Niall Ennis marked his debut with a goal as a young Rovers side overcame League Two outfit Walsall in the opening round of this season’s Carabao Cup.

The visitors twice led during the first half through Oisin McEntee and Ross Tierney, but Jon Dahl Tomasson’s men hit back quickly through Zak Gilsenan and Ennis on both occasions.

Jake Garrett and John Buckley were also on target during the second half as Rovers made it two wins from two in the new campaign.

Tomasson made 11 changes from the side that beat West Brom 2-1 on the opening day of the Championship season.

Niall Ennis was handed a first competitive start following his free transfer from Plymouth over the summer. The forward, who scored 14 goals last season as the Pilgrims clinched the League One title, has been building up his fitness in recent weeks.

Joe Hilton got the nod in goal, with new signing Leopold Wahlstedt unavailable for the fixture while he waited for international clearance. The Swedish international was introduced to the fans ahead of kick-off.

Sam Barnes was handed a start after missing the best part of a year with an ACL injury suffered in a behind-closed-doors fixture. The defender had been named on the bench against QPR on the opening day of last term prior to the setback.

Adam Wharton came into the starting line-up after coming off the bench for the final half hour at the weekend. The promising midfielder played just one game in pre-season due to a combination of injury and illness.

The likes of Scott Wharton, Callum Brittain, Buckley and Ryan Hedges also came into the starting line-up.

Rovers enjoyed lots of possession in the early stages but the visitors looked dangerous on the break and threatened to take the lead when Tierney broke free on the right wing. He tried to pick out Douglas James-Taylor in the box but Hilton did well to gather.

The Rovers goalkeeper was perhaps a tad fortunate when he appeared to bring Tierney down in the box after the Walsall man had reacted quickly to a loose ball. Referee Benjamin Speedie waved play on despite protests from the Saddlers.

But the opener came moments later when McEntee opened the scoring, beating Hilton with a looping header after getting up well at the far post from a corner.

Rovers hit back almost immediately when Gilsenan slotted home from close range after some good work by Wharton and Hedges. A defender thought he had made a heroic clearance but the ball had already crossed the line.

Smith was then forced to parry Hedges’ deep cross behind after some clever by Jake Garrett to skip past his man in the middle of the pitch.

The Welshman cut inside from the right wing and unleashed a thumping strike just before the half-hour mark, but it was straight at Smith.

Walsall regained the lead when Tierney found the bottom corner with a composed first-time finish after getting on the end of Joe Foulkes’ low cross. Donervon Daniels had initially played a lovely long pass to play in Foulkes on the right flank.

But Rovers hit back quickly once again, with Ennis keeping his cool to fire home from inside the box after more good work by Hedges. It was the perfect start to his Ewood Park career.

And Tomasson’s men went ahead early in the second half when Garrett found a way past Smith with a low drive across goal. It was the 20-year-old’s first competitive goal for Rovers, having been at the club since Under-10 level just like Harry Leonard.

Ryan Stirk had a half-chance as Walsall searched for an equaliser but his strike was saved fairly comfortably by Hilton low to his left.

Tomasson made a double change just before the hour mark, with Dom Hyam and Harry Pickering replacing Barnes and Jake Batty.

Ennis continued to look threatening in the final third, sending an effort just wide of the target after combining with Gilsenan.

Buckley added a fourth midway through the second half, opening up his body and tucking past Smith after latching onto a clever pass down the channel by Gilsenan.

Ennis made way after 70 minutes after a promising first outing in a Rovers shirt, with Leonard taking his place. The youngster was full of confidence after getting on the scoresheet against West Brom at the weekend with a tidy finish.

Hilton then made a smart stop to keep out Tierney’s blast before Danny Johnson prodded wide at full stretch from the rebound.

Garrett continued to look bright in the middle to final third, showing good feet to create a pocket of space in the box before firing wide from an angle.

Aramide Oteh dragged an effort wide of Hilton’s near post from distance as Walsall tried to claw their way back into the game in the final 10 minutes.

The visitors managed to pull one back after a moment of magic from Ronan Maher, who cut in from the right wing and bent a superb strike into the top corner over the helpless Hilton, who was rooted to the spot.

Tomasson made another double change as Rovers battled to protect their lead in the final stages, with Wharton and Gilsenan making way for Sondre Tronstad and Dilan Markanday, who both started at the weekend.

Leonard’s pressing nearly led to a fifth goal in the final stages after forcing an error by Smith, but the goalkeeper just about managed to recover. Hedges also had a chance at the death but his strike was saved at the near post.

The result ensures Rovers will be in the hat for the second-round draw on Wednesday night, which will take place at approximately 10:15pm after the conclusion of Leicester’s clash with Burton.

It is available to watch live on Sky Sports Football (channel 403 for viewers in the UK) and will also be shown on the official Sky Sports Football YouTube channel for non-subscribers.

Second-round ties are currently scheduled to take place across Tuesday, August 30 and Wednesday, August 31.