Federico Machedo, Doncaster Rovers’ Italian loanee from Manchester United, scored a brace in a thrilling 2-2 Championship draw with highly-fancied Nottingham Forest at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Rovers knew they had their work cut out against an in-form Forest side as they went in search of their first league win in five.
And right from the off the confident visitors stamped their authority on the contest. Reid and Mackie both tested Turnbull from distance as the home side struggled to get their foot on the ball.
The tempo was frantic and Jones had to be alert at the back to make two crucial defensive headers as Forest looked for lone frontman Henderson.
At the other end, Keegan’s deep cross almost picked out Brown. Brown was then sent clear down the right by Wellens but Robinson just failed to get on the end of the striker’s centre.
The respite for Rovers’ rearguard was temporary. Wabara switched off in his own penalty area, allowing Abdoun the freedom of the box but his shot failed to trouble Turnbull.
Reid then saw his shot deflected wide from a clever corner routine as Forest continued to press.
From another Jones header, this time in the Forest box, Robinson turned but his shot was easily gathered by Darlow.
Rovers had been restricted to playing mainly on the counter, but on 35 minutes that allowed them to take the lead. With the visitors short at the back, Wellens’ volleyed through-ball sent Robinson clear.
He cleverly manipulated the ball to his left and there was MACHEDA to run onto it and finish coolly left footed.
Rovers’ lead, however, lasted barely five minutes. Reid laid the ball to left back COHEN whose first time shot from the angle of the box flashed into the roof of the net.
Wellens saw a close-range effort cleared off the line by Hobbs at the other end but a fast, frenetic first half ended all square.
Neither side made any changes at the start of the second period, although an agitated Paul Dickov on the touchline was hoping his side would see more of the ball.
They started positively. Macheda showed some neat footwork on the left but there was no one on the end of his teasing ball across the face of goal. The Manchester United striker was in the thick of the action. This time a Brown cross was just behind him and he could not manipulate an effort on target. But the Italian was not to be denied, moments later tapping Rovers back in front.
Robinson broke quickly from half way and laid it into Wellens’ path. The midfielder’s first time pass picked out MACHEDA who was left with a simple finish from close range.
The goal sparked Forest into life. Turnbull had to dive full length to his left to paw away Reid’s curling free kick from 20 yards.
The roaming Abdoun then broke into the box but Turnbull was again equal to his drilled cross.
Wabara hobbled off for Rovers just before the hour mark, replaced by Quinn.
Forest continued to probe. This time Reid swapped passes with Henderson but clipped an effort over the bar from the edge of the box.
From almost an identical position Reid again fired over, this time following a short corner routine.
Furman was then relieved to see his defensive diving header flash past the right side of the post and behind for a corner.
Derbyshire was on for Forest. He instantly turned in the box smartly but his low effort was gobbled up by Turnbull.
Quinn’s clearance was then charged down by Reid, setting Henderson clear but his shot hit the side-netting.
Rovers wasted a gilt-edged chance to make it three as the game entered the final quarter of an hour, an unmarked Robinson heading Wellens’ sumptuous delivery from the left over the bar.
Forest’s leveller, which they had threatened, arrived on 81 minutes in spectacular fashion. REID found space and, following his earlier sighters, this time unleashed another unstoppable drive into the top corner.
Paterson should have won it for the visitors when he failed to convert Derbyshire’s cross from the left, from just three yards out.
But despite the best efforts of both sides, a thoroughly enjoyable game ended all square. A hard-earned point for Rovers against a side likely to go very well in this season’s Championship.