Goals don’t just change games, they also change lives.
But only time will tell whether Richard Chaplow’s last gasp derby day decider will help persuade his club’s owners that Rob Jones is the man to lead a Rovers revolution.
Had this South Yorkshire scrap, and it was very scrappy in parts, ended all square then there would have been few complaints from either side.
The outcome was slightly harsh on a Barnsley side who seemed more likely, after Sam Winnall cancelled out Keshi Anderson’s opener, to go on and win the three points.
But Doncaster’s need for the win was significantly greater - and Chaplow’s late winner understandably sparked an outpouring of joy and also pent-up frustration as Rovers celebrated only their second league success of the season.
After the game Jones took great delight in his team’s wholehearted performance and said he would toast victory with a glass of red wine before getting down to work on what could potentially be his last game in charge tomorrow night at York City in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. You could not really blame him for enjoying the moment.
His side’s triumph may not have been exhilarating to watch or particularly easy on the eye, but it could be just the sort of spark needed to finally get things going.
Progress under Jones has been steady rather than spectacular.
Just a week ago he lashed out at his players after defeat in another derby at Bramall Lane, but since then he has seen his men show some genuine character to come from behind against Swindon in midweek and also stand up to Lee Johnson’s young but talented Barnsley team.
Four points from the last two games, and also six goals in the last four - compared with three in the previous seven league games - indicates that a corner has been turned.
The last week has seen Jones put his own mark on things too, and his players have responded in kind.
He has not shied away from big decisions, leaving out Paul Keegan, gambling on the fitness of Luke McCullough, having the courage of his convictions to play three strikers, while also throwing youngsters Anderson and James Horsfield in at the deep end with varying levels of success.
Should Jones find himself interviewed for the job this week, he would be well within his rights to claim that he is turning things round, albeit slowly.
That he would notch his first league win in temporary charge against Johnson’s young guns seemed fairly unlikely for large chunks of a derby that started in fairly dreary fashion and ended so dramatically.
Despite Jones’ bold selection of Anderson just in behind Dany N’Guessan and Andy Williams it was the visitors, and more precisely left winger Kadeem Harris, who made the early running.
Harris had the beating of his full back Horsfield every time and after leaving the on-loan Manchester City youngster in his wake, his cross was just too high for Marley Watkins.
Midway through the first half, as Barnsley started to gain a foothold, Harris then cut inside dangerously but fired well wide.
It was against the run of play when Rovers went ahead ten minutes before the break, Anderson getting the slightest of touches to Chaplow’s right wing cross to steer it past Nick Townsend into the far corner.
N’Guessan saw a chance go begging as the goal lifted the home side.
But it was Barnsley who were back on the front foot after the re-start as Connor Hourihane prodded a shot just wide and Harris got free again only for his cross to elude everyone.
Rovers, nevertheless, were keeping the Tykes at arm’s length until conceding on the hour mark in soft fashion from another corner - just like they did against Swindon. This time Winnall profited from some generous marking, heading home powerfully from close range.
Given Doncaster’s brittle confidence, it would not have been surprising from that point had Barnsley gone on to claim maximum points.
Harris, the game’s stand-out player, certainly went close, first forcing Thorsten Stuckmann to save with his legs and then unleashing an effort from distance which the German had to be at full strength to tip round the post.
But Jones had other ideas. He turned to youth on the bench in the shape of Harry Middleton and Liam Mandeville, and the duo played big roles in the winning goal.
As the clock ticked onto 90 minutes, Mandeville dragged Lewin Nyatanga out of position, Middleton slotted it through and Chaplow fired home the winner.
How much of a game-changer that goal turns out to be, in the greater scheme of things, remains to be seen.
Rovers: Stuckmann 6, Horsfield 5 (Taylor-Sinclair 74), McCullough 7, Butler 7, Evina 6, Wellens 7, Chaplow 8, Coppinger 6 (Middleton 57, 6), N’Guessan 5 (Mandeville 81), Williams 5, Anderson 6. Subs not used: Marosi, Forrester, Keegan, Stewart.
Barnsley: Townsend 6, Wabara 6 (Roberts 80), Mawson 6, Nyatanga 5, G.Smith 6 (M Smith 81), Watkins 6, Scowen 7 (Crowley 80), Hourihane 6, Pearson 6, Harris 8, Winnall 7. Subs not used: Davies, Jackson, Bree, Rothwell.