Doncaster RLFC are still looking to open their account in the League One Super 8s.
Despite a much-improved display than against Keighley in their opening fixture, Richard Horne’s men went down 14-10 against high-flying Barrow Raiders at Craven Park in the first of their four scheduled away games.
The Dons, who gave a debut to French World Cup hopeful Hakin Miloudi at full-back, got off to a dream start.
Strong-running second-rower Brad England did well to muscle his way over from close range during their first attack on seven minutes.
Half-back Jack Miller, whose late touchline conversion earned the Dons a share of the spoils when the two sides drew 24-24in Doncaster in June, tagged on the extras to make it 6-0.
Raiders looked all set to score only for dual-registered centre Nick Rawsthorne to deny winger Brett Carter with a try-saving tackle.
Miloudi gave a glimpse of his attacking potential when going over half the length of the field to create a good attacking position.
Raiders had a sustained spell of pressure which paid off when play-maker Jamie Dallimore danced his way over just short of the half-hour mark to score a try he also converted to level at 6-6.
The Dons went close to regaining the lead, stand-off Reece Dean just failing to get a touch to Miller’s grubber-kick over the line before it ran dead.
Raiders missed a chance to edge in front when scrum-half Lewis Charnock pulled a 30m penalty wide. But it was just a stay of execution as Dallimore hit the target from the same distance five minutes later to put his side in front.
Barrow, who beat the Dons on the same ground in last season’s semi-final, increased their lead when Carter touched down out wide and Dallimore added an excellent conversion to make it 14-6.
Trailing by eight points at the start of the final quarter the Dons knew that they needed the next score. They got it – Miller latching on to a loose ball near to the line out wide to make it 14-10 with just over ten minutes to go.
Barrow full-back Ryan Fieldhouse bombed a chance to kill the game off when dropping the wet ball with a clear run to the line on 77 minutes.
A handling error also proved costly in Dons’ last throw of the dice after Barrow had been penalised for a foul on Liam Welham – who had replaced the injured Rawsthorne - as Barrow held on.
Dons: Miloudi, Jones, Rawsthorne, Tali, Doherty, Dean, Miller; Spiers, Kesik, Castle, England, Martin, Green. Subs: Welham, Braham, Cross, Thackray.