THERE was something very eerie about the way Doncaster Rovers’ stay in the Championship was ended by a late collapse and an abject official.
Saturday’s rollercoaster ride somehow managed to encapsulate Rovers’ ups and downs over the last four years in one of the most incredible games that the Keepmoat Stadium will ever host.
It was almost like fate was conspiring against Doncaster, who were on the wrong end of a catalogue of mistakes by referee Mike Russell.
Rovers did not lack in spirit and endeavour, as has been the case throughout their Championship years, but they ultimately came up short not only against Pompey but in their battle to beat the drop.
Their terminal problems of letting leads slip and conceding late goals returned to haunt them in the most agonising fashion possible, although the performance of Russell did little to quell John Ryan’s long-running inferiority complex about officials favouring the bigger teams.
The end result was hard to take for everyone of a Rovers persuasion - although not totally unexpected.
And while Saturday afternoon bordered on the surreal, the reality of the situation is now starting to sink in.
The sooner Doncaster Rovers come to terms with that reality - and start work on a much-needed Rovers revolution - the better chance they will have of bouncing back at the first attempt.
*Read Paul Goodwin’s full Rovers verdict in the Free Press on Thursday.