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4 December 2016

Bristol Rovers 1 - 2 Barrow AFC

Attendance: 4,570 (374 away)

Rovers exited the Emirates FA Cup after Barrow AFC come from behind to secure victory at the Mem, thanks to a brace from striker Byron Harrison.

Heading into the tie, Rovers named a strong side to take on the National League outfit, with just the two changes from the side that started last Saturday's SkyBet League One fixture against Chesterfield. In came Luke James and James Clarke at the expense of Matty Taylor and Jermaine Easter, with Rovers opting to name three centre-backs in the starting XI.

With just nine minutes on the clock, Rovers were able to take an early lead in the tie with their first endeavour on goal, when a quick breakaway that was started by Rory Gaffney saw the striker angle the ball into the path of the advancing Lee Brown, who witnessed his low left-footed effort bounce straight back to him off the inside of the post, but the defender was able to direct another shot on target that was turned into the roof of the net by Gaffney from close-range. 

Barrow responded with an opportunity of their own through wideman Richie Bennett, who took the ball down in the centre of the park and launched a well-struck long-range effort that had Kelle Roos diving to his right, but his shot flew off target and wide. 

The visitors were back level just six minutes after going behind when in-form striker Byron Harrison was able to creep in behind the Rovers defence and latch onto a hopeful ball into the Rovers final-third and with Roos advancing off well off his line, the forward was able to cushion the ball past the 'keeper and into the empty net. 

Barrow cultivated a chance from a set-piece when a delivery into the box via the left-foot of Jordan Williams fell to the unmarked Richard Bennett inside the six-yard box, who was able to take a touch and stab and effort towards goal before the linesman's flag confirmed that the playmaker was in fact offside. 

A route one ball forward by Kelle Roos was misjudged by defender Shaun Beeley and his mistake allowed Luke James to go through on goal, but the forward was unable to control the bouncing ball and Beeley was able to rectify his mistake by dispossessing James before he had a chance to muster a shot on goal.

Goalscorer Harrison again got joy in behind the Rovers defence just prior to half time, with striker cushioning a long-ball forward and taking a touch before sending a low side-footed effort that was blocked by the feet of Roos. The rebound off the Rovers 'keeper eventually fell to Richard Bennett, who took a heavy touch past Roos but dived over the outstretched leg of the Rovers 'keeper and was subsequently caution for simulation. 

Rovers almost retook the lead through Chris Lines, although the midfielder knew little about his effort, as the Rovers playmaker broke into the visitors box in an attempt to connect with a through ball, but when Barrow 'keeper darted off his line to clear, his clearance clattered off Chris Lines and looped towards goal before bouncing narrowly past the post. 

During the break, Rovers introduced Ellis Harrison and changed their setup slightly, with James Clarke the player making way for the striker.

Just minutes after the restart Rovers carved out a golden opportunity on goal when Chris Lines chipped the ball into the feet of Stuart Sinclair, with the midfielder allowed space and time to shoot from inside the area but his effort was charged down by Barrow 'keeper Erlandsson and his rebound was deflected away by the Barrow defence.

Lines was again involved in creating chances for Rovers when a well-directed delivery from a corner managed to find Peter Hartley inside the area, but off balance, the defender couldn't hook his effort back on goal from just yards out. 

Barrow found themselves in front on the hour mark, when a low cross from Jordan Williams evaded the Rovers defence and Byron Harrison timed a run into the box just right to be on hand to deflect the cross into the net for his second goal of the afternoon and to give Barrow the advantage in the tie. 

Rovers made a double change immediately after going behind, with Cristian Montano and Billy Bodin coming off the bench, with Sinclair and James replaced. 

Substitute Montano was able to produce a high-quality cross that wasn't dealt with by the visitors and his delivery reached Bodin inside the box who looked to angle the ball towards goal with his head, but mistimed his header and the chance went amiss.

Bodin was involved moments later when he orchestrated a quick break for Rovers by releasing Rory Gaffney, who drove towards the edge of the box before unleashing a sweetly struck effort that beat Tim Erlandsson but clattered into the crossbar.

Inside the final ten minutes, a ball into the Barrow area fell to the feet of Chris Lines, who was able to set himself before hitting low effort on target that was saved by the feet of 'keeper Erlandsson. The rebound dropped to Rory Gaffney who's snapshot rippled the side netting with Erlandsson stranded on the ground.

Although Rovers enjoyed the majority of late possession, they were unable to create the opportunity to score a late equaliser and Barrow held on to their slim lead during the final exchanges. 

Next up for Rovers is the visit of Bury in SkyBet League One next Saturday at the Mem. 

Rovers: Kelle Roos; Daniel Leadbitter, James Clarke (45' Ellis Harrison), Tom Lockyer (C), Peter Hartley, Lee Brown; Ollie Clarke, Chris Lines, Stuart Sinclair (62' Cristian Montano), Luke James (62' Billy Bodin), Rory Gaffney.

Subs: Kieron Hodges (GK), Lee Mansell, Charlie Colkett, Jermaine Easter. 

Barrow AFC: Tim Erlandsson (G), Shaun Beeley, Nick Anderton, Danny Livesey (C), Moussa Diarra, Alex Ray-Harvey, Richard Bennett (81' Akil Wright), Jordan Williams (89' Lindon Meikle), Liam Hughes, Byron Harrison, Ryan Yates.

Andy Coughlin (G), Andy Haworth, Ross Hannah, Euan Murray, Myles Anderson.Subs:

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