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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

02 December 2023 Venue Weston Homes Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English FA Cup

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Match Reports

REPORT | Peterborough United 2 Rovers 1

2 December 2023

Rovers exited the Emirates FA Cup after a brave, battling performance at Sky Bet League One high-flyers Peterborough United.

Goals from Harrison Burrows and Ephron Mason-Clark had the hosts ahead at a bitterly cold Weston Homes Stadium before a superb Mo Faal header saw Rovers pile on late pressure in search for the equaliser.

There was dogged defending on display from Rovers and smart play on the break while keeper Louis Jones made a string of excellent saves to prevent Peterborough from extending their advantage.

Grant McCann made three changes to the side that started the midweek win over Colchester United with Luke Molyneux, George Broadbent and Joseph Olowu returning to the XI.

The hosts were ahead inside the first three minutes when an in-swinging cross from Harrison Burrows evaded everyone and bounced in at the far post.

Rovers almost found an immediate response. Broadbent was played into space on the edge of the box and clipped a pass inside for Mo Faal who was denied at close range by Nicholas Bilokapic.

The Posh keeper was on hand again soon after to tip away a powerful header from Luke Molynuex.

Jones needed to be alert to push away a goalbound ball from Ephron Mason-Clark after the wide man got in behind.

Owen Bailey made a stunning - and painful - block on the line to keep out a powerful strike from Ricky Jade-Jones.

Peterborough had a huge chance midway through the half when a fortunate bounce of the ball allowed Jones to release Kwame Poku clean through, only for the Ghanaian to see his low strike from the corner of the box tipped wide by Louis Jones.

And it was the start of a period in which the homegrown keeper produced a string of vital saves.

Jones made an excellent stop after Ricky Jade Jones was played clean through on goal before parrying away an awkward, bouncing strike from Archie Collins.

And the Rovers keeper got down well to keep out a Joel Randall free kick.

Faal was inches away from levelling the tie as he brought down a deep corner and poked a shot that hit the outside of the post.

Randall latched onto a pass from Poku to go one-on-one but Jones was equal to his effort once again as half time approached.

But it was Rovers who had the last chance of the half as Broadbent smashed a shot over the bar at the end of a promising breakaway.

Peterborough threatened early in the second half with Jones keeping out an angled drive from Mason-Clark before Bailey made a brilliant sliding challenge to prevent Randall from poking home from six yards.

Molyneux saw a shot blocked by Ronnie Edwards before Posh found their second on 53 minutes when Mason-Clark cut in off the left and drilled a low shot home across goal from the corner of the box.

Jones failed to turn a low centre home from close range before Tom Anderson produced an excellent block to keep out Josh Knight’s powerful strike.

Rovers looked to have found a route back into the game on 68 minutes when Faal poked a header from Ironside over the line only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.

But Rovers did get off the mark on 75 minutes as Faal powered home a header from a Ben Close cross.

Jones ensured the margin remained at one mere seconds after the restart as he denied Ricky-Jade Jones from point blank range.

Rovers piled on the pressure in the later stages in search for the equaliser. Substitute Kyle Hurst saw a volley strike the post before Close’s follow-up strike was blocked by Ronnie Edwards.

Jones was sent up for a last gasp corner but the breakthrough would not come as Rovers exited at the second round stage.

Rovers: Jones, Bailey, Anderson, Olowu, Nixon (Rowe 60), Broadbent, Close, Maxwell (Hurst 70), Molyneux, Faal (Roberts 87) Ironside. Subs not used: Lawlor, Biggins, Degruchy, Straughan-Brown, Kuleya, Goodman.

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