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Match Report


Posted Sat 14 Feb 15 at 17:00 PM

Report: Rovers 4 Stoke City 1

A sensational Josh King hat-trick fired Rovers into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup at the expense of Stoke City.

The Norwegian and fellow goalscorer Rudy Gestede put in a scintillating display of attacking football as Rovers put another Premier League side to the sword in the competition.

Peter Crouch's 10th minute opener seemed a distant memory as King and Gestede took control with the Potters having no answer to the pairing's forward play.

King had served notice when he struck the bar before he levelled for Rovers with a close-range header on 36. The forward reacting quickly to nod home Shane Duffy's header.

Rovers ended the half in front as Gestede scored from the spot after Stoke defender Geoff Cameron saw red for fouling King.

The start of the second half saw Rovers move up another gear with two goals in five minutes.

Both were teed up by Gestede, both saw King race through to cooly slot home to put the game beyond the visitors.

Rovers could have had more as they dominated the second period, Gestede perhaps harshly seeing a fifth goal chalked off at the end for a foul on Jack Butland.

The win sees Rovers into the last eight of the competition and eagerly awaiting Monday night's draw.

Ahead of the game Rovers made eight changes from the side that defeated Rotherham United on Tuesday night.

Simon Eastwood, Adam Henley, Shane Duffy, Chris Taylor, Lee Williamson, Ben Marshall, Rudy Gestede and Josh King all came into the starting XI, whilst in contrast the visitors made just the one change from their midweek loss to Manchester City as Jack Butland replaced Asmir Begovic in goal.

It was a stop-start opening to the match at Ewood Park with both Ben Marshall and Mame Biram Diouf needing treatment in the early exchanges.

When the football was being played it was Rovers looking the livelier, with King and Gestede causing the opposition defenders trouble.

The home side's start was bright, but like the match against Swansea City in the previous round, it was the visitors who scored the opening goal.

From the first corner of the game in the tenth minute the Potters took the lead, Victor Moses' centre was kept alive and Peter Crouch did the rest in forcing the ball home.

The giant striker really does like playing against Rovers as it was his ninth goal in ninth games against the blue and whites.

Rovers swiftly made a change as Marshall, who looked to be struggling with a shoulder injury, made way for Craig Conway.

There was then a further delay to proceedings as Steven Nzonzi needed to be patched up after a collision with Gestede.

Stoke went close to doubling their advantage on the quarter hour with Diouf denied at the near post by Eastwood, before Marko Arnautovic fired into the side-netting.

Rovers responded by striking the woodwork, Conway's centre deflected into the path of King but the Norwegian's effort clipped the top of the bar.

Eastwood kept out a shot across the bows from Victor Moses, the rebound arriving at the feet of Diouf but the former Rovers skied his effort from 12 yards.

That would prove to be the last chance the visitors would get as Rovers ended the first half very much on the up.

King had caused the Stoke defence no end of problems in a lively first half, and he would draw Rovers level on 36 minutes.

As Conway sent a corner into the box, Shane Duffy headed goalwards and King, stationed in front of Stoke keeper Jack Butland, nodded the ball home for his second of the season.

With their tails up Rovers sensed a second and it should have arrived on 44 minutes. King burst through on the left to square for Gestede but the striker fluffed his lines front of goal and the chance was gone.

Despite all the stoppages for injuries it was still perhaps surprising that eight additional minutes were shown but Rovers took full advantage.

Duffy had already gone close with a header that landed on the roof of the net, but six minutes into added time Stoke were reduced to ten men and Rovers were awarded a penalty.

Inevitably it was King once again, the Norwegian escaping in the box only to be hauled back by defender Geoff Cameron, the Stoke player seeing red as he was last man.

With usual penalty taker Jordan Rhodes on the bench, Rudy Gestede took the honours and made no mistake as Butland dived in the opposite direction.

It was a sensational end to the first half but it would be topped by the first ten minutes of the second half when Rovers - and King - grabbed two further goals.

On 50 minutes Gestede and King combined to devasting effect, the Benin international lifting the ball over the back of the Stoke defence for the Norwegian to run onto and cool as you like he slotted the ball underneath the advancing Butland to make it 3-1 to the home side.

Five minutes later and it was 4-1, and again the front two combined for the same result. Gestede threading the ball beyond Stoke and King did the rest in placing his shot into the far corner of the net to complete an incredible hat-trick.

Three goals and a man to the good Rovers were coasting. Corry Evans, on for Lee Williamson at the start of the second half, stung the gloves of Butland, before a Gestede header almost fell to Chris Taylor in the area as the midfielder looked to notch once more in the competition.

Butland denied Gestede with a smart save from his header before Conway lead the Stoke defence a merry dance as he cut inside, but his shot back from where he came flashed wide.

Mark Hughes' side offered very little as an attacking force in the second half, a Mame Biram Diouf shot that was high and wide their only token effort.

In a match littered with bookings, fourth official Andre Marriner added to the confusion with four minutes left when following a yellow card for Stoke captain Glenn Whelan, he told referee Andrew Taylor that the midfielder had already been booked. Taylor branded a red card to Whelan who immediately protested his innocence. After further discussion between the officials, Whelan was rightly allowed to remain on.

Simon Eastwood, a spectator for much of the game, delighted the home supporters when he raced off his line to claim the ball at the feet of Diouf after the former Rovers had broken through.

Instead it was Rovers who thought they had added a fifth goal on 90 minutes when Gestede poked home after Butland had failed to hold a Conway centre, but the striker was adjudged to have fouled the keeper.

To the delight of the home fans Rovers controlled the game until the end, all can now look forward to Monday night's draw for the quarter-finals.

ROVERS: Eastwood, Henley, Duffy, Kilgallon (c), Olsson, Taylor, Cairney, Williamson (sub Evans 46 mins), Marshall (sub Conway 11 mins), Gestede, King (sub Varney 78 mins).

Subs not used: Steele (GK), Spurr, Hanley, Rhodes.

Goals: King 36, 51, 55 mins, Gestede 45+7 mins.

Booked: Williamson, Evans, Cairney.

STOKE CITY: Butland, Bardsley, Muniesa (sub Sidwell 52 mins), Whelan (c), Arnautovic (sub Wilkinson 46 mins), Moses (sub Adam 67 mins), Nzonzi, Biram Diouf, Cameron, Crouch, Wollscheid.

Subs not used: Sorensen (GK), Palacios, Teixeira, Shenton.

Goals: Crouch 10 mins.

Booked: Biram Diouf, Wollscheid, Bardsley, Whelan.

Off: Cameron.

Attendance: 13,934 (including 4737 visiting supporters).

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