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Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 2 Accrington Stanley 2 - Emirates FA Cup

4 November 2023

Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 2 Accrington Stanley 2 - Emirates FA Cup

4 November 2023

Rovers will have to go again in the Emirates FA Cup after being held to a 2-2 draw by Accrington Stanley.

A Kelvin Mellor own goal had Rovers ahead early before a brilliant first half performance during which they could not make their dominance count.

Shaun Whalley equalised for the visitors after the break, and while Harrison Biggins scored a stunning long distance strike, a Seamus Conneely goal secured a draw for Accrington, who will host a replay to decide who progresses.

The showing from Grant McCann’s side in the opening 45 minutes was among the best of the season as Rovers remained on the front foot almost throughout, crafting numerous excellent opportunities.

But it was a case of bemoaning missed chances as they were ultimately pegged back twice by Stanley.

McCann was forced to make two changes from the side that started the win over Grimsby Town as Joseph Olowu and Harrison Biggins returned to the XI in place of the absent Joe Ironside and Ben Close. Richard Wood and James Maxwell returned from their injury lay-offs among the substitutes.

Rovers started with real intent and Luke Molyneux drew an early save from Stanley keeper Jon McCracken, who would go on to play a huge role in the tie.

And Rovers took the lead on nine minutes. Faal sent a header from a corner off the crossbar, with the ball falling to George Broadbent who rifled a shot which took a wicked deflection off Mellor.

Within a matter of minutes the lead was almost doubled. Faal nodded the ball back across goal from the far post and it dropped in front of Molyneux six yards out only for McCracken to make a stunning save.

Molyneux battled with the Accrington keeper throughout and drew another good stop midway through the half as Rovers continued to pile on the pressure.

Broadbent fired wide after excellent work from Tom Nixon before McCracken somehow managed to deny Faal from point blank range as he met a fine ball in from the full back.

Accrington grew into the game as half time approached with skipper Joe Pritchard firing over the bar from the edge of the box while Louis Jones was forced to act to tip over a goalbound cross from Rosarie Longelo.

The visitors were renewed in the second half with Pritchard causing problems with driving runs. And he forced Jones into a good save low at his near post as he latched onto a ball into the box.

McCracken would deny Molyneux again just after the hour mark with the Rovers winger smashing a shot from 20 yards which the keeper managed to push away.

Accrington thought they had the equaliser on 73 minutes when former Rovers loanee Josh Andrews poked home in space inside the box. But, after initially seeing the goal given, it was overturned for offside following a lengthy consultation between the officials.

It only delayed the equaliser for two minutes however. Whalley drove forward with the ball and curled into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Rovers went back in front on 82 minutes when Biggins ran onto a pass and smashed in a shot from 30 yards.

But within three minutes Accrington were level once more when Conneely met a corner at the near post and side-footed home first time to ensure a replay at the Wham Stadium.

Rovers: Jones, Bailey, Anderson, Olowu (Maxwell), Nixon (Goodman 88), Westbrooke, Broadbent (Hurst 59), Senior, Biggins, Molyneux, Faal. Subs not used: Lawlor, Wood, Sotona, Roberts, Kuleya, Degruchy.

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