Nottingham Forest progressed to the second round of the EFL Cup with a last-gasp victory over Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium this evening.
David Vaughan's first-half stunner was cancelled out by Liam Mandeville but Jamie Ward struck in the first minute of stoppage time to send Forest through to the second-round draw which takes place on Wednesday night.
Philippe Montanier made nine changes from the opening-day fixture against Burton Albion to face Darren Ferguson’s men at the Keepmoat Stadium.
New signings Armand Traore, Damien Perquis and Apostolos Vellios made their competitive debuts whilst Stephen Henderson was in the starting line-up for the first time after replacing the injured Dorus de Vries.
Jamie Ward and David Vaughan made their first appearances for The Reds since the European Championships in the summer while Jamie Paterson came in for Ben Osborn with Chris Cohen captaining the side in place of Henri Lansbury.
After netting four against Burton at the weekend, it took The Reds only 10 minutes to take an early lead at the Keepmoat. After patient build-up play from the star, Forest took early control of the match and their possession was rewarded when Vaughan smashed a half-volley into the top corner with his right foot.
Ward's free-kick was only partially cleared and when the ball fell to the Welshman he rifled home a spectacular effort to put Forest one up.
The hosts came into the match after that and created a couple of opportunities without causing Forest’s defence any major problems. They did manage an effort at goal on 32 minutes when John Marquis combined well with Andy Williams but the former's shot failed to trouble Henderson as he fired over the bar from the edge of the box.
Very few chances followed for either side but the visitors always looked dangerous on the counter attack with Oliver Burke’s pace on the right-hand side.
The second half started in scrappy fashion with Damien Perquis left feeling the effect of a late challenge by Rovers striker Marquis while Apostolos Vellios was booked shortly after following an untimely lunge on defender Joe Wright.
Forest did manage to fashion a chance on 59 minutes when but Matt Mills could only head over the crossbar from Chris Cohen's delightful free-kick from the left-hand channel.
And it was The Reds who went close again two minutes later when Vellios headed inches over the target from Traore's left-wing cross.
Chasing the equaliser, the home side then made an attacking change with Mandeville replacing Harry Middleton while Forest responded with a change of their own as summer signing Kasami replaced captain Cohen.
But it was to be Doncaster who made best use of their substitution. Marquis found room in the box and drew a good save from Henderson who until that point had been a spectator. From the resulting corner Forest failed to clear their lines and after an initial header was blocked on the line by Vaughan, substitute Mandeville poked home to level the contest.
It looked as if the match would be heading into extra-time when goalscorer Vaughan saw an effort from the edge of the box easily claimed by the Rovers keeper Marko Marosi.
However it was Ward who stole the show with his last-gasp winner. The ball fell to him on the left-hand side of the penalty area and he sent an excellent low strike past Marosi into the far corner to send the 2,200-strong travelling fans while and Forest into the next round.
Forest: Henderson, Lichaj, Mills, Perquis, Traore, Burke (Osborn 75'), Cohen (c) (Kasami 67'), Vaughan, Paterson, Ward (Veldwijk 90'), Vellios
Subs not used: Smith, Mancienne, Lansbury, Iacovitti
Goals: Vaughan 10', Ward 90'
Bookings: Vellios 53', Ward 68'
Doncaster: Marosi, Butler (Calder 46'), Wright, Mason, Garratt, Blair, Rowe, Middleton (Mandeville 62'), Houghton, Williams, Marquis
Subs not used: Etheridge, Lund, Evina, Coppinger, Beestin
Goal: Mandeville 70'
Referee: Andy Haines
Attendance: 5,160 (2,283 away)