Rovers booked their place in the second round of the Carabao Cup with a comfortable 3-1 victory over League Two side Coventry City, thanks to goals from Smallwood, Evans and Samuel.
After an opening day defeat at Southend, Rovers and their 620 fans headed to the Ricoh Arena, looking to pick up a win and a confidence boost.
Mowbray’s team was a strong one, with Mulgrew captaining the side. Smallwood and Evans partnered up in the middle with Samuel up front on his own.
Rovers kicked off and the opening ten minutes were slow-paced with few chances. Coventry had the first real chance of the game after 11 minutes, when Shipley whipped a free-kick onto the head of Biamou, who headed the ball straight into the palms of David Raya in the Rovers goal.
5 minutes later, Rovers took the lead. Caddis teed the ball back to Corry Evans, who jumped over a sliding Coventry player, and struck the ball on a half-volley into the Coventry net – on his week foot!
Dominic Samuel then had 2 chances in 3 minutes, when he first went down the right-hand side of the box, only to fire at the keeper. He then broke forward and unleashed a powerful shot, but O’Brien in the Coventry net matched him. In the 22nd minute, Coventry equalised. A through ball to Grimmer cut the Rovers defence open, and the Coventry man fired at Raya. The initial shot was saved but Nazon slammed home the rebound.
Coventry would only be drawing for 10 minutes, due to man of the match Richie Smallwood. He hit a left footed effort that took a deflection, which put it past the stretching Coventry keeper.
Rovers continued to have chances up to the half-time whistle, and if it wasn’t for the Coventry ‘keeper O’Brien, it could have been 3 or 4 at least.
Coventry began the second half strong, and were unlucky not to score 3 minutes later. Ward made a brilliant block to stop Nazon scoring.
After 56 minutes, Rovers put the game out of the reach of the hosts – when Dominic Samuel scored his first Rovers goal. Caddis played the ball in to the box, and after a scramble in the box, the ball fell to Samuel whose deflected shot beat the Sky Blues’ keeper.
Rovers should have had a fourth when Derrick Williams headed over from point blank range. After 66 minutes, Ben Gladwin came on for his debut and looked lively throughout. Chapman also cam on, and it was promising to see the introduction of young full-back Jack Doyle.
In the 81st minute, Doyle showed great signs after some quality passing play to win Rovers a free-kick just outside the box but nothing came from it. 2 minutes later, Doyle almost scored. Gladwin found the young full-back advancing inside from the left, and Doyle’s effort was going in the top corner before O’Brien saved.
The last chance of the game came when Chapman unleashed a fierce drive but the keeper matched it and turned it behind for a corner.
The full time whistle went and that meant Rovers are in the hat for the second round draw, which takes place on Thursday after Bury v Sunderland.
Let’s hope Rovers play like this against Doncaster on Saturday!