Lambert downs sorry Saints
Rovers into quarter-finals for first time in 50 years
By James Dall. Last Updated: February 16, 2008 2:39pm
Lambert: Rovers' hero
Rickie Lambert's deflected free-kick saw Bristol Rovers book a place in the quarter-finals of FA Cup as they defeated Championship side Southampton 1-0.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between in Saturday's fixture at the Memorial Stadium, but Rovers secured a deserved triumph on 84 minutes via Lambert's strike.
Paul Trollope's men, who were impressive throughout the encounter, had a goal disallowed in the 70th minute after referee Mike Riley spotted a nudge on Darren Powell prior to Lambert planting a powerful header into the net.
But the home fans were sent rapturous in the final moments when Lambert's free-kick caught a wicked deflection off Jermaine Wright to leave Saints goalkeeper Kelvin Davis with not a prayer.
Rovers have already knocked out Premier League strugglers Fulham in this year's competition and showed their intent when they went close in the fifth minute.
A long throw-in was tamely headed away by Powell and Rovers captain Stuart Campbell sent in a dipping volley from the edge of the area which was only just wide of the far post.
The hosts were dealing better with the bobbly pitch and controlled most of the early possession but the Saints had a decent effort when Stern John sent in a long-range strike which nearly caught out Steve Phillips in the Rovers goal.
Craig Hinton then put a volley into the side-netting from a corner as the hosts pushed for the breakthrough - which nearly came in the 35th minute.
David Pipe's flick-on appeared to pose little threat to the Saints defence but Davies made a complete hash of his clearance and stumbled over the ball. Williams was onto it in a flash but Saints goalkeeper Davis was quickly off his line to block his attempted chip and full-back Alexander Ostlund recovered to complete the clearance.
Inigo Idiakez whistled a free-kick just over the bar for managerless Southampton as the half drew to a close.
Lambert had the first effort of the second half when he drilled a low drive into the side-netting before Southampton brought on Bradley Wright-Phillips for Idiakez.
Wright-Phillips instantly added some urgency to the visitors and twice he teed up John after powerful surges into the area but both times the former Birmingham striker lashed wildly over the crossbar.
A long throw then caused chaos in the Rovers defence and after Phillips had unconvincingly punched the ball away Jason Euell sent in a low volley which Phillips did well to kick away.
With 15 minutes remaining when Lambert headed an excellent inswinging Campbell free-kick onto the roof of the net.
But the striker finally got his moment of glory with six minutes remaining when his low free-kick from 22 yards took a deflection off Wright and sailed past Davis into the back of the net to seal a memorable win.