A dreadful week for Leeds United ended in another defeat, piling the pressure on the club and manager Brian McDermott.
United’s players - currently caught in a wage dispute at Elland Road - were outplayed by Doncaster Rovers and lost 2-1 in front of depressed home crowd.
With financial problems growing at Leeds and the fight by Italian businessman Massimo Cellino to buy United on-going, the squad failed to receive full pay for March on time on Friday morning.
Leeds reached a deal to fund 50 per cent of their wages immediately and pay the rest after Cellino’s appeal against the Football League’s decision to reject his takeover is heard in London on Monday.
But first-half goals from David Cotterill and Billy Sharp subjected them to another painful afternoon, despite Ross McCormack pulling a goal back amid a concerted fightback from Leeds after the break.
The first half was a dismal affair in which Leeds locked themselves into long-ball mode and created little of note.
Luke Murphy’s deflected shot on 20 minutes - carried wide of a post by a flick off Ross McCormack - was the first chance either side fashioned but Doncaster struck three minutes later with a fine finish from David Cotterill.
The midfielder was left completely unmarked as his corner was returned to him by Richie Wellens and he found the top corner from an angle with a sweet strike.
McCormack drove a free-kick into the wall as Leeds tried to respond and a Cameron Stewart shot from 20 yards dipped over the crossbar. Matt Smith then scuffed a half-chance at Sam Johnstone in Rovers’ goal after Sam Byram and Alex Mowatt sliced open the visitors up.
But Doncaster struck again in injury-time when Byram failed to deal with a high ball on the edge of his box and Sharp broke away from him before turning a low effort past Jack Butland.
McDermott threw on Michael Tonge and Aidan White at the start of the second half and Leeds began to show some fight.
James Husband survived a penalty appeal after Byram’s cross appeared to hit his hands but McCormack pulled a goal back on 62 minutes when Smith rose to nod a free-kick into his path, leaving the Scot to head the ball home.
United pressed relentlessly after that and Johnstone was slightly fortunate to avoid a red card when he raced out of his box and fouled McCormack with Doncaster on the back foot. Referee Darren Bond showed him a yellow and, with men behind the ball, Rovers held on.
Leeds United: Butland, Byram, Lees, Pearce, Pugh, Mowatt, Austin (White 46), Murphy (Tonge 46), Stewart, McCormack, Smith. Subs (not used): Cairns, Wootton, Poleon, Hunt, Warnock.
Doncaster Rovers: Johnstone, Quinn, Husband, Neill, Meite, Cotterill, Wellens (Furman 71), Keegan, Coppinger, Sharp (Robinson 83), Brown. Subs (not used): Turnbull, Duffy, McCullough, De Val, Stevens.