Blackburn survived a scare before Adam Armstrong’s late penalty secured a 3-2 victory over Doncaster in the Carabao Cup first round.
The first competitive outing for both sides was an entertaining affair that could have gone either way. Lewis Holtby’s spectacular free-kick gave Blackburn a deserved lead at half-time.
Doncaster looked understandably rusty in their first meaningful game in almost six months but roared back after the break and turned the game on its head with two goals in the space of 10 minutes – a Fejiri Okenabirhie penalty, and Madger Gomes’ fierce strike.
But Joe Rankin-Costello’s first senior goal levelled matters before Armstrong’s late penalty ensured the Championship side are in the draw for round two.
It’s the second year in succession that Doncaster have gone out in the first round but they will draw plenty of encouragement for the season.
Blackburn were without new number one goalkeeper, Thomas Kaminski, who is in quarantine after signing from Gent, so Andrew Fisher deputised.
Darren Moore handed debuts to Josef Bursik and Taylor Richards in Doncaster’s first competitive match since 7 March.
Jason Lokilo stung the palms of Fisher in the second minute but Blackburn took over from that moment. First, Armstrong volleyed over after Bursik failed to deal with an inswinging Holtby free-kick.
The goalkeeper smartly saved a deflected Harry Chapman effort before both Armstrong and Ben Brereton missed the target, as chances flowed.
A goal was inevitable and Holtby grabbed it in delightful fashion on the half hour, curling a 25-yard free-kick into the top-right corner and out of the reach of Bursik’s despairing dive.
Moore’s men were unrecognisable after the interval, taking the game to Blackburn, and they were rewarded in the 54th minute when an excellent Richards pass found Okenabirhie, who was hauled down in the area by Darragh Lenihan.
He picked himself up to coolly slot his penalty into the left corner, sending Fisher the wrong way.
They turned the game completely on its head 10 minutes later when the ball fell to Gomes 25 yards out and he drilled a shot that flew under Fisher.
Blackburn hit back and equalised in the 72nd minute after Doncaster’s defence failed to deal with Brereton’s run and cross, and although Armstrong saw his shot heroically blocked on the line, Rankin-Costello reacted quickest to bundle the ball home.
And the hosts were awarded a penalty of their own nine minutes from time when Amari’i Bell was tripped by Bradley Halliday.
Last season’s top scorer Armstrong hammered the spot kick emphatically past Bursik.
Any doubts about the result should have been put to bed moments later but Brereton inexplicably fired wide when Armstrong squared to him with the goalkeeper stranded.
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