Doncaster RLFC produced an outstanding defensive display to beat fancied Workington Town 20-10 in a cracking Betfred League One clash at the Keepmoat Stadium.
They also scored two long-range tries as they avenged their defeat in last season’s play-off semi-final.
The Dons led throughout and were good value for their second win in three against sides expected to be challenging for the automatic promotion spot come September.
Key was the Dons avoiding getting sucked into a forward battle – though they more than held their own against the experienced Town pack – and looked to play an expansive game despite the wet conditions.
The Dons went close to opening the scoring, following an even start, when prop Brandon Douglas was held up over the line.
But there was no stopping dual-registered full-back Hakim Miloudi. The French international burst through several attempted tackles inside his own half and then left the cover for dead when touching down near enough for Matty Beharrell to convert.
Prop Connor Scott hit the line at pace 10 metres out but was unable to ground the ball due to weight of numbers.
It only proved a stay of execution for Town, however, as Miloudi forced his way over from acting half-back after centre Connor Bower had been held short.
Richard Horne’s men had to pull out all the stops in defence during a spell of sustained pressure on their line during which time Town were inches short of a try on several occasions.
Town continued to camp in the Doncaster 20 only to be denied by more superb defence until the dying seconds of the half when centre Elliot Miller touched down in the corner for a try converted by Carl Forber make it 12-6 which probably reflected the exchanges.
With the try having changed the dynamics of the respective interval team talks, it was important for the Dons that they scored first after the break.
They went close to doing just that on 46 minutes when Bower, who picked up a knock for his trouble, just failed to get on the end of an astute grubber-kick by Beharrell over the line.
The Dons were reduced to 12 men on 54 minutes after second-rower Ryan Dixon was sin-binned for a high tackle.
Town looked likely to cash in on their numerical advantage when moving the ball to their left in dangerous fashion only for stand-off Kieran Cross to intercept and leave the cover for dead in a thrilling 90m run down the touchline to score in the corner.
Even though Beharrell’s conversion left the Cumbrians needing to score at least three times to win there was no room for complacency in the Doncaster ranks given Town’s fire-power.
Town pulled one back on 67 minutes when Mellor bumped off Jason Tali to score an unconverted try.
But despite further chances at both ends, the only addition to the scoring was a last-minute penalty by Beharrell.
Dons: Miloudi, Chrimes, Bower, Tali, Doherty, Cross, Beharrell; Boyle, Kesik, Douglas, Langtree, Dixon, Nzoungou. Subs: Scott, Hedges, Spiers, Ogden.