Rams edge out brave Rovers
FA Cup 4th Rd - 27.01.07
Peschisolido still has what it takes.
Paul Peschisolido came of the bench, and broke the hearts of 10-man Bristol Rovers with a late goal as the Rams advanced to the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory at Pride Park.
Peschisolido, on as a 73rd minute replacement for Arturo Lupoli, took just eight minutes to find the net when he finished coolly from just inside the area after being played in by Seth Johnson.
It was a little harsh on the League Two side who played their part in an entertaining game and created the better chances but who were forced to battle bravely for the final 20 minutes after Aaron Lescott was sent off for a lunging tackle on Lupoli.
Derby manager Billy Davies made five changes to the side that beat Southend. Defender Dean Leacock and winger Gary Teale, were missing, Leacock served a one-match suspension after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season, while Teale was cup-tied. Michael Johnson and Giles Barnes deputised while Richard Jackson and Johnson replaced Marc Edworthy and Stephen Pearson respectively. Lupoli who scored a hat-trick against Wrexham in the previous round came in for David Jones.
Bristol Rovers were boosted by the return from suspension of Captain Stuart Campbell and Sammy Igoe, the duo replaced Lewis Haldane and Chris Lines in midfield. Rovers boss Paul Trollope, a former Rams player, said his side would not be daunted by the 56 league places separating the two sides before kick-off and that proved to be the case.
Richard Walker and Igoe came closest for Rovers with headers in quick succession at the end of the first half. Walker, who has scored in every round of the cup, must have thought he had maintained his record when he met Andy Sandell`s cross but Stephen Bywater produced a first class save to tip the ball over the crossbar. The Rams keeper was busy again moments later when he denied Igoe at point-blank range following Chris Carruthers` pinpoint cross.
Derby were struggling to get a grip in midfield and a defensive mix up almost handed the lead to Rovers. Richard Jackson`s pass back rolled past Bywater and towards his own goal, in a comical mix up, but Bywater won the race with Walker to slide and hack the ball of the line and out for a corner, much to the relief of Jackson.
The visitors continued to press, and their 5,800 supporters thought they had the lead when Sandell and Bywater went up for a ball following a corner but his effort, a little harshly was ruled out by referee Andy D`Urso for a foul on Bywater.
Lupoli created Derby`s best opportunities in a lack lustre opening period but both of his shots from the edge of the area missed the target, before the Italian set up Barnes, whose 25-yard drive was well held by Steve Phillips.
The Rams returned after the break, with Billy Davies half time address still ringing in their ears. Derby improved and after a sustained period of pressure, Steve Howard fired a shot from the edge of the area just wide. This was more like it, and the Rams faithful came alive, Darren Moore went close with a header that had to be cleared off his own goal line by Carruthers in the 55th minute, but Rovers continued to create chances of their own.
A brisk counter-attack saw Walker through on goal with just Bywater to beat but he shot straight at the keeper. The Rams keeper was in the action again midway through the half to thwart Walker again, this time producing a superb fingertip save to tip the ball around the far post.
The complex of the game changed with the dismissal of Lescott, and Walker was the man sacrificed as Ryan Green slotted into the defence, leaving Lambert to plough a lone furrow up front.
The enforced move stunted Rovers` as an attacking force as the League Two side began to run out of steam.
Then came the introduction for Peschisolido, and the veteran striker didn`t let the fans down, and there was no way back for the Gasman after the goal. Although they forced three late corners, with even keeper Phillips in the area, the Rams survived. Rovers can hold their heads high after a plucky performance, but it`s the Rams who advance from round four of the cup for the first time in eight years.
Derby: Bywater, Jackson, Moore, Michael Johnson, Camara, Fagan (Bisgaard 85), Malcolm (Smith 81), Seth Johnson, Barnes, Lupoli (Peschisolido 73), Howard.
Subs Not Used: Edworthy, Oakley.
Bristol Rovers: Phillips, Lescott, Hinton, Elliott, Carruthers, Igoe (Rigg 83), Campbell, Disley, Sandell (Haldane 76), Walker (Ryan Green 72), Lambert.
Subs Not Used: Lines, Parrinello.
Ref: A D'Urso (Essex).
Derby boss Billy Davies had little to say about either the red card or the disallowed goal, instead opting to heap praise on veteran goal hero Paul Peschisolido.
''It was a good substitution wasn`t it?`` joked Davies.
''But that`s what he is here for and his goal record speaks for itself.
''He is still dangerous and he is still a quality player. He might not be getting any younger but he hasn`t lost any pace as regards his thinking or his football brain.``
'My players have to realise that if they get five minutes in a game or 95 minutes, their contribution is important.
'Everyone knows exactly what the situation is and its great credit to Pesch that he has been patient and took his chance when he came on. He's always capable of scoring goals. He has a great contribution to make between now and the end of the season because of his goal-scoring record.'
Bristol Rovers manager Paul Trollope believes Aaron Lescott`s sending off ''changed the course of the game`` at Derby.
''It was not a red card in my view and if we`d had equal numbers on the pitch at the end of the game, I am sure we would have finished strongly and perhaps even won,`` said Trollope.
''There was no malicious intent and I think a yellow card would have sufficed. Both players had come a long way to challenge for the ball and it was one of Lescott`s first tackles of the game.
''But credit to their player because he got up straight away and didn`t roll about on the floor.``
Trollope added: ''The disallowed goal is another thing I am disappointed about.
''Andy Sandell has spoken to me and he says there were arms all over the place and that it was six of one and half a dozen of the other but he has been penalised.