Cambridge United fell just short of a dramatic comeback against League leaders Doncaster Rovers, who took the spoils 2-3 at the Cambs Glass Stadium.

A stunning strike from George Maris and Luke Berry’s 16th goal of the season brought the U’s to within one goal of Darren Ferguson’s side, who had led the game 0-3 but United were unable to claw a point from the encounter.

James Dunne and Ben Williamson were the only two changes to the U’s side that defeated Barnet at the Hive Stadium three days earlier.

United  began the game in energetic fashion with Williamson glancing an early header wide, before the striker was awarded a penalty by referee Ross Joyce on eight minutes who adjudged Rovers keeper Ian Lawlor to have him brought down in the area.

However, Luke Berry lifted the spot kick over the bar and a strong South Yorkshire side took full advantage.

Tommy Rowe cut inside Greg Taylor nine minutes later, slamming home an opener past Will Norris, and Mathieu Baudry doubled the visitor’s lead soon after when the centre back tapped in at the far post.

George Maris forced a fine save from Lawlor as United looked for a way back into the game, but Darren Ferguson’s men continued to keep the U’s at arm’s length through to half time.

Rovers extended their advantage still further midway through the second half, when their top goal scorer John Marquis picked himself up after being fouled by Leon Legge to convert from 12 yards.

The game seemed to be dead and buried until Man of the Match Maris drove into space on 75 minutes, before unleashing a venomous shot onto the underside of the cross bar and into the net from 35 yards.

The goal gave Shaun Derry’s men hope of a revival, with substitute Gerry McDonagh twice having efforts cleared off the line, before Luke Berry rose highest in stoppage time to head in United’s second from a sublime Dunk delivery.

However, it proved to be too little too late for the U’s despite a late opportunity to level for Dunk in the dying embers of the fixture.

Cambridge United: Norris, Taylor, Legge, Roberts, Carroll (Dunk, 71 mins), Mingoia, Dunne (McDonagh, 56 mins), O’Neil, Berry, Maris , Williamson (Elito, 67 mins)

Doncaster Rovers: Lawlor, Alcock, Baudry, Butler, Marquis, Rowe, Blair, Mason, Grant (Keegan, 88 mins), Coppinger (Middleton, 75 mins), May (Williams, 75 mins)

Attendance: 4,236 (410)

Vindis Man of the Match: George Maris