Blackburn Rovers 3, Cardiff City 3
Right-back Callum Paterson used his head to lead an outstanding Bluebirds recovery in Lancashire.
Paterson headed a remarkable treble for Cardiff City in their under-23 cup clash with Blackburn Rovers.
The former Hearts defender completed his hat-trick with a looping header in the dying seconds – his third headed goal and third equaliser of the game.
This was a Premier League Cup opening fixture for both clubs and Rovers went ahead after less than a minute when Joe Nuttall fired past goalkeeper Lee Camp at the Leyland County Ground.
Paterson, 22, equalised when he headed home following a free-kick after 17 minutes before Tyrone Duffus was denied by an outstanding save from home goalkeeper Andy Fisher.
Former Watford player and Manchester United trialist Ogo Obi went close for Cardiff when he produced a tricky run and fierce shot, but Rovers went ahead after 48 minutes.
Daniel Butterworth surged into the Bluebirds’ penalty area and finishing with a low shot inside the far post.
Jarred Harvey’s side responded when the lively Paterson fired his second after 56 minutes, heading in at the back post an accurate Cameron Coxe cross.
Blackburn were awarded a penalty after 71 minutes when full-back Rhys Abbruzzese challenged Stefan Mols inside the box, but Camp saved superbly from Nuttall, tipping his shot onto the bar.
Nuttall made up for his penalty miss with a composed side-footed finish inside the area to make it 3-2, but Paterson was far from finished and popped up for his third goal of the game. He beat Matty Platt in the air to score.
The young Bluebirds travel to play Millwall next Monday before taking on Watford at home on Monday, October 23.
Paterson is likely to play in one or both of those matches as he works to regain full match fitness after being out injured so far this season.
Cardiff City: Camp, Paterson, Abbruzzese, Veale, Duffus, Young, Coxe (Parish 65), Evans, Obi, Waite, Calver. Subs not used: Byrne, Smith, Proctor.
Blackburn Rovers: Fisher, Travis, C Doyle, Platt, J Doyle (Evans 57), Mols, Hardcastle, Tomlinson (Wright 66), Rankin-Costello, Butterworth (Mansell 75), Nuttall. Subs not used: Dillon, Thomson.