Rovers’ Bristol Street Motors Trophy campaign came to an end at the quarter-final stage with a narrow defeat at Bradford City.
Harry Chapman’s second half free kick was all that separated the two sides in a competitive clash, with the hosts ending the game with ten men after Andy Cook’s dismissal.
It proved to be a bad evening for Rovers with Luke Molyneux, Conor Carty and Ben Close all forced off with injuries – the latter two leaving the field on stretchers.
But the performance overall was a considerable improvement on the previous performance in the league, with Rovers giving as good as they got for long stretches of the game.
Grant McCann made five changes from the side that started the clash with Stockport County four days earlier as Jamie Sterry, James Maxwell, George Broadbent, Carty and skipper Richard Wood all came into the XI.
Rovers made a bright start with Joe Ironside dropping a header narrowly wide from an early corner while Maxwell forced a scrambled clearance off the line with a looping effort.
Carty whipped in an early cross which Molyneux headed over the bar from 15 yards as Rovers continued to push.
Bradford settled into the game and Louis Jones produced a solid save to keep out a first time strike from Jake Young, who met a Chapman cross.
Chapman almost caught Jones out as a cross drifted on target but the Rovers keeper grasped the ball. And it needed a well-timed challenge from Carty to prevent Chapman from drilling in at the near post.
Former Rovers full back Brad Halliday brought an excellent save from Jones with a powerful drive at the near post as the Bantams enjoyed the better of the goalmouth action.
Molyneux was forced off with an injury just after the half hour mark. And his replacement Jon Taylor was agonisingly close to giving Rovers the lead when lashing the ball low across goal on the angle.
Carty was stretchered off in first half stoppage time as Rovers suffered another injury blow.
Close stung the palms of Bradford keeper Colin Doyle with a low drive early in the second half.
Jones produced an excellent save at his near post to keep out a powerful effort from Lewis Richards before Andy Cook flashed a header just off target.
The hosts took the lead on 58 minutes when Chapman curled in a free kick from 25 yards.
Ironside flicked a header onto the roof of the net when meeting a Close cross as Rovers got on the front foot in search of the leveller.
Rovers enjoyed the majority of the attacking play for the remainder of the game but struggled for clear cut opportunities.
Wood flicked a header off target when meeting a cross from Close while substitute Jack Senior saw a shot deflected wide after latching onto a ball over the top.
Rovers received a late lifeline when Cook was shown a second yellow card following a late challenge on Bailey.
But they struggled to find in-roads against a stubborn Bradford defence, with Kyle Hurst curling a shot off target from 25 yards being the closest they came to an equaliser.
Close was stretchered off in added time after a hefty collision to cap a bad night for Rovers on the injury front.
Rovers: Jones, Sterry, Wood, McGrath, Maxwell (Senior 69), Broadbent (Olowu 69), Bailey, Close, Molyneux (Taylor 36), Ironside, Carty (Hurst 45+1). Subs not used: Bottomley, Flint, Rowe.