O'Neill impressed by spirited Rovers

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Football News

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill was understandably relieved to still be in this season's FA Cup following a goalless fourth-round draw at Championship strugglers Doncaster.

For an hour Champions League hopefuls Villa failed to find any momentum, and could easily have trailed but for the woodwork that denied Martin Woods 10 minutes before the break.

"I thought it was a good game, and I was impressed with Doncaster," remarked O'Neill, whose side's seven-match winning away run finally came to an end.

"They played particularly well in the first half, had the better of it, and it took us some time to get into our stride," he added.

Once O'Neill's side found top gear in the second half, they created enough chances to have run out easy winners.

But a combination of veteran goalkeeper Neil Sullivan, one month short of his 39th birthday, and profligacy in front of goal ensured the two teams will meet again at Villa Park on February 4.

"In the second half we were more like ourselves. We had a couple of great chances, but didn't take them," said O'Neill. "Whilst in the course of the season it's another game, it is the FA Cup, and I'll take it. I'm delighted we're still in it."

Rovers boss Sean O'Driscoll at least appreciated just how well his side performed, adding: "I thought we gave a good account of ourselves, although we were indebted to Neil on a couple of occasions.

"But then we were a whisker away from scoring ourselves. Villa are an excellent counter-attacking side, but we matched them and gave them problems, so I'm pleased with the performance and the result.

"When you are playing a side like Villa you know you are going to have to compete, but if that's all you do then you spend all afternoon chasing the ball. We didn't do that. We controlled parts of the game, were a threat, and although we've had problems scoring goals this season, we made them play as well as they did."

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Doncaster Rovers
Martin Woods
UEFA Champions League
Aston Villa
Neil Sullivan
FA Cup

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