Lee decides epic final
By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Graeme Lee proved Doncaster's matchwinner as they beat Bristol Rovers 3-2.
Doncaster Rovers marked the last English football final to be played at The Millennium Stadium by collecting the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, courtesy of a 3-2 victory over Bristol Rovers that required extra-time.
Graeme Lee proved the game's matchwinner when he headed home from a corner in the 110th minute of a pulsating contest, which saw Bristol come from two down to force an extra half hour.
The League Two side had not conceded a goal en route to the final but within five minutes in Cardiff they had been breached twice, rendering 40,000 of the 60,000 crowd speechless.
While Bristol's players were seemingly still soaking up a carnival atmosphere, Sean O'Driscoll's Doncaster were went for the jugular from the off and within 50 seconds were rewarded when Jonathan Forte punished some dire defending.
Jason Price's lashed cross-cum-shot should easily have been dealt with but neither goalkeeper Steven Phillips nor defender Chris Carruthers were decisive and as Paul Heffernan bustled in, to knock the ball across goal, Forte was on hand to tap home from close range.
Bristol failed to heed the lesson that criminal defending will be punished from sides further up the football pyramid, as they found themselves two down not long after. Neil Sullivan's long punt upfield caught a back four totally square and with Phillips hesitant in his positioning, Heffernan collected possession before slotting home.
Paul Trollope tried to raise his deflated troops from the touchline and the trailing side did produce the better of the football thereafter, as twice they saw decent penalty shouts turned down by disinterested match officials.
After the break and Price could have put the game to bed when he fluffed a free header from close range, only for Bristol to counter at the other end and have their wish for a penalty granted at the third attempt.
In stretching to reach a cross from the left, Rickie Lambert was adjudged to have been tugged back by Sean McDaid and from the resulting spot-kick, Richard Walker made no mistake in scoring his 17th of a productive season.
Rovers found themselves level just past the hour mark when after Lambert had bustled his way past some lacklustre defending, his ball across goal was concluded by Igoe's lashed finish from seven yards.
In the ascendancy, it was Bristol that looked the more likely as twice Sullivan in Doncaster's goal produced fine stops to deny first Lambert's free-kick and then, a dipping drive from the impressive Igoe.
Heffernan could have won it in the final minute when he screwed wide when through on goal, and while both sides had chances to etch their name on the trophy, it was captain Lee's powerful header that ultimately secured Doncaster silverware.