DONCASTER Rovers crashed out of their second cup competition in four days as they lost on penalties in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at League One rivals Crewe Alexandra.
After the match finished 1-1 after 90 minutes, Rovers slid out of the competition as Robbie Blake’s missed spot-kick meant the hosts prevailed 5-3 in the shoot-out.
The visitors opened brightly at Gresty Road and former Sheffield United winger David Cotterill drove an early shot inches wide.
Doncaster were then denied by the woodwork as Blake’s crisply-hit free-kick from 25 yards struck the post.
The closing stages of the first half saw Crewe take control, with Bradden Inman forcing a fine save out of Rovers goalkeeper Gary Woods.
The hosts then fired themselves in front deep into first-half stoppage-time when Max Clayton crossed for Mathias Pogba who slid the ball past Woods from 12 yards for his ninth goal of the season.
Rovers responded well immediately after the restart and Chris Brown fired in a powerful shot which veteran goalkeeper Steve Phillips saved instinctively.
Blake was then into the action again as he stretched to reach Liam Wakefield’s cross but could only plant a header wide.
Crewe’s Matt Tootle was sent off after picking up his second booking in the 89th minute, before Rovers dramatically levelled it in stoppage-time as Brown followed in after Phillips could only parry Blake’s shot.
That sent the game straight to the penalty shoot-out, with Crewe holding their nerve to score all five of their penalties.
Crewe: Phillips, Tootle, Davis, Dugdale, Robertson, Osman, Aneke (Turton 76), Inman (Moore 88), Clayton (Colclough 82), Pogba, Dalla Valle. Unused substitutes: Martin, Ellis.
Doncaster: Woods, Husband (Finnigan 54), Martis, Wakefield, Griffin (Quinn 65), Cotterill (Hume 54), Clingan, Meade, Middleton, Brown, Blake. Unused substitutes: Maxted, Ball.
Referee: T Kettle (Notts).
Burnley defender Ben Mee is set for an extended spell on the sidelines after suffering medial knee ligament damage.
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