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The Keepmoat Stadium (ATT 12,384) 30th January 2009 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: M Oliver

Doncaster Doncaster Rovers vs Norwich City Norwich

Canaries battle back for draw

Grounds cancels out Heffernan's opener

Last Updated: 30/01/09 10:26pm

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Heffernan: First half header

Heffernan: First half header

Norwich City battled back from a one-goal deficit to claim a share of the spoils against relegation rivals Doncaster Rovers.

Click here for match summary:
Doncaster 1 Norwich 1

The Canaries made a flying start, but were unable to turn their possession and good field position into the opening goal of the game.

Bryan Gunn's side were punished as Rovers forged ahead when Paul Heffernan headed into an empty net from John Spicer's cross.

Norwich picked up their game after half time and deservedly equalised when Jonathan Grounds was left unmarked to head home Lee Croft's cross.

Both sides pressed forward late on in search of a winner, but in the end the teams settled for a point that sees them move two points clear of third from bottom Derby.

Croft down the Norwich right looked the most likely source of inspiration and so it proved as he carved out the game's first chance in the 10th minute, cutting inside the full-back and into the area before firing a low shot narrowly wide of the far post.

Foothold

Doncaster, though, slowly began to gain a foothold in midfield and twice went close before taking a 23rd-minute lead.

First James Coppinger's dangerous cross from the left was anxiously scrambled clear by the Canaries defence and then Heffernan had an effort blocked from in front of the goal line.

And the pressure told just moments later when Heffernan followed up to nod home from close range after Norwich keeper David Marshall had made a brave initial save.

Mark Fotheringham and Richie Wellens were then fortunate to escape with no more than a talking to from the referee after they squared up to each other following a hefty challenge from the Norwich skipper.

The visitors suffered another blow in first-half stoppage-time when Darel Russell went off injured, replaced by Carl Cort.

Almost level

Norwich almost drew level straight after the break, Wes Hoolahan taking a long ball on the chest and crossing for Jamie Cureton, whose first touch took him away from his marker but Neil Sullivan came out to make a smart save.

And Norwich equalised in the 61st minute when Grounds headed Croft's clipped ball in from the right past Sullivan.

Doncaster then had a penalty appeal waved away, while at the other end Jon Otsemobor blazed a glorious chance high over the bar after Pattison's neat pass had played him in.

Marshall then had to be at his athletic best to tip Coppinger's fierce drive over the bar as the game began to really open up.

In the 73rd minute Matt Mills sidefooted over after getting free round the back from a free-kick, while Heffernan stabbed the ball wide from the increasingly-influential Coppinger's pull back.

But for all Doncaster's late pressure they could not find a winner as their run of victories came to an end.

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Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Norwich City 10 20
2 Nottingham Forest 10 20
3 Watford 10 20
4 Derby County 10 19
5 Ipswich Town 10 18
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 18
7 Charlton Athletic 10 18
8 Middlesbrough 10 17
9 Sheffield Wednesday 10 16
10 Reading 9 14
11 Blackburn Rovers 10 14
12 Brentford 10 14
13 Cardiff City 10 13
14 Leeds United 9 13
15 Bournemouth 10 12
16 Millwall 10 11
17 Rotherham United 10 11
18 Brighton and Hove Albion 10 10
19 Birmingham City 10 10
20 Wigan Athletic 10 9
21 Huddersfield Town 9 8
22 Bolton Wanderers 9 5
23 Fulham 9 4
24 Blackpool 10 3

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