THE Knights left it late to snatch victory over Yorkshire rivals Leeds Carnegie in the British and Irish Cup.
After going into the break behind, the Knights controlled the second half and shut out struggling Carnegie before a late converted penalty try saw them seal their first win in the competition this season.
Cold and damp conditions made for a difficult evening for both sides at Castle Park with handling errors prevalent for both sides.
Leeds took the lead on five minutes with a penalty from Tom Barrett after the Knights were penalised for holding.
Doncaster were punished for a lack of concentration six minutes later when Dan White popped a pass to Steve Costello on the blind side for him to dive over in the corner from two yards out.
The Knights embarked on a sustained period of pressure close to the Leeds line and were rewarded on 17 minutes when Andy Boyde squeezed over with Whitehead adding the conversion to bring the Knights within a point of the visitors.
But Alex Rieder re-established the gap five minutes later after a breakaway put the Knights on the back foot.
Leeds received the turnover and surged forward with Rieder breaking a tackle to go over, Barrett adding the conversion.
Mistakes characterised the middle period of the half but the Knights broke the poor passage with a fine individual try.
While all in the stands screamed for Michael Noone to make the obvious pass to a free Ben Toft, the No 8 ignored the cries to power over, Whitehead converting.
It looked as though the margin at the break would be a single point until Doncaster disorganisation was punished by Barrett.
He received a pass and spotted a gap to race in 40 metres and touch down in the corner with 20 seconds of the half to go.
To compound Doncaster’s woes, Barrett then added the conversion with the referee blowing the whistle shortly after play was restarted.
The Knights were on the front foot from the off in the second half but strong Leeds defending kept them out for 17 minutes. Whitehead cut the gap as he landed a penalty after Leeds were penalised for going in at the side.
It appeared as though the Knights would be frustrated as their endeavours went unrewarded but they had a major helping hand from an undisciplined Carnegie outfit.
Leeds were caught offside repeatedly with skipper Phil Nilsen receiving a long lecture from referee John Meredith.
But the warning was not taken on board and Richard Rhodes was yellow carded following another infringement.
The Knights piled on the pressure and were camped within five metres of the line.
Andy Brown looked to have grabbed a try but Meredith ruled the ball had been held up, taking play back for a scrum on five metres.
A stand off followed with Leeds repeatedly making infringements which led to Mark Tampin becoming their second play to go in the sin bin.
Desperation led to further infringements from Leeds and Meredith had seen enough, pointing for a penalty try to the Knights to level the scores.
Whitehead drilled over the conversion to put his side ahead with 30 seconds of normal time to go.
The Knights held on comfortably during added time to seal the 24-22 win.
Knights: Bateman, Toft, Goss, Makaafi, Broadley, Whitehead, Audis, Brown, Thompson, Burke-Flynn, Cooke, Kenworthy, Boyde, Bradford, Noone.
Replacements: Corsar, Yeandle, Parsons, Farivarz, Hallam, Keating, Davey.
Leeds: Latus, Webber, Tincknell, Quarendon, Lucock, Barrett, White, Lockwood, Nilsen, Young, Hemingway, Morris, Hannan, Rieder, Costello.
Replacements: Mustapha, Tampin, Rhodes, Heaton, Hampson, Barrow.