A second half comeback from Aston Villa saw Rovers crash out of the Carling Cup on a disappointing night at Villa Park.
Rovers took a deserved lead through Gaël Givet just past the half hour when the Frenchman volleyed home from the edge of the area.
But against an out of sorts Villa side Rovers couldn't capitalise and it was the introduction of Emile Heskey on 58 minutes that would change the game as sixty seconds later the striker equalised with a low drive.
Two goals in the space of a minute from the lively Ashley Young saw the turnaround complete, and with Rovers having no answer, their Carling Cup quest was over.
Rovers made seven changes for this cup clash, with just Ryan Nelsen, Gaël Givet, Morten Gamst Pedersen and Phil Jones retaining their places from Saturday's match against Fulham. Aston Villa, under new manager Gerard Houllier, made eight changes themselves.
The sparse crowd gave the impressions of a low key affair and that is certainly how the game started. Villa winger Ashley Young's liveliness looking out of place amongst the home squad as the match was slow to get going. The England winger testing Mark Bunn in the Rovers goal after ten minutes.
The other penalty area was the busier of the two, on 14 a ball into the box came out to Gaël Givet, the Frenchman firing it back with venom but wide of goal, his moment would come later.
Then a neat lay-off from Morten Gamst Pedersen found Phil Jones arriving quickly in the area, he evaded one challenge before shooting near post but Brad Guzan in the Villa goal was equal to the young midfielder's efforts.
Steve Sidwell's fizzing drive woke the home support, but the former Reading and Chelsea midfielder's effort was a couple of yards over the bar.
That was a rare first half effort for the home side and as Rovers took the lead on 34 minutes it certainly wasn't against the balance of play.
A Morten Gamst Pedersen throw into the penalty looped out past the edge of the box where Gaël Givet arrived once again but this time he met the ball perfectly on the volley to fire a superb effort into the corner of the net giving Guzan no chance to delight the noisy traveling support.
Five minutes later and another Frenchman would try his luck from distance, as the Villa defence backed off it invited Steven Nzonzi to shoot but his effort, whilst having similar power, lacked the accuracy and went wide.
The final action of the first half saw Rovers defending a free-kick, but as Ashley Young clipped the ball high into the fans behind Mark Bunn's goal it wasn't the first half Gerard Houllier would have wished for.
Rovers started the second half confidently, almost doubling their lead on 51. A throw from the left by Pedersen was quickly returned to the Norwegian, skipping inside he hit a thunderous effort with the outside of his left boot, Brad Guzan got down quickly to save but Brett Emerton couldn't divert home the rebound.
Unfortunately for Rovers they would go on to regret those missed opportunities.
The home side forced a series of corners, Rovers held firm, but it was the introduction of Emile Heskey on 58 minutes that proved to be pivotal as less than sixty seconds he had pulled Villa level.
A quick free-kick on the left flank saw the ball shifted onto Ashley Young, his through ball was timed to perfection for the onrushing Heskey and he beat Mark Bunn with a low drive into the far corner from just inside the area.
Sam Allardyce responded by bringing on last round's hat-trick hero Mame Biram Diouf for Benjani but it was the home side who carried the greater threat as Mark Bunn dived to push aside Barry Bannan's snapshot.
Chris Samba replaced Ryan Nelsen on 66 minutes and was immediately in the thick of the action, meeting a Pedersen corner perfectly but he headed it straight into the arms of Guzan.
With 15 minutes remaining the home side's turnaround was complete, Delfouneso's trickery saw him get the better of Olsson with a ball to the near post where Ashley Young headed the ball home past Mark Bunn.
Sixty seconds later and Young would be celebrating his second of the night. A swift attack saw the ball played out to Heskey on the right of the area, and he swept the ball across goal to his strike partner who made no mistake at the back post.
Rovers didn't have an answer, Niko Kalinić was brought on for Junior Hoilett, but the home side threatened further goals.
Young fired over from edge of the area, Delfouneso dragged an effort wide of goal whilst Bannan saw a shot well blocked by Samba. After being so in control for 55 minutes it was such a disappointing way to end the game by Rovers as once again they'd started well enough to take the lead but failed to hold out to claim the win.
VILLA: Guzan, Warnock, Sidwell, Young, Carew (sub Heskey 58 mins), Agbonlahor (sub Delfouneso 32 mins), Reo-Coker (c), Clark (sub Davies 76 mins), Cuellar, Bannan, Lichaj.
Subs not used: Friedel, Salifou, Beye, Osbourne.
ROVERS: Bunn, Chimbonda, Nelsen (c) (sub Samba 66 mins), Givet, Olsson, Nzonzi, Emerton, Jones, Pedersen, Hoilett (sub Kalinić 78 mins), Benjani (sub MB Diouf 62 mins).
Subs not used: Fielding, EH Diouf, Linganzi, Morris.