Bristol Rovers 2
White (H) (53), White (J) (54)
Gloucester City 1
A gritty performance by a Rovers side ably marshalled by skipper Mark McChrystal progressed through to the next round of the Gloucestershire FA Challenge Cup by beating Gloucester City 2-1 at the Memorial Stadium tonight.
Goals from triallist Harry White and Jamie White early in the second half enabled Rovers to overcome a Gloucester side who had taken a 40th minute lead through former Rovers midfielder Matt Groves.
McChrystal, Ellis Harrison, Jamie White and Will Puddy provided the experience in the side, and on the bench Marcus Stewart included 15 year old schoolboy Lewis Ellington and triallist Harry White, the Banbury United striker.
There was a tentative start from both sides and it was ten minutes before we saw the first goal attempt of the evening, when Ryan Broom’s effort was deflected behind for a corner.
Harrison also saw a powerful drive deflected behind, while at the other end the experienced Charlie Griffin was just wide of the target with his first effort of the evening.
Puddy was the first of the two goalkeepers to be called into action and he made a comfortable save from Groves on 25 minutes.
Shortly afterwards Griffin should have given his side the lead but, somehow, he managed to lift the ball over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
A looping header from Jamie White produced a comfortable save from Jamie Stephens, and the visitors then took the lead on 40 minutes.
Groves hit a cross over from the right that evaded everyone, including Puddy, and the ball nestled in the top corner of the net.
Rovers made a double substitution at the start of the second half, sending on Ellington in place of Broom and Harry White in place of Harrison.
Within eight minutes of the restart Harry White levelled the scores when his powerful header from a right wing corner beat Stephens.
The keeper was picking the ball out of the net again less than a minute later when Jamie White’s near post header gave Rovers the lead with his first goal in a Rovers shirt.
Tom Webb squandered an opportunity to level the scores again when, unmarked, he shot over the bar when it looked easier to hit the target.
At the other end a powerful drive from Dominic Thomas forced Stephens into a smart save and Ellington saw his cross touched round the post by the shot stopper.
Puddy saved well from Groves who almost levelled the scores in the final minute but, fortunately, he fired just wide of the upright and Rovers held on to go through to the next round where they face a home tie against Cirencester Town on a date to be arranged.
Rovers: Will Puddy, Tyler Lyttle, Tom Fry, Danny Greenslade, Mark McChrystal, Jay Malpas, Aaron Ward-Baptiste, Dominic Thomas, Ellis Harrison (Harry White, 46), Jamie White, Ryan Broom (Lewis Ellington, 46)
Substitutes: George Corp, Alfie Kilgour, Kieran Preston
Gloucester City: Jamie Stephens, Sam Avery, Billy Jones, Mike Green, Josh Poole, Adam Connolly (Jody Nkusa, 65), Chris Jones (Chris Gregan, 25), Tom Webb, Charlie Griffin (Adam Mann, 65), Joe Parker, Matt Groves
Substitutes: Marc Richards, Harvey Rivers
Referee: Rob Cockle