The Dragons left their home patch for the first time in over two months and almost suffered a body blow to their play-off hopes as Lynx were just denied in the bravest of late fightbacks.
After a run of eight successive home games, the Dragons, with veteran player-coach St John Ellis again forced into the action, had the hero and villain of the piece in ex-Lynx star Dale Cardoza.
Cardoza, who played a couple of games for Lynx when on loan from Warrington earlier this season, but who was subsequently shown the door at Wilderspool, showed his undoubted skills before being the focal point of an unseemly brawl just before half-time.
Cardoza provided the assist for three of his side’s tries before being sent off, along with Chorley’s Lance Hamilton, on the stroke of half-time.
The duo were given their marching orders for their part in an incident that was placed on report by over-worked referee Ron Laughton.
A clash between opposing props Tim Street and Jamie Fielden at a play-the-ball sparked the fracas after which Lynx half-back Graeme Close was carted off to hospital for checks after being knocked unconscious.
Fielden and Street were sin-binned for their part in the ugly scenes which RFL officials will undoubtedly study later this week.
When the dust had settled each side had crossed for six tries. The deadly-accurate boot of Johnny Woodcock, who kicked seven from seven, gave the Dragons victory.
Doncaster took the lead with a Woodcock penalty, but it was Chorley who often looked the brighter of the two sides in the opening quarter despite losing skipper Liam Jones through injury.
Chris Ross darted over to get the Dragons under way after Lynx full-back Michael Watts was sin-binned for holding down Cardoza.
Close hit back for the home side, regathering his own kick ahead to touch down in the left-hand corner. But the Dragons stamped their authority on the game in the final 13 minutes of the half, with three unanswered tries.
Richard Baker, who was also sin-binned for holding down, grabbed the first from a Cardoza break, and the same player provided the pass for substitute Tony Atter to go over six minutes later. When Jason Lee went in at the corner, Woodcock’s fifth goal of the half opened up a 26-4 interval lead.
But the outstanding Lynx prop Andy Grundy grabbed a deserved try to spark the comeback, and second row Ian Speed crossed after a good break by Street.
Though Doncaster rallied with a second Baker touchdown and one from Fielden., Lynx almost produced an amazing comeback in the final 16 minutes.
But tries from Dean Cross, Martin Gambles, and Mike Prescott – the latter in the final minute – left the home side just eight points adrift at the end.
Lancashire Lynx: Watts; Yates, Jones, Cross, Wilcock; Close, Gambles; Street, Roden, Grundy, Hamilton, Speed, Bloor.
Subs: Stewart (Kilgannon 20), E Kilgannon (Jones 12), Prescott (Bloor 41), Parry (Close 41).
Scorers: Tries – Close (23), Grundy (42), Speed (51), Cross (64), Gambles (74), Prescott (80); Goals – Bloor 2, Wilcock.
Sin bin: Watts (19), Street (40).
Sent-off: Hamilton (40).
Doncaster Dragons: Baker; Woodcock, Golden, Cardoza, Lee; Ellis, Ross; Handford, Edwards, Fielden, Lawton, Green, David.
Subs: Conway (Edwards 65), Garcia (Golden 65), Atter (Lawton 32), Buckenham (Handford 38).
Scorers: Tries – Ross (19), Baker (27), Atter (33), Lee (39), Baker (54), Fielden (58); Goals – Woodock 7
Sin bin: Baker (30), Fielden (40).
Sent-off: Cardoza (40).
Referee: Ronnie Laughton
Lynx star man: Andy Grundy.