Joey Barton names three Bristol Rovers players to emerge with any credit from FA Cup exit

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Bristol Rovers used 16 players today but only three were saved from the firing line

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton said that only three players could come away with any credit from their 2-0 defeat to Boreham Wood. The Gas were knocked out of the FA Cup by the National League side who are ranked 43 places below them in the English pyramid.

Rovers - who claimed a surprise win over Peterborough United last week - fell short of expectations and were punished in the first-half. Will Evans’ deflected George Broadbent’s shot from outside of the box home, before David Stephens headed the London side in to the round three draw.

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Barton’s side had several opportunities to go in front before Boreham’s two goals before the half-hour mark, but did not make them count.

“If you come off it at any level by a fraction, you get your comeuppance,” he said. “I don’t think they’ve tossed it off but you have to go and out want the opponent and that is the most disappointing thing for me.

“We could have played a bit more and there was some mad moments in there in terms of Antony Evans pass for their first goal. It’s beyond me, I don’t know what he has seen. After that we still have a long period of the game to respond and react.”

In terms of team selection, Barton named as strong a team as possible with several key figures named in the starting XI. Top scorer Aaron Collins featured along with all three loan players; Bobby Thomas, Josh Coburn and Lewis Gibson.

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Coburn started brightly and the 19-year-old who was a hero for Middlesbrough last season tried to impose himself on the game struggled. He flashed several efforts wide but was unable to mount a comeback with the team as a collective falling flat.

He was one of three players who came out with credit from the manager. Harvey Saunders, who scored the winner against Colchester United in midweek, offered a slight positive and showed a willingness to fight.

Credit was also reserved to captain Sam Finley, who was only fit to be a substitute after a bout of sickness. He managed to play an entire half of football, despite only being tipped to play for just over a quarter of the match.

He said: “I thought we were wasteful in the first 15-20 minutes. I thought for Aaron (Collins) as good as he had been in as many moments he has had, he lacked that bit of ruthlessness today.

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“For us, I don’t think we were anywhere near the levels of performance that we expect to reach. If you’re slightly off it you get binned out of the FA Cup. Today we were no where near to the levels we believe we can get to. We deservedly don’t get in the bag for the third round.

“Across the board, I think when they look at it as a whole group, the 16 players who played out there today, I think barring Josh Coburn and maybe Harvey Saunders and Sam Finley for climbing off his sick bed to give us forty five.

“I think the rest of them need to dust themselves down and come back with a complete different intensity.”

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