Bradford City 2 (Poleon 35, Jones 84)
Doncaster Rovers 3 (May 8, Kongolo 71, Whiteman 88)
Tuesday 8th August 2017 | Carabao Cup 1st Round | Northern Commercials Stadium
Ten-man City were sent crashing out of the Carabao Cup at the first hurdle on Tuesday evening with defeat to fellow League One side Doncaster Rovers. The visitors took the lead through Alfie May before Dominic Poleon's equaliser before half-time. Romain Vincelot was sent off for rash challenge on May before Rovers restored their lead through Rodney Kongolo. Alex Jones scored a late equaliser before Ben Whiteman's even later winner for the South Yorkshire club.
Doncaster started the game on the front foot and shortly after last season's leading scorer John Marquis flashed a header wide of the post, Alfie May scored a scrappy goal to give his side the lead. Marquis had looked to pounce in the box, and although Tony McMahon halted him, the ball broke to May who scored an easy close range tap-in.
Tommy Rowe tried to catch Colin Doyle out with a shot from distance which bounced up off a greasy surface, but the Irish stopper grasped onto the ball. Alex Gilliead was given the nod to start and after beating Danny Andrew down the right flank, he cross came out to McMahon who curled a shot wide of the mark with his weaker left foot.
Doyle produced two saves in a minute to prevent the visitors from doubling their lead, keeping out Marquis and May before Jake Reeves saw a thunderous 25-yard strike kept out by the fingertips of Ian Lawlor to deny the Bantams an equalising goal.
Timothee Dieng went close with a header and Omari Patrick with an angled drive, before an equaliser came shortly before the break. It was to be a first goal in City colours for Dominic Poleon and he took it brilliantly well. The former AFC Wimbledon man muscled his way past two players and rocketed a shot from a tight angle past Lawlor and into the back of the net.
Poleon came close to doubling his tally just a couple of minutes into the second period but after once again powering his way past a couple of Rovers defenders, this time he saw a goalbound shot blocked vitally by experienced defender Andy Butler.
A looping header from Butler looped just over the bar and Patrick went close shortly afterwards for the Bantams before a moment which turned the game on it's head. Romain Vincelot looked to slip into a lunging challenge on Alfie May and the referee hardly hesitated to brandish a red card to the City skipper, leaving Stuart McCall's side down to ten men for the last half an hour of the contest.
The re-shuffle came with Matthew Kilgallon coming on in place of Alex Gilliead to fill the void in central defence, but shortly afterwards Doncaster took advantage of having an extra man and took the lead through Rodney Kongolo after he was initially kept out by Doyle.
Paul Taylor and Alex Jones were brought on from the bench as City still looked to play on the front foot in search of goals and the latter scored the equaliser with just six minutes left on the clock. Taylor saw a snapshot from just inside the box deflect favourably intom the path of Jones and he composed himself well to slot the ball underneah Lawlor.
Doncaster won it though four minutes later with just two plus added time left on the clock; City failed to clear their lines and the ball fell invitingly to Sheffield United loanee Ben Whiteman and he steered an excellent shot into the bottom corner from just outside the box to put his side into the second round.