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Report: Rovers 3-2 Doncaster Rovers

Goals from Lewis Holtby, Joe Rankin-Costello and an Adam Armstrong penalty puts Rovers into round two of the Carabao Cup

29 August 2020

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An Adam Armstrong penalty proved to be the goal that booked Rovers into round two of the Carabao Cup after a five-goal thriller against Doncaster Rovers at Ewood Park.

Armstrong tucked home inside the final 10 minutes to edge the hosts through after a barnstorming encounter against Darren Moore's charges.

Lewis Holtby's perfect free kick had put Tony Mowbray's men ahead on the half hour mark to give Rovers the advantage going into the break.

Doncaster improved after the interval and got in front with two goals in 10 minutes through Fejiri Okenabirhie's penalty before Madger Gomes turned the score around.

Rovers, to their credit, battled back, with Joe Rankin-Costello netting his first professional goal from close range before Armstrong won it late on.

Mowbray offered starting outings to the likes of Scott Wharton, Harry Chapman and Ben Brereton, who was rewarded after bagging. abrace at Blackpool in midweek.

The big team news from the visitors was the omission of star man Ben Whiteman, who wasn't named in the matchday squad.

In a lively start, it took just two minutes for the first opportunity to arise, with Andy Fisher managing to grab Jason Lokilo's effort at the second time of asking.

At the other end, Rovers twice went close in quick succession, but Adam Armstrong volleyed over before Harry Chapman's deflected strike was held by Doncaster debutant Josef Busik.

Rovers were bossing the game and deservedly took the lead on the half hour mark thanks to a piece of magic from Holtby.

It was the German who was fouled on the edge of the box, and he picked himself up to delicately loft a free kick into the top corner to give Doncaster debutant Bursik no chance.

Holtby's high went to a low soon after as he was forced off with a concerning injury just before the interval, with Joe Rothwell on to replace the Rovers goalscorer.

Donny came flying out of the traps at the beginning of the second half and only a good block stopped Cameron John's drive from testing Fisher in the Rovers goal.

The dangerous Lokilo was beginning to be a thorn for Rovers and he once again forced Fisher into action just a moment or two before Andy Halliday dragged an effort wide of target.

The visitors were rewarded for their good start to the half by being awarded a penalty when Darragh Lenihan was adjudged to have tugged the shirt of Okenabirhie after he was played through on goal.

Anthony Backhouse pointed to the spot, booked Lenihan and Okenabirhie stepped up to send Fisher the wrong way and level things up nine minutes into the half.

The home side went in search of a quick response, with Scott Wharton nodding over Rothwell's corner as the clock hit 60 in the cup tie.

But just as Rovers looked to be getting a foothold back in the game, Donny struck a hammer blow through Gomes' deflected effort.

Lokilo's ball into the box wasn't dealt well enough by Amari'i Bell and the Spaniard slammed beyond Fisher via a slight deflection.

However, that narrow advantage lasted just seven minutes as Rankin-Costello smashed home after Armstrong's close range attempt was cleared off the line and into the youngster's path.

Rovers went in search of a third to go back in front, but Rothwell fired over before Brereton forced Bursik into a smart save down to his right after latching onto substitute Tyrhys Dolan's cross.

Having made an error for Donny's second goal, Bell made amends when his driving run into the box forced Halliday to bring him down and Armstrong made no mistake from the spot.

The goalscorer turned provider just a moment later, but Brereton smashed wide to give up the opportunity to make the tie safe.

Dolan almost marked his professional debut with a goal, but his strike was kept out by Bursik in what was the final action on an end-to-end encounter.

Next up for Rovers is a final pre-season outing against Leicester City on Saturday 5th September, kick-off 1pm.

Rovers: Fisher, Rankin-Costello, Lenihan (c), Wharton, Bell, Travis, Johnson, Holtby (Rothwell, 42), Brereton, Armstrong, Chapman (Dolan, 64).

Unused substitutes: Eastham, Nyambe, Williams, Evans, Bennett.

Goals: Holtby, 30, Rankin-Costello, 71, Armstrong pen, 81.

Booked: Lenihan, 53.

Doncaster Rovers: Bursik, John, Anderson (c), Wright, Halliday, Richards (Hasani, 73), Gomes, Taylor (Williams, 69), Lokilo, Okenabirhie, Coppinger (Amos, 82).

Unused substitutes: Jones, Greaves, Horton, Blyth.

Goals: Okenabirhie pen, 54, Gomes, 64.

Booked: Wright, 45, Anderson, 55, Halliday, 70, Bursik, 84.

Referee: Anthony Backhouse


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