DONCASTER Rovers suffered second-half misery at the hands of promotion contenders Milton Keynes Dons.
But it has to be said Rovers were on the back foot for most of the match.
Dean Bowditch fortuitously broke the deadlock for the hosts in the second period before Carl Baker bagged a seven-minute brace to secure maximum points.
It was effectively a ‘dead rubber’ for Doncaster, safely in mid-table and neither involved in a play-off push nor a relegation battle.
The home side, in contrast, are still very much in the hunt for automatic promotion, and they did their quest for Championship football no harm whatsoever.
They started with all the intent of a promotion-pushing side.
Dangerous youngster Dele Alli caused plenty of problems and went close a number of times early on.
Dean Lewington found the back of the net midway through the first period after Samir Carruther’s free-kick was saved superbly by Stephen Bywater, but the Dons captain was adjudged offside.
Rovers came out rejuvenated after the break and went close through Dean Furman and Kyle Bennett.
Bowditch then opened the scoring in bizarre fashion.
Mitchell Lund’s attempted headed clearance struck the former Ipswich man and looped over the helpless Bywater.
Baker notched his first of the evening 11 minutes later, meandering on a mazy run through Rovers’ back line before lifting past Bywater to double the hosts’ advantage.
The 32-year-old added his second shortly afterwards, striking low across goal to clinch his ninth of the season.
Milton Keynes Dons: Martin, Lewington, McFadzean, Kay, Spence, L. Baker (Bowditch, 65), Hall (C. Baker, 57), Carruthers (Powell, 86), Potter, Alli, Grigg. Unused substitutes: Hodson, Green, Cole, Burns.
Doncaster: Bywater, Lund, Jones, Butler, Evina, McCullough (Clarke-Harris, 69), Wellens, Furman, Bennett, Tyson (Main, 69), Forrester (Whitehouse, 82). Unused substitutes: Marosi, Stevens, Wabara, Middleton.
Referee: Roger East.
Preston remain in pole position to join champions Bristol City in the Championship, staying a point ahead of the Dons after a 3-1 win at Notts County.
Rochdale’s 1-0 win over Leyton Orient means Sheffield United must wait for confirmation of their place in the play-offs.
Happily for Blades’ fans, the club’s fate still rests in their own hands – or rather feet.