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Rovers 2 Oldham Athletic 1

26 January 2019

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Late drama at the Keepmoat Stadium saw Rovers progress through to the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time in 63 years against Oldham Athletic.

Ben Whiteman’s double saw Rovers through at the Keepmoat Stadium, with his brace including a last-minute penalty, and for the first time since 1956, Rovers would be in the last-16 of the famous competition.

It would be Rovers with the first chance early in the first half, with a corner from Danny Andrew sailing over the penalty area into the path of Whiteman on the edge of the box.

He took a touch before sending a half-volley towards goal, only to see his effort flash just wide of the left post.

James Coppinger would be next to try his luck, with the ball falling to him on the edge of the area after Kieran Sadlier’s corner bounced around the 18-yard box, but Daniel Iversen was able to parry the ball away from danger.

A brilliant Whiteman through ball would then be flicked on by the returning Herbie Kane into Alfie May, and his little solo run through the middle was almost rewarded.

He worked his way through the Oldham midfield and opened up enough space to get a shot on goal, only to see Iversen down well to his left to save.

May was involved in Rovers next big chance to go in front, with his through ball dummied by Kane and ending up at the feet of John Marquis.

He took the ball around Iversen and looked to slot the ball into the net, only to see Latics skipper Peter Clarke back on the line in the nick of time to put the ball behind for a Rovers corner.

After the interval it would be more of the same from the hosts, with Sadlier immediately on the front foot on his full Rovers debut.

His run down the left-hand side saw him create enough space to cut back onto his right foot and curl an effort on goal from the corner of the penalty area.

His strike looked destined for the corner, only for the forward to see Iversen at full stretch to tip the ball behind for another corner.

The intensity of the game would really start to pick up in the second half, with the fourth round tie being a real end-to-end encounter, and from another Rovers break away, Coppinger would again go close.

Kane’s overlap on the left saw him with enough space to pick out Coppinger, and his shot on goal from eight yards looked like going in before a Latics defender managed to get a block in.

The Latics would have their first real chance of the game just shy of the hour mark, with Chris O’Grady’s turn and cross into the path of Jose Baxter, only for the former Everton and Sheffield United man to send a header into the side netting.

Johan Branger then saw Marko Marosi on top form to deny him the opening goal, with a smart stop from a close-range effort following Tom Hamer’s run and cross down the right-hand side.

Rovers though were patient, and finally got the goal they deserved on 68 minutes, and it would be a strike that was well worth the wait.
May’s run down the left saw him pull the ball back to Kane, and he in turn laid the ball off for Whiteman.

He took a touch to set himself before unleashing a powerful effort from 20 yards out past Iversen and into the back of the net to hand the hosts the lead.

Marquis and Kane would then have their own chances to extend Rovers advantage, both seeing efforts blocked by Iversen in the Latics goal in quick succession.

The Latics almost made Rovers pay for their missed chances through Chris Missilou’s curler from distance, with the midfielder’s shot hitting the outside of Marosi’s left post, before Callum Lang put the ball into the side netting once more for the visitors with the follow-up.

There would be late drama at the Keepmoat Stadium, with the Latics getting back on level terms six minutes from the end of normal time.

A free kick from the edge of the box would be deflected in to the path of Clarke who slotted the ball home into the empty net from six yards out.

Clarke, however, would be at the heart of more controversy as the game ticked towards added time, with Andrew’s corner bouncing about and hitting a Latics’ hand, seemingly that of their skipper.

After consultation with an assistant, referee Peter Bankes pointed to the spot, and Whiteman would convert the penalty, sending Iversen the wrong way and putting Rovers back ahead.

To add to his misery, Clarke would be shown a second yellow card after a high challenge on Marosi in the sixth minute of injury time, and Rovers would hang on to seal progression into the fifth round for the first time since 1956.


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