Thomas the hero as Rovers beat Bristol City on penalties

Lewis Thomas was Forest Green’s penalty shootout hero as the League Two side stunned Championship Bristol City in the first round of the Carabao Cup.

Regan Hendry equalised for the hosts deep into stoppage time as the game went to spot-kicks after a 2-2 draw.

And with Rovers leading 6-5, Thomas dived the right way to keep out Cameron Pring’s kick.

Two goals from striker Saikou Janneh on his first start for City had looked like taking the visitors through before Hendry’s late equaliser.

Rovers skipper Jamille Matt handed the hosts the lead after just 12 minutes, starting and then finishing a delightful passing move with a thumping shot into the roof of the net.

City equalised after 40 minutes when Nahki Wells won the ball on the right and picked out the unmarked Janneh who powered his shot past keeper Thomas.

City keeper Max O’Leary was called on to pull off a point-blank save early in the second half to deny Ebou Adams before Janneh netted again in the 67th minute with a curling 18-yard effort.

Hendry’s equaliser came in the sixth and final minute of added on time before Rovers took the spoils in the shootout.

Rovers head coach Rob Edwards was full of praise for Thomas, a former Wales Under-19s international.

Edwards said: “I’m delighted for him, to make the two saves he did. He’s a brilliant professional and the lads love him to bits.

“He will be disappointed he didn’t start on Saturday in the league but to react in that way showed a lot of character so I’m pleased for him.

“I was pleased with what he did tonight and he’s certainly shown his credentials. I know he is really going to push and make my decision really difficult for Saturday now.

“Full credit to the players – they have this belief and they don’t know when they’re beat.

“I really think there’s something inside them so that they keep on going. Once we went 2-1 down I thought we showed a lot of character and were the dominant team with the ball.”

Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson said: “It was a game we should have won and we continue to make silly errors in terms of running the clock down.

“Players had an opportunity tonight to show what they are about but we didn’t really do the job that we should have done.

“There were some promising performances and it was good to get Han-Noah (Massengo) back and complete the 90 minutes.

“It’s just frustrating to get into a winning position and lose on penalties. Once it goes to penalties it’s a bit of a lottery.”

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