Paul Dickov took a reshuffled squad to face Steve McClaren’s Derby County side unbeaten in their last six.
Ward was furious with the referee as he gratefully received the ball following a late McCullough foul but the play was brought back for the mis-timed tackle.
Dickov was keen for his side to cut out poor defendin but would have been furious with Derby’s opening goal.
Rovers allowed the ball to bounce in the area, McCullough attempted to clear but did not get enough on his header as Martin gratefully received and slipped in WARD with a delightful ball who slotted into the corner of a gaping goal in the 13th minute.
Doncaster tried for an instant response as Woods and Wellens linked up well to feed Brown and, with his back to goal on the edge of the area, the striker released Duffy down the right but his lofted cross was well dealt with by Wisdom.
Wellens tested Grant with a thunderbol. The chance stung the palms of the keeper as he parried away.
Doncaster searched for the equaliser with Duffy heavily involved, but Derby showed their defensive qualities.
In the 28th minute a Dawkins throughball saw Martin surge to the byline and cut a pass back from the left with McCullough at full stretch to divert over for a corner.
Doncaster nearly found themselves 2-0 down as McCullough brought down an Martin in the box just past the half hour giving the referee had no choice but to award apenalty.
However, Martin lashed his effort to Turnbull’s right and the shot-stopper got down well to parry away in the 36th minute as Derby failed with the rebound and Doncaster survived. With four minutes of normal time remaining, Dickov made his first substitution of the game as he brought off Brown - struggling with injury - for Macheda to partner Robinson in the Rovers attack.
Derby were feeling aggrieved and letting their frustrations be known to referee Miller as a few challenges went the way of Doncaster or were waved away with both sides showing effort in some full-blooded tackles.
Four minutes of added on time saw Doncaster in the ascendancy but Dickov’s men were struggling to test an otherwise unchallenged Grant.
Robinson nearly had a superb return to his former club as he was played in down the right and the 24-year-old advanced into the area but fired into the side netting as the travelling Rovers fans cheered thinking the Jamaican had equalised.
Robinson was again through on goal but had his chance saved by Grant then Derby broke and DAWKINS found himself bearing down on Turnbull’s goal before slotting in with 50 minutes gone for 2-0 to County.
Derby were attacking with purpose as Dawkins was inches away from doubling his tally when his header was cleared off the line by Furman and then Turnbull palmed away a drilled effort minutes later.
Ward was enjoying freedom down the right for County as he flashed a delivery across goal during an attacking onslaught period for the Rams.
County should have extended their lead after the hour mark when Ward connected with a drilled ball in from the left but saw his sliding effort, under pressure, strike the far-post.
Rovers then turned the game on its head as they reduced the deficit when a lofted ball into the box was pressurised well by Robinson and BUXTON touched the ball into the bottom corner of his own net in the 64th minute.
Macheda had a glorious chance to level as he advanced with the ball down the left but dragged his low shot the wrong side of Grant’s right-hand post.
Duffy was arguably Doncaster’s biggest threat as the former Scunthorpe United winger shifted the ball onto his right and drilled an effort on goal but his shot fired narrowly wide in the 72nd minute.
Just as Doncaster looked to be more purposeful in their attacks, Derby struck a killer blow as BRYSON was fed in the area and cut onto his right foot before curling in a superb shot past the despairing left arm of Turnbull for a 78th minute goal.
Derby countered down the right before a drilled delivery was well cleared.