Chesterfield keeper Barry Roche committed the clanger that was to prove so costly in the 24th minute, to round off a comedy of errors that summed up the game.
Speedy on-loan striker Jonathan Forte latched on to a loose pass, but lost control of the ball as he kicked it too far forward as he raced past the static Spireites defence.
Roche came racing out of his area and had time to boot the ball into the stands. But he kicked it straight back to Forte, who tapped it home with the keeper stranded.
It was the only shot on target from either side in the entire game, but it brought Doncaster their third win in a row and their first home League victory since manager Sean O'Driscoll took charge six weeks ago.
Both teams had problems controlling the ball in the windy conditions but it was no excuse for a poor display all round.
Rovers could hardly string more than a couple of passes together without giving the ball away - and Chesterfield were just as bad.
On-loan midfielder Brian Stock was a notable exception for the home side, but he was the only player to offer any creativity in a game stifled by negative play.
Chesterfield's lack of ambition was apparent from the start when striker Caleb Folan was left to forage alone in attack, as the game turned into a muddled tactical battle which seemed to confuse the players as well as the fans.
Sean McDaid went close with a 20 yarder in the fifth minute but that was Rovers' only effort of note, other than Forte's decider, in the first half, with Chesterfield replying with wasted opportunities from Paul Hall and Phil Picken.
Even after home goalkeeper John Filan hurt his leg in a collision with Folan in the 56th minute, Chesterfield were unable to take advantage - despite Rovers being unable to make a substitution as they had no keeper on the bench.
The game fizzled out in the closing stages and it was a match best forgotten all round.