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Match Reports

Bristol Rovers v Blades

3 November 2012

Rovers 1-2 Blades - report

An improved second half performance helped the Blades progress to the second round of the FA Cup.

Trailing to David Clarkson's early strike, second half goals from Nick Blackman and Chris Porter secured victory over the League Two strugglers.

Manager Wilson, back in the city where he previously managed, made just one change with Miller replacing Williams, who dropped to the bench. It appeared, from the early match-ups, that the Blades were employing more of a 4-3-3 formation and Miller and Blackman flanking Porter up top.

It was clear, though, that Flynn was playing more infield in the system and he was involved heavily early on, robbing Clarkson to present Porter with a chance, which was dragged wide. Flynn was the one dispossessed by Riordan from McMahon's pass and CLARKSON was allowed to progress without challenge before firing past Long from 20 yards to give the home side the lead on five minutes.

The Blades hit back with chances from Blackman, he cut in from the right but saw his shot blocked, and Flynn, who attempted to catch out goalkeeper Walker with an effort with the outside of his right boot.

Riordan fired wide for the home side, whilst the Blades put pressure on the Rovers goal on 32 minutes when Miller struck the crossbar from Porter's knockdown. However, the whistle had already gone and Miller was cautioned by referee Graham, presumably for handball. In addition, also before half-time two Rovers players were cautioned, as was McDonald for a crude challenge.

There were further chances at both ends before the interval - Broghammer shot over after United were caught on the break and Flynn sliced wide after a McMahon free-kick. In the three minutes of added time, Blackman went down but no penalty was forthcoming and a McMahon shot, in the same move, was fingertipped wide by Walker.

Doyle fired a half-volley wide just 17 seconds after the restart and McDonald hit a first timer at goalkeeper Walker from an acute angle as United looked more at the races in the second half - that fact was confirmed on 53 minutes when the equaliser arrived. Miller and Porter were both involved but the majority of the credit for the goal goes to scorer BLACKMAN, who, from the left channel, powered a left-footer into the opposite top corner, giving Walker no chance.

United, now bossing the tie, grabbed the lead nine minutes later. McDonald's corner from the left was headed down by Collins and PORTER found himself in an unmarked position and simply slotted under the exposed frame of Walker. From the next set-piece, another McDonald corner, Porter was denied a second when Brown kicked off the line and before the move was over Miller curled over the crossbar.

Williams replaced Blackman as Wilson's first change, allowing Miller to move more central, whilst Rovers made a triple change with 15 minutes remaining. Cresswell was the next introduced and was quickly as industrious as ever.

As the game entered the final ten minutes Rovers upped their work-rate in search of a leveller and Lund headed over a corner. The Blades withstood the pressure and as four minutes of added time was announced Lund's free-kick was well held by Long. Later in injury-time, Maguire was cool to chest back to Long as the Blades held on to secure a place in the second round draw.

Rovers: Walker, Smith, Paterson, Kenneth, L. Brown, Clucas (W. Brown 75), Clarkson, Lund, Broghammer (Richards 75), Eaves (Norburn 75), Riordan.
Unused: Gough, Clarke, Lockyer, Hunter.

Blades: Long, Maguire, Hill, Flynn, Doyle, Porter (Cresswell 78), Blackman (Williams 71), McDonald, Miller, Collins, McMahon.
Unused: Westlake, McAllister, Cofie, Ironside, Willis.

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