SOUTHEND United were held to a drab 0-0 draw by Doncaster Rovers on a terrible Roots Hall pitch this afternoon.

The Shrimpers wasted a clear cut chance to score when Stephen McLaughlin fired wide when clean through on goal.

But Chris Powell’s side were also indebted to goalkeeper Mark Oxley who kept the game goalless with a stunning double save.

In a largely uneventful encounter, clear cut opportunities were few and far between but Doncaster wasted a huge chance to take the lead in the 14th minute when James Coppinger’s right-wing cross picked out an unmarked Joe Wright but the centre-back could only send his header wide of the right post from 12 yards.

Moments later, Blues hit back with Michael Kightly curling a 25 yard shot inches wide of the right post.

And, in the 24th minute, the hosts wasted an even cleare chance to score when Marc-Antoine Fortune played in McLaughlin only for the Irishman to fire wide of the left post with just Rovers goalkeeper Marko Marosi left to beat.

After surviving the scare, Doncaster immediately replied and only a stunning double save from Shrimpers shot-stopper Mark Oxley stopped them opening the scoring.

Oxley did well to keep out John Marquis’ header low down to his left hand side before recovering superbly to keep out Alex Kiwomya’s follow up effort from close range.

The relieved Shrimpers hit back in the 42nd minute with Marosi smothering McLaughlin’s header from Jason Demetriou’s right wing cross in the final action of the first half.

After the break, Kightly sent a low angled effort flashing wide of the right post before Michael Turner’s header from McLaughlin’s right wing cross was tipped wide of the left post by Marosi.

In a further bid to make a breakthrough, Blues boss Powell made his first substitution of the afternoon in the 68th minute with Anthony Wordsworth replacing Cox.

Moments later and, with 10 minutes on the clock, Shayon Harrison replaced Kightly before Freddie Ladapo also took the place of Fortune but the new look Blues were unable to make a breakthrough with Wordsworth sending a late effort over the crossbar.