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Match Reports

Rovers v Manchester City

4 January 2014

Rovers 1 Manchester City 1

Rovers and Manchester City will do battle once more after a pulsating FA Cup tie ended 1-1 at Ewood Park.

After a first half in which Rovers were the dominant side, they were unfortunate to trail at the break as Alvaro Negredo fired home from Edin Dzeko's flick.

However Rovers had the perfect response, equalising just ten minutes after the restart with a goal from a Ben Marshall corner. Scott Dann firing home from close-range after Costel Pantilimon couldn't hold Rudy Gestede's header.

After that it was Rovers who could secured their place in the fourth round. Chris Taylor, DJ Campbell and Jordan Rhodes all going close, but they couldn't grab the winner and now face a replay at the Etihad Stadium in 11 days time.

Rovers made three changes for the hugely anticipated cup match and it was a very welcome return to action for Paul Robinson, back in the stating eleven for the first time in 13 months following complications after a back operation.

The Rovers' number one replaced Simon Eastwood who dropped to the bench.

Also back into the starting eleven came Academy graduates Adam Henley and Jason Lowe, they replaced DJ Campbell and Jordan Rhodes who were named amongst the substitutes.

For the visitors, they made seven changes from the side that beat Swansea 3-2 on New Years Day.

Despite the early start to the day Rovers were up for it from the opening whistle. Just six minutes in and they had the ball in the back of the net, but Rudy Gestede was adjudged to have handled in his goalmouth tussle with Joleon Lescott.

Rovers' five-man midfield was working tirelessly, closing down City, not giving them a moment's peace. That was epitomised on 18 minutes when Jason Lowe stole the ball to feed Chris Taylor but his shot deflected wide.

The resulting corner saw Scott Dann head goalwards but Pantilimon claimed the ball.

The returning Paul Robinson had a relatively quiet opening half hour, making a comfortable save from Fernandinho before bravely claiming the ball after Negredo's clever flick.

Both sides skied efforts, David Silva for City, Chris Taylor for Rovers, but it was the visitors who ended the half the stronger and grabbed the all-important opener on the stroke of half-time.

David Silva's corner from the left was flicked on by Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo for once escaped the clutches of Grant Hanley to fire home at the back post.

There was a hint of offside but the goal stood.

The second half started like the first with Rovers taking the game to their illustrious opponents, and within ten minutes of the restart they would get an equaliser their commitment deserved.

Like the City goal it came from a corner, Ben Marshall sending the ball over from the right to where Rudy Gestede powered a header goalwards, Pantilimon couldn't hold and Scott Dann was on hand to grab his first goal of the season from close-range.

Urged on by the home faithful, Rovers sensed an upset, a long throw from Tommy Spurr caused consternation but man-of-the-match Tom Cairney couldn't convert.

Then great play by Gestede and Jason Lowe saw the ball swept to the near post but Chris Taylor fired over.

City responded with a chance of their own as Paul Robinson denied Edin Dzeko, the ball ran to Negredo but his diving header went wide of the post.

With the visitors making little headway they threw on Yaya Toure, whilst Rovers introduced Josh King for Lee Williamson.

Another City substitute, Jesus Navas, tested Rovers with pretty much his first touch, a shot from the edge of the box seemed to be heading for the far corner but Robinson dived full length to tip the ball behind.

With ten minutes to go Rovers made a double change, sending on Jordan Rhodes and DJ Campbell, showing their attacking intent. Almost immediately it paid dividends as the strike duo combined, Rhodes crossing for Campbell but his header went just wide.

With five minutes left and the momentum firmly behind Rovers, City were reduced to ten men as defender Dedryck Boyata saw red for a second yellow card. The defender had earlier fouled Josh King, then followed that up with a needless trip on DJ Campbell for which he was sent down the tunnel.

The home side pressed, Cairney wide with a shot on the turn that flashed wide, before magnificent play from Campbell saw him find Rhodes but he could only put his shot over the bar.

It was a display full of heart and commitment, the draw means the two sides will meet again at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday 15th January.

ROVERS: Robinson, Henley, Dann (c), Hanley, Spurr, Williamson (sub King 65 mins), Lowe, Cairney, Taylor, Marshall (sub Campbell 81 mins), Gestede (sub Rhodes 81 mins).

Subs not used: Eastwood (GK), Kilgallon, Rochina, Judge.

Goals: Dann 55 mins

Booked: None

MAN CITY: Pantilimon, Lescott (c), Nastasic, Clichy, Boyata, Javier Garcia, Fernandinho (sub Yaya Toure 64 mins), Milner, Negredo (sub Jesus Navas 75 mins), David Silva (sub Zabaleta 88 mins), Dzeko.

Subs not used: Hart (GK), Kompany, Kolarov, Lopes.

Goals: Negredo 45 mins

Booked: Nastisic, Boyata.

Off: Boyata 85 mins.

Attendance: 18,813 (including 7526 visiting supporters).

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