The story of how Doncaster Rovers fell to a late defeat at Crewe Alexandra

Doncaster Rovers fell to a late defeat at Crewe Alexandra as an injury-time goal sealed a 3-2 win for the hosts.
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Rovers had taken the lead at Gresty Road thanks to Mo Faal’s first-half goal and hurled themselves level in the second period through Joe Ironside.

But Connor O’Riordan struck in the 92nd minute to send them back to South Yorkshire empty-handed.

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Crewe had averaged more than two goals per game in their opening 17 matches and were straight on the attack.

Mo Faal celebrates his goal.Mo Faal celebrates his goal.
Mo Faal celebrates his goal.

With just two minutes gone, Jack Senior produced a goal-saving block inside the box after a neat one-two released Courtney Baker-Richardson.

Doncaster had to soak up some early pressure before they began to find their feet.

Once they did, a goalscoring chance quickly arrived.

James Maxwell made a brilliant late run to connect with Zain Westbrooke's cross into the six-yard area, but couldn't keep his effort on target and headed over.

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Undeterred, Doncaster continued to probe and got their breakthrough after 15 minutes.

Maxwell played the ball inside into the path of Ironside, who had the freedom to turn and find Faal in space on the edge of the area.

Faal made no mistake as he fired past Crewe keeper Harvey Davies for his seventh goal of the season, with West Brom's loan manager Chris Brunt watching on.

Crewe went straight forward from the restart and Louis Jones was called into action three times in quick succession.

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The momentum had swung back towards the hosts and they made their pressure count just shy of the half-hour mark when centre-half and captain Luke Offord brought them level.

Another one-two caught Doncaster cold and sent Offord through one-on-one, with Crewe's captain slotting the ball through Jones' legs.

Rovers had given a good account of themselves until that point, but looked stunned and lived dangerously for a few minutes.

They looked to have survived until O'Riordan fired past Jones from close range on the stroke of half time after the visitors failed to clear a throw-in.

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Doncaster were out early for the second half and started on the front foot, with their pressure continuing until Ironside pulled them level after 57 minutes.

Ironside headed a superb cross from Maxwell into the top corner for his tenth goal of the season.

That triggered a response from Crewe, who had looked passive following the restart.

But the home fans grew restless as their side continued to struggle to replicate their first-half display.

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Baker-Richardson wasted a brilliant chance to score when he was picked out unmarked inside the box, but his shot was deflected wide.

Tommy Rowe then smacked the stanchion with a wicked strike at the other end moments after coming on before Tom Nixon fired just wide after a driving run.

With the game drawing to a close, O'Riordan stole the spoils after poking the ball home from a near-post cross.

It was a cruel blow for Doncaster, who again competed with one of the division's best teams but found themselves on the wrong end of the result.

Rovers have shown they can mix it with the best teams in the division.

But, at the moment, it appears they are just shy of the standard required for a promotion push.

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