Richie Wellens admitted that he is probably heading for an early grave after watching his Doncaster team belatedly register their first Sky Bet League One win of the season.
Rovers saw off Morecambe 1-0 thanks to Tommy Rowe’s 81st-minute header – the left back’s second goal in as many games.
But it was not plain sailing for the hosts, who survived a penalty shout that both managers admitted should have been awarded when Pontus Dahlberg grappled Greg Leigh to the ground.
The Swedish keeper then went on to deny Cole Stockton in the sixth minute of stoppage time with a brilliant reflex save.
A relieved Wellens said afterwards: “Managing a football club is a stressful job and I work as hard as any manager in the country. My family have to deal with that so this win is for them, the players and our supporters.
“I’m going bald, I’ve got a patchy beard and I’ll probably die young or have a heart attack before my time, but I do this so the players and supporters get their rewards and they have done from this game. The result was exactly what we needed.
“We banked them in at times, but this game was more about our young team getting the basics right and we won the match by scoring from a set-play, defending our box well and our keeper making good saves. After we scored, we tried to protect the lead and our wingers dropped deeper.
“We didn’t want to do that, but it’s human nature and we needed Pontus to make a top save, which you expect from him because he’s a top-class keeper. They probably should have had a penalty and our analyst has said it should have been, but we deserve that bit of luck, because we’ve had horrendous luck so far this season.”
Morecambe manager Stephen Robinson reasoned that the decision not to give a penalty against Dahlberg for an offence that could have been deemed worthy of a red card too proved the game’s turning point.
But he also blamed his side’s set-piece vulnerability for losing the match, saying: “I would have been very disappointed with a 0-0 draw, never mind a loss, but we have conceded from another set-play and, if we don’t start defending them properly, we will be in a relegation battle.
“You can blame referees and it was a rugby tackle on Greg and should have seen them go down to 10 men, but we can’t control referees’ performances – you can only hope somebody will have a look at it.
“What we can control is taking responsibility at set-pieces. You need men who will go and head the ball and, then, your man does not score.
“That’s not down to coaching or organisation, it’s down to desire. If we take set-plays away, then we’re a match for anybody in this division.”
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