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3-1
04 November 2017 Venue Ewood Park Attendance

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Report: Rovers 3 Barnet 1

Second-half goals from Nuttall, Graham and Antonsson see us through to the second round

4 November 2017

Joe Nuttall came off the bench to inspire Rovers to a 3-1 victory over Barnet in the first round of the FA Cup.

Trailing at the break to Simeon Akinola's opener, Nuttall was introduced at half-time and fired Rovers level just past the hour mark with his second senior goal in as many games.

The in-form youngster then had a hand in Rovers' second, feeding Bradley Dack, who claimed his second assist of the game, playing in Danny Graham, who smashed a superb shot into the far corner.

Substitute Marcus Antonsson wrapped things up nine minutes from time, drilling a low left-foot shot into the bottom corner, as Rovers survived a scare to book their place in round two.  

Manager Tony Mowbray named a strong starting line-up for the game, with Charlie Mulgrew, Paul Downing, Derrick Williams, Dack and Graham all keeping their place in the side from Tuesday's fixture with Fleetwood.

Goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler was handed his Rovers debut, Corry Evans and Paul Caddis came back into the side, whilst Ben Gladwin, Rekeem Harper and Sam Hart were given a chance to impress.

After scoring on his league debut in midweek, Nuttall was once again on the bench, where he was joined by Elliott Bennett, who was back from a ban. 

Dominic Samuel and Richie Smallwood were missing through suspension, whilst Craig Conway and Harry Chapman (both hamstring) joined long-term absentee Darragh Lenihan (foot) on the sidelines. 

Barnet were dealt a blow in the warm-up, as captain Jamal Campbell-Ryce had to be replaced by Wesley Fonguck in the starting line-up.

Following a fitting Remembrance Day tribute pre-match, Rovers started brightly, with Dack seeing a left-foot shot from the edge of the area deflect just wide on 11 minutes, before Graham was played through on goal, but Craig Ross made a smart save.

Barnet grew into the game and registered their first attempt at the midway point in the half, as a cross from the left found Alex Nicholls unmarked at the back post, but his header was straight at Leutwiler. 

Soon after, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro's shot was blocked behind by Harper.
 
Just past the half-hour mark, the visitors took the lead. Dack was caught in possession by Jack Taylor, who burst into the box, before squaring the ball for Akinola to tap home.

Rovers almost hit back immediately as Gladwin unleashed a crisp strike from the edge of the area, which Ross tipped over the bar.

Moments later, Evans was guilty of giving away possession and Mauro Vilhete dragged a shot wide.

Evans almost drew Rovers level on the stroke of half-time, but his shot from outside the area deflected just wide.

After a dismal first-half display, Mowbray made a change at the break, with Nuttall coming on for Hart, as Rovers reverted to a back four.

The hosts started the second half strongly, forcing a series of early corners, in which Mulgrew twice went close and Graham had a header cleared off the line.

On 54 minutes, Gladwin delivered a pin-point cross from the right and the unmarked Nuttall volleyed just over the upright. 

However, the youngster wasn't to be denied, as he did fire Rovers level with their next attack on 63 minutes. 

Evans played the ball through to Dack, who unselfishly squared the ball to Nuttall, who rifled home his second goal in as many games - and 15th in all competitions this season.

Straight from the restart and Rovers almost went in front. Graham charged down a clearance and raced through on goal, but the Barnet defender just got back to deflect his shot behind.

A minute later, Dack delivered a corner from the right and Nuttall's stabbed effort goalwards went just the wrong side of the post.  

He threatened again soon after, latching onto a poor back pass, but he just couldn't round the keeper.

However, Rovers did add a second with their next attack, 20 minutes from time. Nuttall played the ball into the feet of Dack, who slipped in Graham and the striker fired the ball into the far corner from an acute angle. 

Antonsson then made the game safe nine minutes from time. Picking up possession on the right, he drove infield before drilling a low left-foot shot into the bottom corner from outside the area.

The Swede came close to a second late on, as Rovers avoided an upset to book their place in Monday's draw.

ROVERS: Leutwiler, Caddis, Downing, Mulgrew, Williams, Hart (Nuttall 46), Harper, Evans, Gladwin (Antonsson 70), Dack (Bennett 74), Graham. 
Subs not used: Raya, Ward, Nyambe, Whittingham.

Booked: Evans
Goals: Nuttall (63), Graham (70), Antonsson (81)

BARNET: Ross, Clough, Santos, Watson, J. Taylor, Tutonda, Akinola (Bover 71), Fonguck (Aghadiuno 82), Vilhete, Nicholls, Akpa Akpro. 
Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle, Nelson, H. Taylor, Blackman.

Goal: Akinola (31)

Attendance: 3,710 (233 Barnet fans)

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