Five-star Doncaster blew away ten-man Crawley with their biggest win of the season.
Goals from skipper Andy Butler, Richie Wellens, Nathan Tyson, Harry Forester and substiute Curtis Main did the damage as Rovers bounced back in fine style from Saturday’s disappointing 2-0 home defeat to Walsall.
It was an impressive performance from Paul Dickov’s battling side as they showed no signs of sluggishness which cost them so dear at the weekend in front of their own supporters.
And victory – extending their unbeaten away record to 12 matches – saw Dickov’s charges climb two places to 11th in the table and within three points of the play-off positions.
Rovers were the brighter starters and should have taken the lead inside two minutes but for a fine double save from goalkeeper Lewis Price.
The restored Tyson caught the Crawley defence cold and found the onrushing Forrester.
But Forrester saw his initial shot blocked by Price and then the rebound also well saved by the alert keeper.
It was an ominous start to the match from the hosts who had won just one of their last 16 matches in all competitions.
And Rovers were keen to force the pace in the early exchanges, although it was at the other end where the next chance fell.
Mathias Pogba found time and space on the edge of Rovers’ box, but he took too long and saw his right-foot shot charged down.
Rovers broke on the counter-attack and the industrious Dean Furman had a powerful shot charged on the edge of the Crawley area.
Midfielder Marvin Elliott carelessly gave the ball away in his own half just two minutes later and Tyson whipped in a delicious cross which Furman could only head over the bar.
The pressure was telling on the hosts and the hungry Tyson had a rasping left-foot drive charged down.
A minute later Price had to be on his toes to a dangerous inswinging corner from Forrester which everyone left.
The ball looked to be heading into the far corner, but Price managed to shuttle the ball to safety.
Tyson was unlucky not to score with a dipping left-foot shot which Price did well to push past his right post.
Just after the half hour mark Tyson tried is luck from distance, but this time shot-stopper Price parried and the home side cleared their lines.
Izale McLeod had Crawley’s best chance of the half in 33rd minute, but he struck a right-foot shot at the previously untroubled Stephen Bywater.
Furman picked out Kyle Bennett with a clever pass, the winger rifled over with a powerful right foot effort.
But the pressure eventually told when, seven minutes before half-time, Butler scrambled the ball home from a Wellens free-kick.
And it took a dominant Rovers just 11 minutes to double their advantage in the second half.
Wellens had acres of time to slot home at the back post after Bennett’s cross had evaded the entire Crawley defence. It was a soft goal to concede, not that Dickov or Rovers were complaining.
McLeod shot over at the other end with one of Crawley’s rare chances, before Bennett miscued a left-foot shot over the bar.
However, the miss didn’t matter as the impressive Tyson found the top right corner with a delightful chip to make it 3-0 and put the contest out of sight.
Captain Walsh then lost his cool and was shown a straight red card for lashing out at Furman after a 15-man melee broke out deep in Crawley’s own half.
Down to ten men there was no way back for Dean Saunders’ men against his former club.
And just to rub salt into a gaping wound Forrester hit the roof of the with a stinging drive to complete a commendable night on their travels.
The 217 travelling Rovers’ supporters would have certainly gone home happy – and it could have soon been more if Forrester had not seen his goalbound free-kick tipped over the bar by Price and substitute Theo Robinson having wasted two great chances late in the action.
But there was still time for a fifth goal though as Main lashed home in stoppage time.