the frontman let fly left-footed from 20 yards out and his strike sailed into the bottom corner.

Shortly after the re-start Rovers were handed the chance to increase their lead from the penalty spot after referee Ross Joyce spotted a shove on Andy Butler, but Rowe’s kick hit the outside of the post.

Keith Curle showed his hand by bringing on strikers Ibehre and Charlie Wyke and, just after the hour mark, Marosi had to make a good save low down to keep out a header from Raynes.

Carlisle’s refusal to give up their unbeaten league record without a fight made Rovers edgy in their attempts to protect their lead. The visitors enjoyed a good chunk of possession and Marosi had to make another decent save from Ibehre, before Reynes headed wide from a corner when it was easier to score.

The visitors’ persistence paid off, though, when Adams’ cross from the left was headed home emphatically by Ibehre.

Immediately after the equaliser Williams went down in the box but Rovers were denied a second penalty. And, in the end, the hosts were quite grateful with the point as Carlisle finished the game strongly but were unable to net a winner.

Rovers: Marosi, Blair, Wright, Butler, Evina, Houghton, Calder (Richardson 73), Rowe, Coppinger (Middleton 78), Marquis, Williams (Mandeville 85). Subs not used: Etheridge, Baudry, Beestin, Garratt.

Carlisle: Gillespie, T Miller (Lambe 68), Grainger, Raynes, Gillesphey, Joyce, Jones, Kennedy, Adams, Devitt (Ibehre 51), S Miller (Wyke 51). Subs not used: Ellis, Brisley, McKee, Crocombe.

Attendance: 4,773

Referee: Ross Joyce (Cleveland)