Doncaster Rovers 1, Shrewsbury 2: Injury-time goal condemns hosts to defeat after goalkeeper is forced off with injury
It was a day that started with unfounded rumours over the future of their manager and ended with the hammerblow of a defeat.
Doncaster Rovers conceded an injury time Arthur Gnahoua goal to slip to gut-wrenching loss to League One leaders Shrewsbury Town.
Defensive frailty cost them dearly on two occasions with substitute Gnahoua allowed to stroll across the pitch and slot home all too easily. Earlier, Shrewsbury full back Joe Riley was afforded far too much space to slam in from the corner of the box, mere seconds after Tommy Rowe had put Rovers ahead.
Much then for Darren Ferguson to ponder on a Tuesday which started in unexpected fashion.
There was speculation Ferguson would be off to Oldham Athletic after bizarre betting market movement saw him start Tuesday as odds-on favourite for the managerial vacancy.
It was speculation flatly denied by Ferguson in the aftermath of what was good performance that looked set to deliver a solid point against the EFL’s last remaining unbeaten outfit. Building on two confidence-boosting road trips, Rovers delivered a good attacking performance to truly threaten the unbeaten status of their high-flying visitors.
With the pressure they mounted in the second half in particularly, they will feel somewhat hard done by that they did not win the game.
In the end, they were left with nothing.
What will certainly concern some is the fact Rovers are still yet to win on home soil in the league this term.
That could have been all so different but for a costly defensive lapse mere seconds after Rowe had rifled Rovers ahead which allowed Riley to equalise. And then another, when Gnahoua was given a clear run across the box deep into added time.
Ferguson made a solitary change, rewarding Rodney Kongolo for his excellent performance off the bench against Plymouth with a place in the starting XI, at the expense on Ben Whiteman.
Rovers really should have been ahead on 15 minutes following a wonderfully swift counterattack. James Coppinger met Joe Wright’s smart clearance with a first time cross and Rowe played a one-two with John Marquis before scuffing well wide when he only needed to tap in.
The game ebbed back and force with each side enjoying pressure. Shrewsbury showed the qualities which have taken them to the top of the table with excellent movement off the ball seeing them attack with pace and numbers.
But it was Rovers who took the lead on 35 minutes. Alfie May dummied Kongolo’s fine cross and Marquis laid off to Rowe who smashed in low from 20 yards. But the lead would not last for long. Less than a minute to be precise.
After a week in which their concentration levels had been rightly praised following excellent defensive performances at both Arsenal and Plymouth, Rovers were caught napping.
Shrewsbury surged up the pitch from the kick off, full back Riley picked up the ball in space on the right and drilled a superb effort home from the corner of the box.
Rovers applied the most pressure in the second half though struggled to truly test Dean Henderson.
May produced the best effort, turning smartly onto a Rowe backheel only to see his powerful drive palmed away by the Shrewsbury keeper.
The Shrews were less energetic on the ball and seemed content to take the draw which seemed incredibly likely.
Rovers suffered a late blow when Lawlor was forced off injured with Marko Marosi coming off the bench.
But the worst was still to come. Substitute Gnahoua picked up the ball on the right and, under no pressure, cut inside before slotted low and tamely into the bottom corner.