Bristol Rovers scraped into the FA Cup third round hat after a dramatic 1-1 draw against West Country rivals Plymouth Argyle at the Memorial Stadium last Sunday, writes Steve Knowlson.

The team are currently fighting on three fronts; league, FA Cup and EFL Trophy games are coming thick and fast throughout December - a total of seven games, including the second round replay in Devon.

Graham Coughlan will want to keep his key players fit during this potentially season-defining run of games up to and including the festive period.

Bristol Rovers seemed a little jaded as Argyle had the better of the first half and it was thanks to the resolute back three of Craig, Kilgour and Menayese that the visitors were restricted to only a few chances.

It was Coughlan’s tactics which hindered us in the first 45 - playing Clarke-Harris up front on his own, at home and against lower league opposition demonstrated a lack of ambition. Apart from a Sercombe free kick which struck the crossbar, Rovers didn’t threaten much and the manager sent on Tyler Smith to support the big front man for the second half.

The change got Rovers forward a little more but there was a lack of quality in the final third with too many opportunities wasted by poor finishing or the wrong pass – and that applied to both teams.

It all changed on the 74th minute when Clarke-Harris played a delightful disguised reverse pass to send Leahy scampering along the goal line and into the box where he cut the ball back for Sercombe to confidently finish from 15 yards.

The joy was shortlived as 10 minutes later Ogogo was harshly judged to have brought down Danny Mayor and Sarcevic made no mistake from the spot.

The drama reached its peak in stoppage time when Menayese brought down former Gas winger Byron Moore conceding a very late penalty and being sent off for his trouble.

Gasheads feared another early FA Cup exit but Jaakkola made an excellent save with his foot to keep our chances of a first third round fixture in five years alive.