Arsenal win 3-1 on penalties
Arsenal survived a Carling Cup scare after Gilberto's last-gasp goal forced a penalty shootout against Doncaster, which the Gunners won 3-1.
Michael McIndoe celebrates his fourth-minute opener
Rovers took a fourth-minute lead when Michael McIndoe squeezed the ball home but Quincy Owusu-Abeyie's deflected shot forced extra-time.
In the 104th minute Paul Green put Rovers ahead but Gilberto tucked in Emmanuel Eboue's cross at the death.
That set up spot-kicks, with Manuel Almunia the star as the Gunners won it.
As reserve players, Arsene Wenger's young charges may have been used to playing at Underhill, Barnet but a packed Belle Vue, sold out within two days, was bouncing after less than four minutes.
Paul Heffernan's flick gave McIndoe the chance to run at the Arsenal defence and it looked as if his chance had gone as Manuel Almunia came out to narrow the angle.
But the Scot managed to flick the ball under the Arsenal keeper and the ball crept over the line after hitting the post.
Wenger had, as is his habit, used his younger players again but, as if falling behind to a League One side was not bad enough, the highest-profile player on show, Robin van Persie, limped out of the action following a crunching challenge from Stephen Roberts.
His replacement Nicholas Bendtner had their best chance before the break but Jan Budtz had the measure of his header.
Rovers tried to assert their pressure after the break and missed two good opportunities early on.
Firstly, Thornton saw his shot from the edge of the box tipped away but they carved out a great opportunity shortly afterwards.
Heffernan was sent through and Almunia managed to beat his shot away and then reacted well to block Lewis Guy's rebound.
It would have certainly eased nerves as disappointment came in the 63rd minute.
Owusu-Abeyie managed to carve out some space just outside the area and Budtz was left stranded as his effort clipped Thornton's foot and spun into the net.
Alex Hleb nearly benefited in similar circumstances but Budtz managed to grab his deflected shot at the second attempt.
The visitors were certainly more lively as the game went on but they were unable to prevent the game going into extra time.
Then came Senderos' glaring mistake which handed Rovers a second goal.
There seemed little danger when the Swiss defender looked to clear McIndoe's cross but he dallied after taking the ball away from Almunia's grasp.
Green stole in and jab the ball home as the centre half delayed his clearance.
But there was still time for another twist as Gilberto got on the end of Emmanuel Eboue's cross in injury-time to force penalties.
Doncaster may have beaten Manchester City on penalties but there was to be no repeat.
Neil Roberts saw his effort hit the post and both Heffernan and Green had their shots saved.
Budtz saved from Hleb but the underdogs were left to reflect on what might have been.
Doncaster manager Dave Penney:
"The players were magnificent because they were up against some top quality players.
"There were some tired legs out there and they took advantage of that but I think we caused them some problems.
"We showed people that we can play football and we didn't just lump it.
"Now we have to look to reproduce that sort of form in the league."
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger:
"We showed a good Arsenal spirit and fought until the last seconds of the game and were rewarded.
"I am very pleased with the spirit of the team and I feel at Newcastle, against Chelsea and tonight we have showed that great spirit.
"The team is back on track and the team is ready to do well again."
Doncaster: Budtz, Fenton, Foster, Stephen Roberts, McDaid, Coppinger (Neil Roberts 102), Thornton (Green 85), Ravenhill, McIndoe, Guy (Oji 115), Heffernan.
Subs Not Used: Fortune-West, Nielsen.
Booked: Fenton, Ravenhill, McDaid.
Goals: McIndoe 4, Green 104.
Arsenal: Almunia, Eboue, Senderos, Djourou, Cygan, Hleb, Song Billong, Silva, Owusu-Abeyie (Larsson 78), Van Persie (Bendtner 33), Lupoli (Gilbert 106).
Subs Not Used: Poom, Muamba.
Booked: Cygan, Djourou.
Goals: Owusu-Abeyie 63, Silva 120.
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).