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Bradford City 2 Rovers 3

8 August 2017

Ben Whiteman’s first goal for Rovers sent them into the second round of the Carabao Cup.

The midfielder smashed home the winning strike a couple of minutes from time, as Rovers progressed with an entertaining win at the Northern Commercials Stadium.

It was a deserved victory for Rovers, who had twice seen leads pegged back after Alfie May and Rodney Kongolo had notched their first goals of the season.

The game was decisively swung into the visitors’ favour when the home side were reduced to 10 men and, despite a scare when Alex Jones drew Bradford level at 2-2, Rovers claimed a deserved win through Whiteman.

Ferguson made three changes, with Alfie May, Rodney Kongolo and Tyler Garratt coming into the starting XI.

Rovers took the lead with just eight minutes on the clock. A cross from the right found John Marquis, and he got a shot away.

It was straight at Colin Doyle, but the home keeper could not hold it and May was on hand to poke home his first goal of the campaign.

Rovers had started exactly where they left off on Saturday, and carved out plenty of chances.

Marquis almost made it 2-0 when he got on the end of a Kongolo delivery, but a last-ditch block denied him.

Rovers’ No.9 also saw an effort saved by Doyle as the visitors created opportunities. Danny Andrew in particular found plenty of space down the left.

Bradford drew level 10 minutes before the break with a good move down the right - the ball fell to Dominic Poleon and he smashed home an unstoppable effort past Ian Lawlor.

The Bantams threaten immediately afterwards with a long-range shot from Jake Reeves which was deflected safely into the arms of Lawlor, but the final stages of the first-half were played out without much incident.

There were no changes from either side at the break, with the Bantams creating the first chances.

Home goalscorer Poleon showed he was just as dangerous down the left as he cut inside and tried to get a shot away, with Andy Butler getting a vital block in.

Then, as the ball was played back in from the right, Dieng found space for a header which was straight at Lawlor.

Rovers’ first chance of the second period came after 52 minutes when Butler got on the end of an Andrew corner - but his header looped up and Doyle collected under his bar.

The home side were reduced to 10 men on the hour mark when captain Romain Vincelot was shown a straight red after a foul on May.

Bradford made their first change in reaction, with Matthew Kilgallon coming on for Alex Gilliead.

Rovers looked to take advantage of the extra man, and should have gone ahead through a great counter attack from a corner they were defending.

Rodney Kongolo led the charge and fed Tommy Rowe, but the midfielder could not slip the ball past Doyle.

Kongolo was the man in the middle of it after 71 minutes when he put Rovers back into the lead. He and May were lining up in the area after a delivery from the left and, after Doyle saved his first effort, poked home his first strike for the club on his full debut.

Rovers looked to take control in the final stages as Alfie Beestin replaced Tyler Garratt and Craig Alcock came on for goalscorer Kongolo, but the home side levelled with six minutes to go.

They won a corner which was not cleared fully and broke to substitute Alex Jones, who finished into a bottom corner.

But Rovers were not done. Mason did well, feeding Rowe who burst into the area. He was crowded out, but the ball fell to Whitman who smashed the ball home.

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