Doncaster Rovers earned an added treat in the Checkatrade Trophy at the Keepmoat Stadium, as they sealed the extra bonus point following a 1-1 draw with Scunthorpe United in Northern Group H.
It was a much-changed Rovers side on show at the Keepmoat, with Craig Alcock, and skipper for the night, Mathieu Baudry, the only survivor from the weekend’s 1-0 win away at Bury.
The game’s opening 15 minutes were fairly even, with neither side giving too much away in the opening exchanges.
Scunthorpe had the game’s first opportunity however, with Niall Mason conceding a free kick 30 yards from goal.
Kevin van Veen was the man to test his luck from distance, but his effort whistled just over Marko Marosi’s crossbar.
Rovers came forward though and enjoyed a lot more of the possession as the first half wore on.
Andy Williams shot from just inside the area was blocked by Charlie Goode, and the ball flicked up to Tyler Garratt.
Garratt pulled his header back to Issam Ben Khemis, but he was unable to keep his shot down, as he looked to add to his goal against Sunderland under-21’s in the last Group H game.
Williams then went close just moments later, as he received a pull back from Liam Mandeville over on the right, but like Ben Khemis just a minute before, he was unable to keep his effort below the bar.
Mandeville then tested Rory Watson in the visitor’s goal for the first time.
Alfie Beestin’s mazy run down the right enabled him to create enough space to switch the ball to Mandeville.
Mandeville turned well and shot low, but Watson got down well to deny the Rovers’ striker the opening goal.
Beestin was then involved in yet another Rovers attack just a minute later, this time a run down the left releasing Ben Khemis.
Ben Khemis ran past four Iron defenders, creating just enough space for himself to get a shot away, but his shot was claimed comfortably by Watson, who was being kept busy in the Scunthorpe goal.
The visitors almost took the lead though shortly afterwards, with Paddy Madden causing problems down the right-hand side.
He looked to play a cross across goal to the awaiting van Veen, but Alcock was back just in time to nick the ball off the toe of the Dutchman who was flying in at the back post, and he ensured the scores stayed level.
The scores wouldn’t stay level for much longer though, and it was the home side who got the game’s opening goal.
Ben Khemis won the ball on half way from Devonte Redmond, and he played the ball down the left to the advancing Garratt.
Garratt played the ball back into the middle, and it was met by the on-rushing Mandeville who smashed home low under Watson to hand the home side the lead with ten minutes to go before half-time.
Iron substitute Hakeeb Adelakun made an immediate impact straight after the break, as he ran forward at the Rovers’ defence, letting fly from 25 yards out, but his effort was no trouble for Marosi as the shot sailed over the bar.
The Iron had come out firing in the second half, and despite good pressure from Rovers early on in the second period, the visitors clawed their way back into the game.
van Veen flicked a ball through on for Madden, and after a run towards goal, he fed the ball into Clayton Lewis and he slotted low past Marosi to get his side back on level terms.
Rovers responded well to being pegged back though, and next went close through captain for the night, Baudry.
He rose highest to meet a free kick over from the left by Beestin, but he was unable to keep his header down.
Substitute Lewis Scattergood was next to try his luck at goal, collecting the ball on the edge of the area after good work between Beestin and Ben Khemis, but his effort was again held comfortably by Watson in the Iron goal.
The visitors then had a couple chances of their own to take the lead, firstly the goalscorer Lewis attempting to lob Marosi, before Madden did the same after a header back towards goal from Garratt.
Both efforts hit the roof of the net though without troubling the Rovers’ keeper.
Mandeville then looked to add to his tally, as he controlled the ball well and turned inside the area, but his shot was inches over Watson’s crossbar and couldn’t find the top left-hand corner.
Lewis then continued his personal battle with Marosi in the Rovers’ goal, as the Iron man tested the Slovakian from 30 yards out with a low free-kick that looked destined for the bottom right-hand corner.
Marosi came out on top though, getting down low to prevent Lewis from grabbing a late winner.
Madden then missed a golden opportunity to put his side a goal up, one-on-one with Marosi once more, but again the Rovers’ keeper saved well to keep his side level.
Rovers broke from this, with Ben Khemis dancing his way through into the Scunthorpe penalty area, and his shot from the left went just past Watson’s far post, leaving him a relieved man in the visiting goal.
After the full-time whistle, there was then a penalty shoot-out to decide who would get the extra bonus point on the night.
Marosi was once again the hero, saving Adelakun’s penalty, with Madden and goal scorer Lewis blazing over the bar.
Mason and Mandeville scored for Rovers, with Ben Khemis scoring the winning penalty to give Rovers the extra bonus point.
Rovers finish in second place in Northern Group H, being level on points with Scunthorpe, but the Iron’s greater goal difference sees them top the group.
Rovers will now be handed an away tie in the next stage of the Checkatrade Trophy.