George Miller and Kieran Agard both scored in injury time to cancel out Donovan Wilson’s first-half opener and get Rovers’ home campaign off to a winning start in front of 5,720 fans at the Eco-Power Stadium.
But the Doncaster boss felt a box-office finish papered over the cracks of a below-par display.
McSheffrey said: “I felt it wasn’t going to be our day, they were managing the game really well.
"They were time-wasting quite effectively. We were huffing and puffing but didn’t really have the answers.
"We weren’t good enough today, but they were a difficult team to play against. We felt like we prepped quite well for them but they still shocked us a bit with how good they are at playing their game.”
Sutton dominated the physical battle in the opening 45 minutes and could count themselves unlucky not to have scored more goals before the interval, with Jonathan Mitchell saving well from Wilson and Omar Bugiel.
McSheffrey added: “We rode our luck. They missed a couple of sitters in the first half and I was happy to go in one down.
“To leave it that late, I’m just delighted with the lads’ resilience and the never-say-die attitude. We lost a few here 1-0 last year and we didn't really look like getting back into it.
“George Miller has not had a great game today but he’s got us the equaliser in the 92nd minute and then spun in behind again in the 94th minute to chest one off to Kieran.
"It was a great, calm finish from him.”
McSheffrey revealed he gave his players a few ‘home truths’ in the dressing room at half time after a poor start to the game.
They improved after the break but opportunities to score remained in short supply until injury time.
McSheffrey added: “As it was getting on and on, could I see us getting the clear-cut chances? Not really, but we did thankfully and the winning momentum was there.
"We knew what they were about but they were even better at their game than what we knew about.
“It took us a half and a tweak in shape and personnel to get to grips with them.”