VIDEO: Doncaster Rovers 2 AFC Wimbledon 1 - Late winner from Tommy Rowe seals valuable victory

A PRICELESS 86TH-minute strike from returning captain Tommy Rowe - 12 minutes after coming on as a substitute - earned three precious points for Rovers.

On an afternoon when three points, however it came, was the prerequisite for Rovers, a scaptain's contribution from Rowe, who netted with a precision low shot - earned the hosts the spoils to get their play-off push back on track and end a worrying seven-match winless sequence in all competitions in the process.

Rovers just about merited the spoils, having hit back on 35 minutes, courtesy of a wonderful curler from Ali Crawford after the managerless Dons took the lead 11 minutes earlier, thanks to a neat opener from Mitchell Pinnock.

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Both sides boasted pretty lamentable form heading into the game and it was perhaps not the biggest surprise that the opening 25 minutes were pretty insipid and uneventful.

Doncaster Rovers' Tommy Rowe, in action against AFC Wimbledon. Picture: Scott Merrylees

It was noteworthy for Malik Wilks's early exit from the fray, with the Leeds United loanee hobbling off gingerly after coming off second-best in a challenge.

Physically imposing and clearly intent upon doing a job, Wimbledon made life dififcult for the hosts and did not let them settle and after being afforded a chance to open up stretched Rovers on 26 minutes, they clinically cashed in.

Good work by Kwesi Appiah, who made life tough for Rovers' stressed backline, found Anthony Wordsworth and he supplied Mitchell Pinnock, who evaded the challenge of Tom Anderson before firing a low drive past the clutches of Ian Lawlor.

Given a poor opening, Rovers could not have too many complaints and things nearly got worse when Tom Soares saw his drive deflected over after Lawlor parried unconvincingly at Lawlor's deep free-kick.

Doncaster Rovers Ali Crawford, in action against AFC Wimbledon. Picture: Scott Merrylees

Firmly in the ascendancy, Wordsworth was next to threaten for the Dons, with his crisp low volley just off target following Pinnock's corner.

But out of nothing, Rovers restored parity with a high-class moment not in keeping with a hitherto forgettable performance.

A quickly-taken free-kick saw Ben Whiteman supply Crawford and with no visiting players around him, the Scot unleashed a peach of a right-wing curler which arrowed straight into the corner - for a strike to behold.

It was a much-needed fillip for Doncaster, although the Dons went close to regaining their lead with Lawlor producing a fine tip-over over to keep out Scott Wagstaff's well-struck twenty-yarder.

Doncaster Rovers' manager Grant McCann.

Play was delayed at the start of the second half due to a drone flying in the vicinity of the stadium, with play resuming at 4.10pm.

There was a bit more of a strut surrounding Rovers at the start of the second period as they made most of the running, but they struggled to prise open the Dons' robust rearguard.

One dangerous moment saw Danny Andrew drill a low angled shot wide from distance, whiile good build-up play ended with John Marquis firing straight at Dons goalkeeper Joe McDonnell.

After a quiet start to the second period, Wimbledon went close to retaking the lead when Wagstaff's shot took a big deflection and looked destined to creep into the net, only for Lawlor to save the day with a scrambling save.

In the main, it was Rovers who looked the more likely and they secured their precious reward, courtesy of Rowe's rasping low drive.

Doncaster Rovers: Lawlor; Mason, T Anderson, Butler, Andrew; Whiteman, Kane, Crawford (Rowe 74); Coppinger (Blair 70), Marquis, Wilks (May 13). Unused substitutes: Marosi, J Anderson, Cummings, Beestin.

AFC Wimbledon: McDonnell; Oshilaja, Nightingale, McDonald, Purrington; Trotter, Soares; Pinnock (Barcham 69), Wordsworth (Jervis 80), Wagstaff; Appiah (Pigott 72). Unused substitutes: King, Thomas, Hartigan, Sibbick.

Referee: A Coggins (Oxon).

Attendance: 7,843 (362 AFC Wimbledon supporters).