High among your fellow townsfolk, all in song; arms aloft, fists clenched, scarves twirling in the floodlight air, whilst down below your team – every one of them beaming – celebrate humbling loftier opposition. How could anyone ever suggest there’s no magic left in the FA Cup?
We only had to wait five minutes for our first bit of scarf-twirling. Matty Blair, released down the right by the excellent Ben Whiteman, breaking to the byline to stab a back-post cross so perfect for John Marquis to do what John Marquis does
Whilst Preston – bar a long range thud of a post – struggled to get behind their visitors, Rovers could have doubled their lead either side of the break; Marquis seeing a header cleared off the line, Mallik Wilks off-target when round the ‘keeper.
An equalising goal suggested those chances would be rued, but just when it seemed Preston might have a foothold; Grant McCann sent on James Coppinger to steady the ship and Rovers roused again.
From a set-piece big Tom Anderson’s giraffe limbs nudged a loose ball over the line for 2-1 and rather than defend the lead Rovers set out to build on it. The decisive third goal coming as Coppinger sent forward an up and under and as Preston’s backline dithered Wilks went from fourth favourite to emerge with the ball to casually walking it into the net.
Is it really an upset when so many of you feel it coming? A truly great performance from a great team.
by Glen Wilson