DONS’ coach Tony Miller paid tribute to his side’s never-say- die spirit as they pushed Co-op Championship One leaders Swinton Lions all the way before being edged out 36-32 at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The Manchester-side came into the clash on the back of six straight victories, but despite falling behind early on, Doncaster came within a whisker of being the first side to beat Steve McCormack’s side following a surging late comeback.
“I’m proud of the effort the lads put in,” Miller said.
“We didn’t start well but we certainly finished it on top and if the game had gone on for another 10 minutes, I’m confident we’d have gone on and won the game.
“We’re a fast, fit team and we can beat anyone in the last 15 minutes but unfortunately, we gave ourselves too much to do on this occasion.”
With the Dons beset by injuries to Mike Coady and Kyle Sampson and Hull duo Nev Morrison and Chris Green being recalled by their parent club, the omens were not good when the threadbare Dons slumped to an 18-0 deficit early on.
However, Miller will have been heartened by his side’s second-half display which almost saw the Dons turn the game on it’s head following three late tries.
“We were down to the bare bones with only 17 players today,” Miller bemoaned.
“We haven’t had much luck recently but it’s a fine line between winning and losing.
“In the first 20 minutes, we were poor. They are a really fast team on the fringes and we had too many errors although we tightened things up after that. I said at half-time, we only had the ball four times in their half and scored three tries, so I was confident we had the craft to cause problems which we did near the end.
“But we were always playing catch-up and gave ourselves too much to do although I’m very proud of how the team played for the full 80 minutes and how they pushed them all the way.”