DONCASTER Rovers remain anchored to the bottom of the Championship table after Leeds United completed a hat-trick of wins over them this season at Elland Road.
Not for the first time this season, United salvaged a result with a late goal - striker Luciano Becchio grabbing a stoppage time winner to secure his side a hard-earned 3-2 victory.
The goal, though well-taken, was hard on a Rovers side who could arguably have considered themselves a little unlucky had it finished honours even.
Rovers have now gone eight away games without a win, during which time they have picked up just one point.
But their first win on the road since Bonfire Night can’t be far away if they play as well as they did at Elland Road.
And with Portsmouth now finding themselves in the bottom three as a result of having ten points deducted after going into administration, Rovers’ prospects of hanging on to their Championship status have received an unexpected boost.
But they can’t afford to rely on others to be sure of survival - they have to pick up enough points themselves.
Their hopes of doing that seemed to have suffered a massive body blow when Billy Sharp left to join Southampton in January and it took until the 88th minute of the next game, the 0-0 draw at Hull to test the keeper.
But the last two games, though both defeats, have seen Rovers create enough chances to have won both.
They also looked to have unearthed someone who could possibly help to fill Sharp’s boots in Mamadou Bagayoko.
The striker came off the bench after Habib Bamogo had suffered a hamstring problem on 24 minutes and scored both Doncaster goals and came close to a hat-trick.
Starting his third successive game, Bamogo went close to breaking the deadlock early on.
El Hadji Diouf, who had one of his best games in a Rovers’ shirt, set up the chance which saw Bamogo hit the left-hand post with an audacious back-heeler.
Rovers, who had won only once previously at Elland Road - in 2007-08 - took the lead after 31 minutes.
Diouf set James Hayter away and it needed a brave save by Leeds keeper Andrew Lonergan to deny him. The loose ball found it’s way to Bagayoko, who picked his spot from about 12 yards out.
Leeds had marginally more of the play in the first half, but generally lacked invention in the final third and loud boos rung around the ground as the half-time whistle blew.
Rovers made a bright start to the second half only to be denied by the woodwork for a second time on 49 minutes.
Giles Barnes, who had an impressive second half, picked out Hayter on the edge of the box with a cross field pass and the striker turned a defender before rattling the crossbar from 18 yards.
Becchio went close to an equaliser with a header before Rovers doubled their lead on 54 minutes.
Leeds-born defender Tommy Spurr picked out the unmarked Diouf at the far post and he side-footed the ball across goal for Bagayoko to head home from close range.
But, as so often happens after scoring a goal, Rovers let their guard down and Spurs’ loanee Andros Townsend pulled one back for Leeds a minute later.
Rovers went close to regaining their two-goal lead on 62 minutes.
Barnes and Hayter combined well to set up a chance for Bagayoko in front of goal only to see him denied a hat-trick by an excellent save by the United keeper. Button pulled off a couple of good saves as Leeds got their second wind.
But he could do nothing to prevent United’s equaliser by Adam Clayton on 80 minutes after Robert Snodgrass had got the better of Diouf down the left and then found the midfielder, who hit the target with a first-time shot.
Rovers continued to pose problems in attack, however, and Hayter shot just wide with only the keeper to beat on 84 minutes.
There was a lengthy hold up at the end of normal time as Spurr and United substitute Robbie Rogers were both carried off after a clash of heads. Fortunately, neither was seriously hurt. With the game looking set to end in a draw, Becchio, whose first shot from 25 yards had struck a team-mate, gave Button no chance from the rebound.
Unfortunately for former Rovers’ midfielder Neil Redfearn, given four games in which to prove himself good enough to become the new Leeds’ boss, his second win in charge came too late.
Leeds chairman Ken Bates had decided to look elsewhere are successive defeats and the club had announced earlier in the day that Neil Warnock would be their new manager.
Although Redfearn had charge on the day, Warnock spoke to the players before the game and at half-time and will have been delighted with the result - if not the part his players played in tunnel bust-up at the end of the game.
Keith Stroud missed a glaring penalty in the first half when Rovers’ defender Adam Lockwood blatantly pushed Luciano Becchio in the back in the box. He booked Rovers’ Giles Barnes Brian Stock, Tommy Spurr and Sam Hird and Leeds’ duo Danny Pugh and Robert Snodgrass. There could have been others as tempers became frayed in the closing stages.