Looking down at QPR’s star-studded teamsheet, Rovers knew they had to be right at it from the off against Harry Redknapp’s promotion chasers.
But it was a strangely subdued start from both sides at a cold and crisp Keepmoat Stadium.
Barton, sitting just in front of QPR’s back four, was seeing plenty of the early ball. Furman and Wellens, outnumbered in midfield, looked like they were in a difficult afternoon.
From Barton’s right wing corner came the first attempt on goal, Hill rising at the back post but heading well wide.
Rovers looked content to keep their discipline and play on the counter. Duffy registered their first shot on goal, dribbling from half way, but his deflected shot was easily gathered by Green.
At the half way point of the first half the game showed its first signs of opening up.
Coppinger was guilty of giving the ball away on half way and from Rangers’ resultant attack Phillips dragged his shot his left footed shot wide from 20 yards.
More patient approach play from the visitors then created an opening for Kranjcar, but he lashed his first time effort wide of the right hand upright.
Although Rovers were disciplined in defence, they were causing Rangers few problems. They were presented with a free kick out wide and Duffy’s dangerous delivery had to be headed over his own bar by Austin.
Quinn conceded a needless corner but breathed a sigh of relief when McCullough’s clearance was volleyed high, wide and not so handsome by O’Neil.
Khumalo made an important block on the edge of his own box when dangerman Austin let fly.
But Rovers were starting to get more of a foothold, and the lively Duffy saw an effort from distance blocked by Dunne.
With the game seemingly drifting towards a half time stalemate, the visitors broke the deadlock in fortuitous circumstances.
Jenas led their counter attack, he lost control of it on the edge but the ball fell kindly for AUSTIN whose weak shot squirmed through Turnbull’s hands.
Rangers have a habit of winning games 1-0. But they started the second period immediately on the front foot, refusing to sit on their goal lead, as Turnbull had to save Phillips’ looping effort. The game was being played at a much quicker tempo. Both sides looked like they’d had a half time rocket from their manager.
And from Rovers’ first attack of the half came their equaliser - and it was a beauty. ROBINSON picked up possession on the right, cut inside and curled a left footed effort right into the far corner, out of the reach of Green.
Duffy then saw his half volley deflected wide as Doncaster were visibly lifted. Robinson, suddenly exuding confidence, drilled an effort wide from the angle of the box.
With Rovers gaining the upper hand, Harry Redknapp threw on another striker, replacing O’Neil with Johnson - and the visitors were soon starting to look a threat on the counter attack.
Khumalo, again excellent at the heart of Doncaster’s defence, had to be alert to head away a dangerous ball into the box.
But Rovers were continuing to ask questions at the other end. Firstly Coppinger saw a shot blocked before Macheda rattled the follow-up against the stanchion.
At the other end Kranjcar fired a volley out of the stadium bowl, and was promptly replaced by Hoilett.
The game was anyone’s for the taking as it entered the final ten minutes. Furman collected the ball from Duffy in a good area and curled and effort over the bar as Rovers refused to settle for a point.
Khumalo met Wellens’ free kick but his header looped just over, while at the other Hoilett’s close-range effort deflected onto the roof of the net.
From the corner Hill looped a volley inches over - but moments later Rovers struck from a corner of their own.
Duffy’s deliver y from the left was met brilliantly by QUINN whose firm downward header went underneath Green.
Wellens then broke clear and was denied a third by Green, but it wasn’t required as Rovers held out for a brilliant win.