Eddie Howe tasted defeat for the first time as Burnley manager as his former boss took the reunion honours at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Sean O'Driscoll played a mentoring role to Howe in his formative years as a player at Bournemouth and it was the senior man who got the result he needed thanks to an own goal from Michael Duff.
Duff's mis-placed header 14 minutes into the second half brought to an end Doncaster's four-game losing streak and curtailed the Clarets' five-match unbeaten run.
It was tough luck on the defender and with none of his colleagues able to bale him out with a goal at the other end, Howe experienced first-hand Burnley's baffling away form.
Having won so impressively at Portsmouth a week earlier, the Clarets again missed the chance to record back-to-back league wins for the first time this season with a tepid performance which keeps the play-offs at a frustrating arm's length.
It also meant a losing start for new signing Charlie Austin on a night when the Clarets failed to click as an attacking force.
Charlie Austin gets a rare sight of goal
With Howe having handed Austin an immediate chance to make an impact in place of Steven Thompson, the new boy got a sniff of goal just four minutes into his Burnley debut.
Jack Cork paved the way as he did well to stretch and deliver an excellent low cross which young goalkeeper Gary Woods was unable to hold onto.
The ball momentarily bobbled invitingly for Austin to hit but the former Swindon man couldn't make clean contact and Woods made amends by getting his body in the way to avert the danger.
A tough start for the Clarets' new boy
Thereafter it was a frustrating evening for Austin as he looked to feed off scraps of play, with the Clarets' only other serious opportunity of the first half a free-kick for Danny Fox for a foul on Chris Eagles which the full-back drove straight into the defensive wall.
On the back of a losing streak Doncaster were perhaps understandably a little slow to find their rhythm but once their midfield men began to find their range they had the best openings of a cagey first half.
Dangerman James Coppinger sent a deflected shot into the side netting before crossing for Billy Sharp to head wide when the top scorer should have done better.
Chris Eagles battles for possession
And James Hayter then took centre stage as he looked to add to the goal he scored at Turf Moor in a 1-1 draw back in November.
The former Bournemouth team-mate of Howe first shot wide from an excellent pass from ex-Claret John Oster and then steered another effort past the far post as Rovers built up a head of steam.
And Hayter's best chance came in the final minute of the half when he followed up an excellent save from Grant to deny Coppinger only to see his close-range effort blocked on the line by Fox.
Michael Duff feels the pain of his unfortunate own-goal
That proved to be Hayter's last touch as he was replaced at the break by Steve Brooker and the substitute almost made the difference with his first contribution as an excellent pass released Sharp.
Grant had to dash out of his box to intercept but Sharp regained possession and it took an important save from the retreating keeper to prevent the former Clarets' transfer target getting his attempted chip over the covering defenders and towards goal.
Jay Rodriguez strains for an equaliser
Despite plenty of possession the Clarets struggled to respond with anything meaningful in attack and with almost an hour gone they handed Doncaster the lead. Again Coppinger was the instigator, this time with a near perfect cross which Duff, at full stretch, could only head past Grant and into the top corner of his own net.
Howe reacted by sending on top scorer Chris Iwelumo to offer some support to Austin, although the equaliser almost came while the big striker was waiting to come on.
Not for the first time Dean Marney got forward well from midfield and he was only inches away from his second goal in as many league games when he latched onto a clever pass from Eagles and dragged a shot just wide of the post.
With just 20 minutes to go Howe made a further change, Martin Paterson replacing Austin as the Clarets tried to force an equaliser and moments later Jay Rodriguez headed over from a Tyrone Mears cross before making way for Ross Wallace as the Clarets' boss played his final card.
Chris Iwelumo heads goalwards but can't save a point
There was to be little extra spark, though, and despite mounting pressure a decent cross from Fox which skidded off the head of Iwelumo was the nearest Burnley came to pinching a point on a disappointing night when Howe doubtless learned plenty about the challenges that lie ahead.
Burnley: Grant, Mears, Fox, Duff, Carlisle, Cork, Marney, Elliott (Iwelumo 65), Rodriguez (Wallace 75), Austin (Paterson 71), Eagles. Subs: Alexander, Bikey, Thompson, Jensen.
Booked: Fox 54
Doncaster: Woods, Chambers, O'Connor, Hird, Friend, Stock (Souza 85), Oster (Shiels 90),Keegan, Coppinger, Sharp, Hayter (Brooker ht). Subs: Webster, Bradshaw, Fairhurst, Mason.
Booked: Shiels 90
Referee: Oliver Langford
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