ON THIS DAY: 2003: Doncaster Rovers return to League with Tierney golden goal - PICTURES

As Doncaster Rovers supporters come to terms with the club's relegation to League Two, 13 years ago today it was a very different story as the rebirth of the club began in the most dramatic fashion possible.

Tuesday, 10th May 2016, 1:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2016, 2:00 pm
Doncaster Rovers celebrate their return to the Football League.

It was on May 10, 2003 that a goal was scored that would go down in club folklore and become the first step in a golden era for a club that had lost its Football League status in depressing scenes five years previously.

As the club tumbled into non-league obscurity at the end of the 1997-98 season under the Ken Richardson regime, many fans feared the club they loved was about to bite the dust.

"Sir" Francis Tierney celebrates his momentous golden goal.

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But on that afternoon at Stoke’s Britannia Stadium, where the final of the 2003 Football Conference Play-Off Final was being contested, Francis Tierney was on hand to score perhaps the most important goal in Rovers history.

It was the fitting finale to a thrilling game against Dagenham and Redbridge, both sides having secured their place after emerging through the end of season play-offs.

The inaugural final attracted a crowd of more than 13,000 to Staffordshire and Doncaster showed their credentials as favourites by going in 1-0 up at the break, courtesy of a strike from Paul Green.

When Dave Morley added a second, 15 minutes after the restart, supporters were preparing to party - but, Rovers being Rovers, Dagenham fought back in fine style, goals from Mark Stein and Tarkan Mustafa levelling the tie at 2-2 and forcing the game to extra time and the lottery of the golden goal. Whoever scored first would win the match and earn their club promotion back to the Football League.

Rovers fans start the party on the pitch at the Britannia Stadium.

Cometh the 110th minute, cometh “Sir” Francis, latching onto a cross from Paul Barnes on the left and slotting home to spark wild scenes, pitch invasions, parties that carried on long into the night and all the way back to Doncaster and setting up a remarkable period of success for Rovers over the coming years.

Overjoyed supporters celebrate the club's return.
Paul Green races away in delight after scoring the opening goal.
The magical moment - Francis Tierney scores the golden goal.
Francis Tierney will forever be a Doncaster Rovers legend.
"Sir" Francis Tierney celebrates his momentous golden goal.
Rovers fans start the party on the pitch at the Britannia Stadium.
Overjoyed supporters celebrate the club's return.
Paul Green races away in delight after scoring the opening goal.
The magical moment - Francis Tierney scores the golden goal.
Francis Tierney will forever be a Doncaster Rovers legend.