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Report: Rovers 0-1 Doncaster Rovers

Taylor Richards' strike is the difference as Rovers bow out of the Emirates FA Cup

9 January 2021

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Taylor Richards' strike sent Rovers out of the Emirates FA Cup as Doncaster Rovers earned a narrow victory at Ewood Park to book their place in round four of the competition.

Sloppy defending allowed Richards to roam from midfield before his effort from the edge of the box squirmed under Aynsley Pears just before the break.

Rovers improved after the break, with the best opportunities falling to Bradley Dack and John Buckley, who both couldn't find a way past debutant Ellery Balcombe in the Donny goal.

Dack and Buckley were two of six changes made by Tony Mowbray for the cup tie, with Pears, Stewart Downing, Tom Trybull and Tyrys Dolan joining the duo in the starting XI.

It was an even start to the encounter in frosty conditions, with the returning Pears doing well to smother after Tyreece John-Jules was played in behind the Rovers backline on 12 minutes.

Another let off came a couple of minutes later as Darren Moore's side produced some fine football again to work the next move.

Patient play saw the ball played through to the impressive Richards, but the Brighton & Hove Albion loanee fired wide after skipping inside Amari'i Bell.

At the other end, Ben Brereton worked a chance but fired over Balcombe's upright as the half passed the mid-point at a freezing Ewood Park.

However, with just three minutes to go until the break, the visitors took the lead through the dangerous Richards.

The midfielder ran from the halfway line unchallenged and, going for goal from the edge of the box, the former Manchester City trainee saw his strike slither under Pears and into the bottom corner.

That goal meant Rovers went into the interval behind, with the boss making a change for the beginning of the second half with Barry Douglas on to replace Bell.

Rovers did improve after the break, and Downing's superb corner was headed onto his own crossbar by visiting defender Tom Anderson.

A moment later and Dack turned wide of the target after fine build up play down the left between Brereton and Douglas, as the home side began to up the ante.

At the other end, Fejiri Okenabirhie saw his left-footed effort held by Pears as Donny kept Rovers busy in defence with the hour mark approaching.

The emergence of Harvey Elliott and Joe Rothwell from the bench added an extra dimension to the side, with the former lashing just wide a moment after entering the action.

Time was running out, but Balcombe pulled off an excellent double save to keep out Elliott and then Dack's follow up, the latter stop being the most spectacular with under 20 minutes remaining.

The hosts continued to probe, and Armstrong saw his strike hacked off the line as the clock ticked to 84 minutes.

Three minutes later and a glorious chance came and went as Buckley could only prod wide after Rothwell fed the right back in behind with a tantalising ball in.

And that was to be the final action of what was to be a disappointing day on home turf.

Rovers: Pears, Buckley, Lenihan (c), Johnson, Bell (Douglas, 46), Trybull (Armstrong, 65), Travis (Elliott, 58), Downing (Rothwell, 58), Dolan, Dack (Davenport, 73), Brereton.

Unused substitutes: Kaminski, Gallagher, Grayson, Pike.

Booked: Downing, 35, Travis, 40, Elliott, 81, Davenport, 90.

Doncaster Rovers: Balcombe, Halliday, James, Anderson (c), Wright, Okenabirhie (Amos, 80), Richards (Lokilo, 67), John-Jules, Butler, Simoes, John.

Unused substitutes: Jones, Williams, Coppinger, Blythe, Ravenhill.

Goal: Richards, 43

Booked: John, 81.

Referee: Samuel Barrott.

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