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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

04 December 2021 Venue Memorial Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English FA Cup

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Match Previews

Bristol Rovers vs Sutton preview

3 December 2021

After Tuesday night's penalty shoot-out success that ensured Sutton's cup interest will run in to 2022, U's attentions turn to the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday, with clubs possibly ninety minutes away from a tie against one of the Premier League's big teams in the third round.

It's a situation U's enjoyed five years ago, when a dramatic victory over Cheltenham at this stage set the club on a momentous FA Cup journey, but this is Sutton's first appearance in the second round since then, while Saturday's opponents Bristol Rovers have appeared in the third round in each of the past two seasons and ran then Premier League Sheffield United close last season before losing 3-2.

At half time in extra time of their first round replay against Oxford United, the second round seemed a long way away for Rovers but a stunning burst of three goals in eight minutes in the second period of extra time turned the tie around and set up Saturday's tie at the Memorial Stadium, once the home of Bristol Rugby Club but since 1996 also Rovers' home ground, with the rugby club moving to Bristol City's Ashton Gate in 2014.

Rovers are currently in 16th place in League Two, nine points behind U's, having won four and lost four of their home games this season. Last week's defeat at leaders Forest Green ended a run of four games unbeaten, and they also lost the services of midfielder Josh Grant with a hamstring injury, although Sam Nicholson is likely to return after missing the game at Forest Green, and U's will have to keep an eye on one of the EFL's most regular scorers in recent years in striker Brett Pitman, who was signed in the summer having leaft Swindon.

Sutton had injury issues on Tuesday during the Papa John's Trophy game against Stevenage and manager Matt Gray will wait to see who is fit before naming his side, with Louis John  set to make his 200th appearance for Sutton if he overcomes the knock that forced him off in the second half on Tuesday. 

Referee is Darren Drysdale, who was in charge of Sutton's 2-1 home defeat to Oldham in August, and any replay is scheduled for Tuesday 14 December, subject to TV requirements.

Anyone that hasn't yet bought a ticket for the game can do so at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday from the away ticket booth. Card and cash payments are accepted

Prices are: Seating (south stand) Adults £16; Seniors (65+): £8; Under 16 £2

Terrace (uncovered) Adults £11; Seniors £6; Under 16 £2

Full travel details on how to get to the game are here, with drivers reminded that the M4 is scheduled to be closed between Slough and Maidenhead all weekend.

By the time the game kicks off U's will know their Papa John's Trophy opponents, with the draw being made live on Sky following the lunchtime Championship game between Coventry and West Brom.

There is commentary on the IFollow system on the game, and passes, price £2.50, can be bought here. 



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Match Reports

Match report for Bristol Rovers 2 Sutton United 1

4 December 2021

Sutton suffered FA Cup disappointment as, after Will Randall had put U's ahead early in the second half, Bristol Rovers turned the game around within ten minutes and held on to claim their third round place.

It was a largely untidy game, with the strong wind making constructive football difficult, but having failed to take advantage of the conditions being in their favour in the first half, and then scored within seven minutes of the restart, it was a bitter blow for U's to see the game turn so quickly.

There was good news before the game as Louis John was declared fit to make his 200th appearance for U's, which meant that the side was unchanged from the starting line up in the last league game against Barrow, and with slope and wind in their favour in the first half U's created the first, and best, chance of the first half when Isaac Olaofe burst forward before finding David Ajiboye on the right of the penalty area, and Ajiboye's fierce shot was beaten away at the near post by James Belshaw.

Rovers were restricted to long range efforts from Antony Evans and Aaron Collins, the first pushed away by Dean Bouzanis and the second harmlessly wide, but U's suffered a blow ten minutes before half time when Olaofe, who had earlier been on the receiving end of a tackle from Evans for which the Rovers striker might have been lucky only to see a yellow card, went down injured with a dead leg and was forced off to be replaced by Donovan Wilson.

Wilson was immediately lively and seven minutes after half time was instrumental in U's taking the lead, turning his defender to collect Omar Bugiel's flick on and reaching the by-line before cutting the ball back for Randall to blast high in to the net. 

It was the high spot of U's afternoon, as five minutes later the lead had been wiped out. Sam Nicholson collected a crossfield pass on the right, and got the better of Rob Milsom to cut in along the by-line before going down under Milsom's challenge from behind as the defender tried to recover. Referee Darren Drysdale thought for a moment before pointing to the penalty spot, and although Bouzanis had saved the last three penalties he had faced, he couldn't save this one from Collins.

Three minutes later the turn-round was complete as U's conceded a free kick, and after Wilson had been booked for not moving back ten yards, Evans, who earlier had whipped a free kick just past Bouzanis's near post, this time lifted the ball in to the area and Nick Anderton placed his downward header inside the post to Bouzanis's right.

It was difficult for U's to make any impression on the home defence in the last half hour, with one promising Ajiboye run coming to nothing as he was crowded out and the ball ran through to Belshaw, and substitute Ricky Korboa's cross cut out before it could reach Ajiboye, Wilson blasting wide when the ball fell to him on the edge of the penalty area.

Ben Goodliffe cleared a Nicholson shot from inside the six yard box after Bouzanis had come off his line to deny Colljns, and Evans lifted a long Belshaw clearance over Bouzanis and against the post as Rovers looked to put the tie beyond doubt, but apart from a couple of scrambles following free kicks they were comfortable in defending their lead and moving in to the third round.

Sutton: D Bouzanis, J Barden, R Milsom, C Eastmond, B Goodliffe, L John, D Ajiboye(sub E Boldewijn 83), K Davis, O Bugiel(sub R Bennett 83), I Olaofe(sub D Wilson 36), W Randall(sub R Korboa 70). Subs n/u C Dundas, F Chalupniczak. Booked: Davis, Wilson, Eastmond.

Bristol Rovers: J Belshaw, C Harries, N Anderton, G Whelan, C Taylor, S Finley, H Anderson, P Coutts, A Evans, A Collins, S Nicholson(sub B Pitman 76). Subs n/u J Ward, L Thomas, Z Westbrooke, P Martinez, T Clarke, S Spence, L Hoole, R Jones. Booked: Evans, Taylor

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 4,456(278 away)


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