Sky Bet League One strugglers Bristol Rovers are out of this season’s Emirates FA Cup after crashing to a 2-1 defeat to non-league outfit Barnet in their first round replay at The Memorial Stadium this evening.
The two sides played out a 1-1 draw in the initial match at The Hive 10 days ago and it was Barnet who were to win the replay despite the home side having taken the lead in the South West.
Bristol Rovers were the better of the two sides in the first half with Alex Rodman looking particularly lively but Darrell Clarke’s side were unable to find the opening goal as the half ended goalless.
The Pirates finally opened the scoring just after the hour mark when Kyle Bennett teed up Tom Nichols to net with an effort from inside the box.
A home tie with National League North side Stockport County in the second round looked to be edging closer for Rovers until a late collapse left Clarke’s men focussing solely on Sky Bet League One survival. First, Craig Robson levelled matters for Barnet when he rifled in following a set piece before troublesome forward Byron Harrison struck the winning goal from point blank range for the visitors two minutes later.
The defeat will hurt Bristol Rovers on two fronts. They will be thoroughly disappointed not to have had the opportunity to play a side three divisions lower than them in the second round with the prospect of a money-spinning tie in the third round while defeat to a Barnet side who are occupying mid-table in The National League will certainly be viewed as embarrassing.