Unbeaten run extended to five
York City 2
Fletcher (70, pen 71)
Bristol Rovers 3
O’Toole (16), Norburn (45), Beardsley (50)
Rovers won through to the Second Round of the FA Cup tonight, beating York City 3-2, thanks to goals from John-Joe O’Toole, Ollie Norburn and Chris Beardsley.
They made things difficult for themselves, though, as they were three goals to the good and seemingly cruising when the home side scored twice in the space of a minute through Wes Fletcher.
However Rovers withstood some late pressure, but held out for a deserved win and a home tie against Crawley in the next round.
It was, overall, a disciplined and determined performance by a side growing in stature and extended the unbeaten run to five.
Manager John Ward made three changes for tonight’s FA Cup first round replay.
Will Packwood missed out as his parent club, Birmingham City, don’t want him cup tied so Tom Lockyer came back into the starting lineup in his favoured central defensive position.
Alefe Santos also missed out after picking up a hamstring injury on Saturday and his place was taken by Norburn while David Clarkson came into the side in place of Matt Harrold.
The home side were forced into a late change when goalkeeper Michael Ingham was injured in the warm up and replaced by Chris Kettings.
Rovers were quick out of the blocks and Norburn saw an early shot blocked by the home defence.
At the other end Ryan Jarvis volleyed wide of the upright, but it was Rovers who were the most impressive of the two sides and Ollie Clarke got forward before hitting a low drive wide and John-Joe O’Toole saw his header touched behind for a corner.
O’Toole wasn’t to be denied, though, and registered his sixth goal of the season with 16 minutes on the clock.
An acrobatic effort from Eliot Richards beat goalkeeper Chris Kettings and hit the upright. The keeper was slow to react and O’Toole followed up, unchallenged, to score from close range.
There was almost an instant equaliser as a Wes Fletcher shot hit the upright and was safely gathered by Steve Mildenhall as Jarvis closed in on the rebound.
O’Toole forced a save from Kettings with a long range effort and Richards fired wide of the target.
However Rovers doubled their lead in the final minute of the half when Chris Beardsley cut the ball back into the box from the right and Norburn was on hand to fire a first time shot past Kettings.
York boss Nigel Worthington made a triple substitution at the start of the second half, but it made little difference as Rovers began where they had left off in the first half.
Lee Brown saw a shot blocked at the expense of a corner and from that goal number three arrived on 50 minutes.
The home side’s failure to deal with the corner from the left cost them dearly as the loose ball fell to Beardsley and he rammed it through a ruck of players and into the net past an unsighted Kettings.
Ward’s side were totally in control at this point and continued to be until the 70th minute when York were awarded a penalty for a push by O’Toole on Lewis Montrose.
Fletcher stepped up and sent Mildenhall the wrong way with his spot kick.
A minute later the keeper was picking the ball out of his net for a second time, beaten by the same player from 25 yards after he had picked up on a loose ball in the middle of the park before lashing a shot into the bottom corner of the net.
All of a sudden the home side sensed a sensational comeback and Rovers were forced on to the back foot.
They held firm, though, and deservedly progressed to the next round.
Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Tom Lockyer, Lee Brown, Ollie Norburn, Ollie Clarke, John-Joe O’Toole, David Clarkson, Eliot Richards, Chris Beardsley (Matt Harrold, 76)
Substitutes: Ellis Harrison, Mitch Harding, Conor Gough, Pat Keary, Josh Southway
York City: Michael Ingham, Lanre Oyebanjo, Chris Smith (David McGurk, 46), Daniel Parslow, Craig Clay (Ashley Chambers, 46), Wes Fletcher, Ryan Jarvis (Sander Puri, 46), Lewis Montrose, Jamal Fyfield, Ryan Bowman, Elliott Whitehouse
Substitutes: Chris Kettings, Richard Cresswell, Tom Platt, Tom Allan
Referee: Andy Haines
Rovers supporters: 120