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Gary McSheffrey lauds Doncaster spirit but would rather avoid more late drama

Doncaster manager Gary McSheffrey saw his side fight back from 2-0 down for a draw (Richard Sellers/PA)
Doncaster manager Gary McSheffrey saw his side fight back from 2-0 down for a draw (Richard Sellers/PA)

Doncaster boss Gary McSheffrey praised his side for showing their fighting spirit for the second week running in salvaging a point at AFC Wimbledon, but rued having to do things the hard way once again.

One week after two stoppage-time goals turned defeat against Sutton into victory, Rovers struck twice in the closing stages at Plough Lane to earn a 2-2 draw and maintain their unbeaten start to their league campaign.

This time it was Ro-Shaun Williams who was their hero as the centre-back headed in the first goal of his career four minutes into added time to cap a comeback started by Tommy Rowe.

It was deja vu for Wimbledon, who also surrendered a two-goal lead at home to Doncaster last season and they will be fuming they allowed history to repeat itself after Nathan Young-Coombes’ double made victory appear certain.

McSheffrey, who enjoyed a happy ending to his 40th birthday, said: “It’s a good sign in terms of the spirit of the team, their never-say-die attitude, but it would be nice to go ahead and control a game a bit better.

“I thought for long periods in the first half we controlled the game and they were always a threat on the counter – they’ve got some exceptional dribblers of the ball.

“In the second half we rode our luck a bit and they probably deserved to go ahead because they had been knocking on the door and their fans were getting behind them.

“But then to be two down was a little bit ‘how did that happen?’

“It was a sloppy five to 10-minute period, but then to come back was obviously great again.

“We’ve scored a couple of really good goals, we’ve had an opportunity at the end to win the game and we’ve had two or three opportunities second half as well.”

Lee Tomlin came closest to opening the scoring in a tight first half when his superb free-kick drew a good save out of Wimbledon goalkeeper Nik Tzanev and Rowe should have put Doncaster ahead after 55 minutes when he headed wide at the far post.

The Dons had a Josh Davison ‘goal’ chalked off for a foul just after the hour mark, but they were celebrating for real in the 76th minute when Young-Coombes bundled the ball over the line after Davison’s header struck a post.

It then appeared to be game over with six minutes left when the 19-year-old Brentford loanee was in the right place to turn home Ayoub Assal’s cross.

However, Doncaster quickly put the match back in the balance when Rowe, who struck both goals in this fixture in February, hit a cracker from just outside the box and the comeback was complete with almost the last kick when Williams was on hand to score from after Adam Clayton’s corner.

Wimbledon boss Johnnie Jackson will have been aware of how often the Dons let leads slip during the 27-match winless run that condemned them to relegation last season.

He was unsure if this played a part in his side’s late collapse, saying: “What I would say is the last five minutes was poor and a little bit of anxiety kicked in there.

“That can happen, but I expect us to be a little bit calmer in them moments where we weren’t and just be smarter in our football.

“We had opportunities to keep the ball one side, keep it in the corners, which we didn’t do.

“We opened the pitch up and they had four strikers at the end and we allowed them to play the long balls up, and you open yourselves up to the randomness of football, where you can lose a header and where does the ball drop, and then set-pieces.

“In thought we could have been smarter with how we kept the ball away from our goal and obviously we’ll have to work on that.”