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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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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Derby County 18 35
2 Bournemouth 18 32
3 Middlesbrough 18 32
4 Ipswich Town 18 31
5 Brentford 18 31
6 Blackburn Rovers 18 30
7 Watford 18 29
8 Nottingham Forest 18 28
9 Charlton Athletic 18 28
10 Norwich City 18 27
11 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 27
12 Cardiff City 18 26
13 Sheffield Wednesday 18 22
14 Huddersfield Town 18 21
15 Reading 18 21
16 Leeds United 18 20
17 Fulham 18 19
18 Millwall 18 19
19 Birmingham City 18 19
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 18 18
21 Bolton Wanderers 18 18
22 Rotherham United 18 18
23 Wigan Athletic 18 17
24 Blackpool 18 8

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