Phew! So glad we overcame this potential banana-skin against AFC Totton of the Evo-Stik Premier - I wouldn't have fancied the humiliation of losing in front of the millions watching at home, particularly those Sheeds who would undoubtedly gloat. I'm not just pleased that we avoided embarrassment though, oh no. I, along with every other Gashead, will be over the moon with the third round draw and a home game against Premier League Aston Villa!
It was a fantastically professional performance from the Gas today and for that the players and management team deserve huge credit. We gave a very good account of ourselves and scored some sensational goals in the process. I believe BBC Sport said Rovers 'put on a fine exhibition of clinical finishing to thrash Totton and reach the FA Cup Third Round' - that sums it up very nicely I reckon. Blockbusters from Joe Anyinsah, who smashed in to the top corner after taking it round 2 men, and Mustapha Carayol, who leathered it in off the underside of the crossbar from 20 yards, put Rovers in the ascendancy within 10 first half minutes. Just 3 minutes later and we made it three and this goal eclipsed the previous two... right back Danny Woodards ran inside, tried playing a one-two with Matt Harrold but the ball was knocked away from the tall striker's foot. But Woodards continued his run and unleashed a truly phenomenal left footed half volley from 25 yards that arrowed in to the far bottom corner. Woody celebrated like mad and was mobbed by his teammates, whilst all the Rovers fans behind the goal were going equally as crazy. Delighted.
3-0 up away from home within 15 first half minutes. This doesn't happen all that often to Bristol Rovers, does it? No more goals in the first half although the Totton assistant manager Sean New disgracefully tried kneeing Muzzy when the winger evaded a challenge on the touchline that took him near their dugout. Muzzy reacted angrily and received a booking for his troubles, but the fact New went unpunished was disgusting. He pleaded his innocence but the guy looks like a complete ass wipe now as the cameras caught his attempt very clearly. What an idiot.
After just over an hour Byron Anthony headed home an Eliot Richards corner to make it 4, before AFC Totton scored the consolation that they and almost all the country wanted them to score, when Nathaniel Sherborne netted from close range. But, it was an instant response from Rovers as Richards made it five with a top finish in to the roof of the net from 15 yards, before the young Welshman netted his second in stoppage time with a left footed finish from 8 yards. Dreamland in front of us Gasheads and we were all hoping for a plum Prem draw.
And that's exactly what we got when we got drawn against the Villa. Oh yeah!
A personal highlight aside from the result and third round draw was the fact I spotted myself on TV several times. There was even a close up of me, my mate and a little sign we'd made. I consider myself famous now.