An awful collapse at bottom side Crewe virtually consigned Doncaster Rovers to relegation to League Two.
Tommy Rowe gave the visitors the lead but Rovers gifted goals to Callum Ainley and Marcus Haber either side of half time.
Doncaster went in desperate search of a way back into the game but a late strike from Bradden Inman sealed the Railwaymen’s first win in 16 games and left Rovers relying only on a Fleetwood defeat to Walsall on Monday and then a very unlikely goal difference swing to save them.
Darren Ferguson’s men went about the job in the right manner from the off but lost their way completely as Crewe fought back. On the day they were not good enough, and over the course of this season they have been nowhere near good enough.
Rovers probed around the edge of the box for a fair bit of the first half without testing Crewe goalkeeper Ben Garratt but took the lead with their first effort on target just before the half hour.
The ball sat up nicely on the edge of the box for Rowe, who smashed home a left-footed effort with the aid of a deflection.
Callum Saunders had fluffed an early one on one chance but apart from that they had also offered very little threat, although they might have considered themselves slightly unfortunate not to win a penalty before going behind when Craig Alcock appeared to nudge Saunders in the back.
Crewe were offered a route back into the game on the stroke of half time, however, when Cedric Evina made a complete pig’s ear of dealing with a ball into the box. The left back wanted far too much time and his awful touch allowed Ainley to nip in and equalise.
There was controversy shortly after the re-start when Tyson swept home Rowe’s cross but the goal was disallowed for offside.
It was a close call. And it became a vital call when Crewe took the lead on 57 minutes after more woeful Doncaster defending. The visitors failed to deal with a cross from the left and Haber gratefully rifled it home at the back stick.
Rovers huffed and puffed in response, with Rowe firing an effort just wide and Andy Williams heading Cameron Stewart’s cross over the bar – before late on Inman rifled home a third from 20 yards to rub salt in Rovers’ gaping wounds.
Crewe: Garratt, Turton, Guthrie, Davis, Bakayogo, Jones, Bingham, Fox, Ainley (Udoh 81), Saunders (Inman 73), Haber (Ray 83).
Subs not used: Richards, Nugent, Cooper, Kirk.
Rovers: Matthews, Lund (Taylor-Sinclair 46), Alcock, Butler, Evina, McCullough, Coppinger, Calder (Stewart 72), Rowe, Tyson (Mandeville 72), Williams. Subs not used: Stuckmann, MacKenzie, Middleton, Pugh.
Referee: Lee Swabey (Devon)
Attendance: 4403 (861)