THE Dons came down to earth with a bump after their early season results had put them joint top of the table.
Tony Miller’s men slid to their first defeat in disappointing fashion against a side they had beaten away from home in the Northern Rail Cup only five weeks ago.
Injuries to several key players, and the suspension of influential forward Kyle Kesik did not help - nor did the sending off of big prop Jamie Bovill in the second half.
But Bovill could have no complaints about the red card for dangerously leading with his elbow while he was running with the ball and about to be tackled.
It was just a lacklustre showing by the Dons which came as a surprise following the intensity they produced in their last home win over Workington.
They scored first with a 5th minute try from on loan Chris Green, who impressed again, but they could count themselves fortunate to be in front as the attack minded Hornets looked far livelier.
Rochdale forged 16-4 ahead by the interval with tries from Andy Saywell (2) and Wayne McHugh and two conversions from Liam McGovern.
Doncaster contributed to their own downfall with some unusually poor defending and they took the wrong option far too many times which led to them giving the ball away and gifting Rochdale a lion’s share of possession.
Dan Ekis, with a try, and McGovern with a conversion and drop goal put Hornets 23-4 ahead before Bovill was sent off in the 68th minute.
Green grabbed another opportunist try late in the game but it was too little too late for the Dons and McGovern had the last word with another drop goal in injury time.