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Match Reports

Match report for Bristol Rovers 2 Sutton United 1

4 December 2021

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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