With former Rovers defender Phil Jones amongst the crowd, there was nothing to get too excited about although the Reds shaded matters after the break. In a flat first half, Nick Blackman forced an early save out of Ben Amos but there was precious little goalmouth action. Reece Brown went into the book for a late tackle on Daryll Goulon as neither side managed to gain the upper hand.
United's first real effort came after 24 minutes when Paul Pogba headed a Larnell Cole corner off target but Rovers came closest to a first-half goal when Bruno Ribeiro raided forward from right-back and cracked a shot from an improbable angle against the outside of Amos' right-hand post. It prompted a response from the Reds with Federico Macheda's shot easily fielded by Mark Bunn and the keeper coming off his line to save when Macheda had a heavy touch to a lovely through ball by Pogba. Goulon dragged a shot wide from outside the area but the referee called an end to a disappointing opening 45 minutes with the match still goalless.
Things picked up after the break as Mame Biram Diouf forced Bunn to come out to smother again while Sean McGinty's overhead kick worked the keeper, even if the offside flag was up. Although Michael Keane made one telling block to stifle a shot from Jordan Slew, the Reds continued to press. Grant Hanley made a saving tackle on Macheda following Davide Petrucci's fine through ball and the skipper then tried his luck himself from distance, only for Bunn to dive to his right to pull off a superb save.
It was Petrucci's final contribution before being substituted and his fellow countryman Macheda went close with a deflected shot wide on 68