Match verdict: Barnsley 1 Doncaster Rovers 1

Ross Turnbull makes a fingertip save from a Theo Robinson shot.
Ross Turnbull makes a fingertip save from a Theo Robinson shot.

The South Yorkshire derby spoils were shared as the Reds and Rovers both struggled to find a killer winner in the closing stages.

Both managers would probably deem themselves satisfied with a draw in last night’s Sky Bet League One coming together, with the hosts shaking off back-to-back defeats in their previous two games and Rovers extending their encouraging unbeaten run to four matches.

Luke Berry holds off Andrew Butler.

Luke Berry holds off Andrew Butler.

The two bosses made minimal changes for this eagerly-anticipated set-to at a bitterly cold Oakwell.

Danny Wilson made three enforced alterations to his starting 11, with Reece Brown replacing suspended skipper Martin Cranie, and Leroy Lita coming in up top in place of hamstring injury victim Sam Winnall.

Wilson’s plans were further hindered minutes before kick-off when Joe Dudgeon pulled out of the warm-up, meaning 18-year-old Mason Holgate got the call to step up off the bench to make his full debut in the defence.

Rovers chief Paul Dickov made just the single change following their recent resurgence, with Theo Robinson coming into the attack to partner Curtis Main, at Nathan Tyson’s expense.

It was the hosts who got themselves off to a flying start with an opening goal after just five minutes.

And it was a bad goal to concede from a Rovers point of view as defender Lewin Nyatanga rose unmarked to head a Conor Hourihane corner-kick past helpless ‘keeper Sam Johnstone.

It was a timely fillip for a Reds side who went into last night on the back of those two defeats, but Rovers responded encouragingly.

Twice home ‘keeper Ross Turnbull was forced into smart stops inside a couple of minutes - the first from Robinson’s snapshot, then to beat away Kyle Bennett’s fierce angled strike.

By the midway point in the first period the Reds had regained the initiative, and a brilliant Johnstone save prevented a spectacular second goal.

Hourihane was again a provider from the left, crossing in perfectly for Lita, whose perfectly-hit volley was beaten away superbly by the ‘keeper from point-blank range.

The end-to-end theme continued as the game eased towards the interval, with both sides doing their best to at least try and keep the supporters warm in what felt like sub-zero temperatures.

Main was the next to go close for Rovers, doing well to wriggle free of teenager Holgate’s attentions before seeing a shot bravely blocked by Peter Ramage.

Robinson was then thwarted by a fingertip stop from Turnbull just as his curling effort looked destined for the bottom corner.

The Reds’ ‘keeper was again called into action to deny Bennett as the hosts somehow managed to carry their slender lead into the break.

The goal Rovers’ first-half efforts had deserved finally came eight minutes after the restart.

Main fired in a shot which Turnbull could only parry, with the loose ball falling kindly into Robinson’s path, The ever-alert striker pounced superbly to side-foot home and level it up.

The equaliser gave Rovers fresh impetus, and they continued their forward momentum with Main going close as he flicked a near-post effort narrowly wide. The pendulum had certainly swung back into the visitors’ favour, with Robinson almost bagging his second in the 61st minute following some hesitant Reds defending.

The final half-hour promised plenty as both sides now knew this game was there for the taking.

Devante Cole still looked a clear threat for the Reds, and he went for glory when charging menacingly towards goal in the 68th minute, only to be thwarted by a last-ditch block from Luke McCullough.

Passes began to go astray as the game opened up in the closing stages, and Robinson almost profited from one mis-placed Reds effort as he eventually saw a powerful strike blocked with Turnbull this time looking well beaten.

Bennett then found space in the Reds box with 10 minutes to go, but possibly trying to be a little too accurate, he curled a shot a couple of feet wide of the far post, with the game eventually fizzling out into a draw.

Barnsley: Turnbull 8, Brown 6, Nyatanga 7, Ramage 7, Holgate 5, Berry 5 (Abbott 78, 6), Hourihane 8, Bailey 7, Trotta 4 (Treacy 60, 6), Lita 6, Cole 7.

Subs not used: Davies, Hemmings, Digby, Cowgill

Yellow cards: Nyatanga (31).

Red cards: None.

Doncaster: Johnstone 7, Stevens 5, McCullough 7, Butler 7, Wabara 5, Coppinger 5, Keegan 6, Wellens 6, Bennett 8, Robinson 8, Main 6 (Forrester 81, 5).

Subs not used: Marosi, Furman, McCombe, Wakefield, Fernandez, McKay.

Yellow cards: None.

Red cards: None.

Referee: Nigel Miller (County Durham)

Att: 10,058.