DONCASTER Rovers came back from the dead to reach the third round of the Capital One Cup by beating Hull City with a dramatic stoppage time winner by David Syers.
Syers slid the ball home from James Coppinger’s cross.
Jay Simpson looked to have won the game for Hull in the 90th minute when beating Woods only to see the ball bounced back off the far post.
Rovers showed five changes to their starting line-up with leading scorer Chris Brown and midfielders Kyle Bennett and Martin Woods all missing and David Cotterill and Billy Paynter both starting on the bench, where Rovers included three youth team players and first-year pro Paddy Mullen.
James Coppinger, the subject of an enquiry by Hull several weeks ago, started for the first time this season.
Striker Robbie Blake and former Hull midfielder James Harper both made their first competitive starts for the club.
The Tigers wasted no time in showing their teeth, striker Aaron McLean picking his spot from about 12 yards in the first minute after Rovers had failed to clear the danger from Joe Dudgeon’s cross.
Considering that Rovers had only once come from behind to win in a competitive match in 2012, it was hardly the start that manager Dean Saunders had been hoping for.
The visitors continued to force the pace, knocking the ball about well, and they doubled their lead on ten minutes.
Cairney’s 25 yard free-kick came back off the bar and Simpson was first on the loose ball and he drilled it past Woods to make it 2-0.
Rovers knew that they had to score next if they were to entertain any realistic hope of staying in the competition and they could have pulled a goal back had midfielder David Syers, playing alongside Blake in attack, managed to get his head to left-back Tommy Spurr’s cross.
Little had been seen of Coppinger until the 25th minute when he unleashed a long-range effort which struck centre-back Abdoulaye Faye.
Rovers drew level on the half-hour with a superb dipping volley by Syers after Coppinger had headed the ball into his path. City quickly regained the initiative and Simpson headed just wide of the far post from Cameron Stewart’s cross.
City suffered a blow on 37 minutes when Cairney limped off after taking a knock to be replaced by Paul McKenna.
Rovers had come back well after suffering a double setback and the game was still there to be won as the second half got under way.
Syers continued to run himself into the ground pressing the Hull back four whenever they had the ball.
McCombe just failed to make a proper connection with a ball in the box which sat up invitingly.
Rovers continued to press and skipper Rob Jones used his height to head home from a cross into the box to level the scores in the 57th minute.
It was the centre-back’s first goal for the club and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Perhaps sensing that a game which had seemed lost was now there for the taking, Rovers brought on winger Cotterill for full-back Paul Quinn and dropped Husband into the back-four.
Woods had to pull off a tremendous save from McLean after he had latched on to a poor pass by Coppinger 40 yards and defied the teenager’s attempts to take the ball off him and let fly with a fierce angled shot.
Rovers made a second change on 68 minutes, Paynter replacing Blake.
City brought on former Rangers forward Sone Aluku, with ten minutes to go.
City were reduced to to ten men on 84 minutes, McKenna being red-carded following an altercation with Jones, who was booked.
Keeper Ben Amos did well to keep out Cotterill’s 86th minute shot - Syers heading over from the resulting corner.
Rovers: G Woods 8, Quinn *6, McCombe 7, Jones 7, Spurr 7, Keegan 7, Coppinger 7, Syers 9, Harper 7, Husband 7, Blake 6 ** Subs: Sullivan, Paynter ** 68, Cotterill 5 **, Meade, Middleton, Mullen, Binns.
Hull City: Amos 7, Dudgeon 7, Chester 6, Faye 6 ***, Dawson 6, Evans 7, Olofinjana 7, Cairey 5*, Stewart 6, McClean 7, Simpson 7, Subs: Oxley, McKenn 6 *37, Cooper, Devitt, Aluko, ** 80 Bruce, *** 90 Proschwitz.
Referee: Steve Rushton (Staffs)
Goals: Rovers: Syers (30, 90) Jones (57). Hull: McLean (1), Simpson (10)
Bookings: Rovers: Keegan, Jones.
Sending off: McKenna (Hull)