Head Coach Richard Hill admitted he had sympathy for Doncaster after his Worcester Warriors snatched an injury time victory over the Knights in the RFU Championship at Sixways.
Warriors stormed to a 17-0 lead on home soil before the visitors clawed their way back in a topsy-turvy encounter.
The Knights thought they had claimed a big scalp until a penalty from fly half Andy Goode – with the last kick of the game – handed the hosts a narrow 30-28 victory.
Hill was relieved to see his team take maximum points from the fixture but admitted his team must avoid a repeat performance after a disappointing final hour.
He said: “The first 20 minutes were outstanding, we looked on fire and scored a couple of lovely tries and it looked like it was going to be a reasonably comfortable afternoon.
“However, the last 60 minutes were disappointing, but all credit to Doncaster, because their forwards got into the game, made life difficult and put our scrum under pressure.
“We conceded too many penalties at the scrum and they worked their way back into the game with some good forward play.
“At the end we had to play a get out of jail card with a penalty right at the last. Although we were poor for the last 60 minutes, the final play of the game was bold when the forwards elected to go to the back of the line-out.
“Instead of going to the front and taking the safe option, they had the guts to go for the more difficult off-the-top ball at the back into midfield and had a go at trying to score a try.
“For that reason, we got the penalty through their bravery in taking that decision at the line-out. Bizarrely, we came out of the game with a bonus-point victory, but I feel a little sorry for Doncasteras they would have felt they could have got more out of the game.
“I thought the game had gone when Doncasterslotted their late penalty because they could then run the clock down and keep the ball tight,” he added.
“I thought that was it, but the conceded a penalty at the break-down, which they will be annoyed about, and we kicked to the corner and then scored the try.
“They only had to keep the ball for another 30 seconds and then kick the ball off the field to win the game. Although I am the eternal optimist, there wasn't a lot of optimism in me with about 30 seconds to go.
“We have won, though, and that 30 seconds at the end made the evening more pleasurable than it would have been otherwise.”
Miles Benjamin and Neil Best had grabbed early tries to put Worcesteron the front foot but Hill admitted his Warriors had started to try and play too freely and allowed the Knights back into the game.
“At 17-0 we had controlled the ball, kept possession and not done anything too fancy. But, after that, it was as if the players thought it would be a rout and they started to throw the ball around and made too many errors,” he said.
“I just felt that on the day Doncasterlooked a bit hungrier than we did which is a disappointment. They were much sharper on the loose ball and they were cleaning up the 50-50s – they really wanted it.
“It is almost as though we are waiting to come across those bigger teams before raising our game, but we'll come unstuck if we're not careful against these mid-table or below teams – which Doncasterare.
“There is a little bit of our attitude that needs to be sorted out, but the other thing is that I'm not keeping a regular selection. I'm chopping and changing to try and keep everyone fresh in this first 11 games, which is a slight gamble, but we're getting away with that at the moment.
“Other teams in this league have probably not got the strength in depth we have, so are putting the same team out each week and getting into more of a rhythm. That does put us under a little bit of extra pressure for these first few games, so a bit of patience is required.
“It's not as though we've got the same eight forwards on the scrummage machine every week – we keep changing props and locks – and that is bound to put us at a slight disadvantage.”