Liam Mandeville showed just the sort of reaction his manager was looking for.
But Doncaster Rovers had to settle for second spot in Group H of the Checkatrade Trophy after a penalty shoot-out victory against Scunthorpe United.
Mandeville found the net and provided a sharp presence in attack after being banished from the matchday squad at Bury - for not showing enough disappointment at being left out of the starting eleven at Gigg Lane.
His first half goal gave Rovers a deserved half time lead against a more experienced Iron outfit.
Clayton Lewis equalised after the break but Mandeville went close to winning it late on before also the scoring in the shoot-out.
Both sides had already qualified for the knockout round but Rovers had to win the game in normal time to leapfrog Scunthorpe into top spot and claim home advantage in the next round.
Only skipper-for-the-night Mathieu Baudry and Craig Alcock retained their places from the side that won at Bury, with teenagers Danny Amos and Morgan James handed their first senior starts.
Amos, recently called up by Northern Ireland Under 19s, played on the left of a back three, while the diminutive James slotted into midfield.
Neither looked overawed in the slightest as Rovers enjoyed the lion’s share of possession during the early stages, although the contest rather had the feel of a training game.
It took 15 minutes for the first shot in anger from either side, a freekick which sailed harmlessly over the bar from Kevin van Veen.
The home side’s build-up was more convincing, though, and confidence grew as the half wore on.
Issam Ben Khemis sent a half volley over the bar before Williams skied a shot after being picked out by Mandeville.
Rovers were now in the ascendancy and some good work from right wing back Alfie Beestin created an opening for Mandeville, but his low shot was saved by Rory Watson.
Ben Khemis then tested Watson’s handling but the goal did arrive on 37 minutes and it came from that man Mandeville. Tyler Garratt picked him out with a cross from the left and he kept his composure to side-foot home with a smart first-time finish.
The half ended on a disappointing note for Rovers when Andy Williams was forced off holding his hip. Youth team striker Lewis Scattergood took his place.
Scunthorpe made a voluntary switch to their frontline for the re-start with Simon Church replaced by Hakeeb Adelakun, who did not take long to try his luck on goal from distance.
Nevertheless when the Iron’s equaliser did arrive, just before the hour mark, it came rather out of the blue.
It was all a little too easy for the visitors, as Lewis played a one-two with Paddy Madden in a central area and coolly slotted past Marko Marosi.
Rovers responded in positive fashion as Baudry headed a half chance over the bar before he and Alcock, with one eye firmly on Saturday’s FA Cup trip to Ebbsfleet, made way for young duo Jacob Fletcher and Cody Prior.
Mandeville went close to finding a winner when he swivelled in the box and hit one just wide, before Madden and Ben Khemis also came close to snatching victory at the death.
What followed was an ultimately pointless penalty shoot-out, but Rovers showed more composure to claim a bonus point.
Niall Mason, Mandeville and Ben Khemis held their nerve to score, while Alfie Beestin and Fletcher missed their spot kicks.
Devonte Redmond and van Veen scored for the Iron, but misses from Madden, Lewis and Adelakun handed Rovers a victory of sorts on the night, although it wasn’t enough to top the group.
ROVERS: Marosi, Alcock (Prior 72), Baudry (Fletcher 72), Amos, Garratt, Mason, James, Beestin, Ben Khemis, Mandeville, Williams (Scattergood 42). Subs: Jones, Horton, Morris.
SCUNTHORPE: Watson, Clarke, Burgess, Goode, Butroid, Ojo (Holmes 75), Redmond, Lewis, Van Veen, Church (Adelakun 46), Madden. Subs: Gilks, Wallace, Hopper, Novak, McArdle.
REFEREE: Ben Tremor