THERE was no pot of gold for Doncaster Rovers at the end of the rainbow which hung over the Keepmoat Stadium prior to last night’s League One clash against Bury, but there were three welcome points at the end of the game.
Rovers were made to work harder than in their opening game at the Banks’s Stadium on Saturday in a match which underlined that promotion back to the Championship will not be a formality.
Not surprisingly, Rovers boss Dean Saunders stuck by the starting eleven on duty in the 3-0 win at Walsall.
The only change was on the bench where veteran keeper Neil Sullivan, who missed all the pre-season campaign and the opening two competitive games with hand and thigh injuries, replaced youngster Jon Maxted.
But with Shelton Martis still on the comeback trail and Paul Keegan failing a fitness test on the hip injury which kept him out of Saturday’s game, Saunders could again only field five players on his bench.
Rovers had four players, Billy Paynter, Paul Quinn, Jamie McCombe and James Harper, making their competitive home debut for the club.
Bury, who showed one change from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home to Brentford, included former Rovers’ favourite Adam Lockwood, who received a good reception from home fans.
Bury made a bright start and took the lead on four minutes.
Lockwood got on the end of skipper Steven Schumacher’s corner at the near post and his goalbound header was helped over the line by defender Joe Skarz.
It wasn’t the start that they had been hoping for, but Rovers hit back in determined fashion and Bury keeper Trevor Carson did well to beat Paynter to Tommy Spurr’s left-winger cross at the far post.
Striker Chris Brown, looking to score in a third successive game, had a goalbound shot blocked for a corner on seven minutes.
Brown went close with a powerful header, which just cleared the crossbar, a couple of minutes later.
The visitors were forced to make a change shortly after, the limping David Worrall being replaced by Craig Jones.
Rovers continued to try and force the pace in their search for an equaliser but they struggled at times to stamp their authority on the game against a hard-working Gigg Lane outfit.
Bennett brought out the best in Carson on 29 minutes after he had latched on to a poor corner just outside his own box and he raced clear before linking with David Syers.
Rovers drew level on 35 minutes when former Bury star Bennett ran on to a ball by Brown and got the better of a couple of defenders for pace in the box before drilling his eight-yard shot by Carson.
There was a let-off for Bury soon after when a goalbound 20 yarder by Paynter took a deflection for a corner.
Gary Woods was relieved to see the ball scrambled clear after he had failed to hold on to an in swinging 25 yard free-kick.
Brown was high with a diving header from Spurr’s cross. Bury striker Andy Bishop shot over with an angled effort in stoppage time after cutting in from the left.
Defender Andrai Jones took the ball off the end of Brown’s boot on the edge of the area just as he was about to pull the trigger four minutes after the restart.
Paynter shot just wide with a long-range effort on 53 minutes.
It had been mainly Rovers this half and Spurr headed over at the far post following a move initiated by Cotterill’s cross into the box.
Andrai Jones again denied Brown, at the expense of a corner, after Bennett had picked him out with a precision through ball in the box.
The Shakers made a second substitution on 64 minutes, this time tactical, with Lennell John-Lewis replacing Bishop.
Bury were reduced to 10 men on 69 minutes when skipper Schumacher appeared to bad mouth the referee after being booked for a foul.
Caretaker boss Peter Shirliff immediately brought on Marcus Marshall for Cullen.
John-Lewis got a 20-yard plus shot on goal but Woods had it covered all the way.
It needed a finger-tip save by Carson to thwart Syers rising shot on the turn in the 77th minute.
Rovers made their first change, Harper replacing Martin Woods.
Just when it was begining to look like Rovers would have to settle for a point, Brown produced a clinical finish to edge them into a 2-1 lead
Rovers: G Woods 6 Quinn 6 R Jones 6 McCombe 6 Spurr 7 Cotterill 6 M Woods *6 Syers 6 Bennett 8 Brown ** 8 Paynter 7 Substitutes Sullivan Blake Harper *77 Husband Coppinger **85
Bury: Carson 7 A Jones 6 Lockwood 6 Hughes 6 Skarz 6 Worrall *5 Sweeney 6 Schumacher 6 Carrington 6 Bishop **6 Cullen ***6 Substitutes Picken C Jones * 6 16 John-Lewis ** 64 Elford-Alliyu Marshall **69 Harrop Dibble.
Referee: Chris Sarginson (Staffs).
Goals: Rovers: Bennett (35), Brown (84)
Bury: Skarz (4)
Sent-off Schumacher (Bury)