Doncaster 28 Barrow Raiders 24 - VIDEO

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THE Dons demonstrated superb resiliency to lead table topping Barrow throughout a thrilling game of rugby league.

Doncaster attacked with great ferocity but the Cumbrian side piled on the pressure at times as they attempted to peg the hosts back.

WATER PERFORMANCE: Lee Waterman (middle) celebrates one of his two tries in the Dons' vital and thrilling win over Barrow with Craig Robinson (left) and Stuart Sanderson (right). Picture: Andrew Roe.

WATER PERFORMANCE: Lee Waterman (middle) celebrates one of his two tries in the Dons' vital and thrilling win over Barrow with Craig Robinson (left) and Stuart Sanderson (right). Picture: Andrew Roe.

But brilliant defensive effort and some intelligent possession play ensured the Dons picked up a massive victory in the battle for top spot in Championship One.

The Dons found themselves under pressure from the opening kick but responded superbly and opened the scoring on six minutes.

Craig Fawcett’s high cross-field kick was collected superbly by Lee Waterman who powered over the line in the corner.

Doncaster’s tempo and effort levels were huge in the early stages, powering through an organised Barrow defence while putting in the hard yards in defence.

The high intensity approach had the high-flying visitors rattled and the Dons were on the scoresheet soon after with Mark Castle carrying three defenders over the line to score, Waterman converting.

The game settled around the midway point of the half and Barrow enjoyed more success in the opposition half.

They got off the mark on 25 minutes after the Dons were harshly punished for a high tackle five metres out and Barrow moved the ball well with James Nixon diving over in the corner.

The Dons surrendered the lead in unfortunate fashion.

Dean Colton failed to collect Scott Kaighan’s big kick, Nixon chased the ball down and Liam Campbell collected the dribble to go over, Ryan Shaw converting to level the scores with eight minutes of the half to go.

But the Dons responded in great fashion and re-took the lead before the break.

A fantastic turn of pace from Craig Fawcett saw him dart past a crowd of defenders before laying off to Mike Emmett who went over, Waterman converting.

The last action of the half saw Ryan Shaw successfully kick a penalty reduced the Dons’ lead to 16-12.

It was a great start to the second half for the Dons who extended their lead inside the first two minutes with Waterman squeezing through in the corner.

Barrow roared back with an excellent individual try from Shaw.

He picked up the ball around the half way line and surged down the wing, his light feet carrying him past several tackle attempts to charge over in the corner before converting his own score.

The visitors piled on the pressure, camping inside the Dons’ half but the hosts held up really well.

And they eased the pressure with a score of their own on 55 minutes, Paul Cooke showing superb skills before finding Mike Kelly who went over.

A fantastic breakaway try gave the Dons a ten point margin going into the final quarter of the game.

Russ Spiers broke superbly on half way and fed Fawcett who sprinting at full pelt on a mazy run which saw him find the gap to go over.

Fortune favoured the visitors and ensured a tense final 15 minutes for the Dons.

A big kick took an incredibly fortunate bounce for Barrow, sending the ball straight into Mike Backhouse’s arms and giving him a clear run to the line.

Shaw converted to leave just four points in it.

The Dons’ Alex Rowe and Andy Bracek of Barrow were both yellow carded for an off the ball incident with 12 minutes to go.

Carl Hughes was denied a try with a controversial decision from referee Leahy who pulled play back after he crossed the line while Barrow saw their own score ruled out with five minutes to go.

The Dons defended superbly and played some real intelligent stuff when they got possession back, seeing out the game for a memorable win.

Dons: Butterfield, Colton, Spurr, Waterman, Sanderson, Cooke, Fawcett, Castle, Kesik, Spiers, Robinson, Kelly, Emmett.

Subs: Welsh, Rowe, Hughes, Powley.

Barrow: Ballard, Backhouse, Larkin, Shaw, Nixon, Kaighan, Campbell, Bracek, Danby, Brennan, Harrison, Gordon, Toal.

Subs: Finch, Ostler, Duffy, Dawson.

Att: 997