No Rovers return

Andy Munro sees Blues set off on the road to Wembley.

Blues polished off a team seen as potential giantkillers when probably the level of investment in both teams is fairly similar. It certainly wasn’t a walk in the park but, in truth, Bristol Rovers were a poor side with probably their most influential player George Boyd’s twin brother in midfield. Fair play to him as he battled on despite repeatedly being asked by the crowd about the location of his caravan.

Early on there wasn’t much in it and Doyle had to show that he still had his reflexes intact to defy a one on one situation. However Blues gradually exerted control despite a bit of inconsistent passing from the likes of Ollie Lee and should have been several goals up before they actually scored. The goal came from the unlikely source of Robbo who showed Ziggy the correct way to head a ball with power and direction.

Blues continued to dominate but due to a combination of wayward crossing and immobile central attackers,they failed to add to the lead. The concern of being subjected to the misery of extra time on a miserable night weatherwise continued to lurk on the horizon with Rovers getting more confident.

Luckily and predictably, it was Chris Burke who put daylight between the two sides with a well placed shot past the onrushing keeper. Clarke then made a couple of subs replacing the impressive Reece Brown and the hard working Shane Ferguson with Wade Elliott and Demarai Grey. Ollie Lee also came off to give Charlie Adams a game. In fact, the latter looked like he was young enough to be the son of the Stoke player.

A third goal followed from Burke, who seems to have regained the telepathic understanding he had with Caddis when the latter first signed for Blues. One final word is respect to a brilliantly vociferous Rovers following. That is what the nup is all about rather than the spectre of Manchester City reserves playing to a half-empty stadium. Certainly they gave a memorable rendition of their anthem, Goodnight Irene, even it was completely inexplicable to anybody under the age of sixty.