Andy Mangan felt Rovers could have taken more of their chances despite big win

By Sports Desk November 04, 2023

Interim manager Andy Mangan felt Bristol Rovers could have scored more as they eased into the second round of the FA Cup with a 7-2 victory over Northern Premier League side Whitby.

First-half goals from John Marquis, Luke Thomas, Jevani Brown and Antony Evans were added to by substitutes Harvey Vale and Aaron Collins after the break, following Harrison Beeden’s own goal.

“It was one for the neutrals I suppose, but can we take more chances? Absolutely,” said Mangan.

“Can we add more phases of play in their half? Yes. But it’s 7-2 and the last time we scored seven was against Scunthorpe when we got promoted, so there are good omens.

“We’ve got really good players in there, lads who can open you up, lads who can keep the ball and create one-v-one opportunities.

“I thought LT (Luke Thomas) was excellent in his first game back (from injury) and also John Marquis with his endeavour.

“There are loads of positives but as a coach you’re always looking to improve,” said Mangan.

Rovers continue to search for a successor to Joey Barton and Mangan has now won two games from two since taking temporary charge.

Barton’s former assistant also praised 15-year-old Rovers substitute Ollie Dewsbury, who came off the bench with three minutes remaining to become the Pirates’ youngest-ever player in the FA Cup and second youngest in all competitions.

“It’s amazing isn’t it? He did really well with the Under-18s. What a day for him, so proud for him,” said Mangan.

“Can you imagine him going into school on Monday morning, how happy he will be? It will be great.”

Whitby Town manager Nathan Haslam was proud of his side’s efforts against a professional team playing four leagues above them.

“I’m really proud. First half we were a little like rabbits in the headlights, the occasion got to us, which is gutting because we spoke about it a lot,” said Haslam.

“But we’ve just got to take a step back and you know we’re playing a team who are four levels higher. You can see the gulf in class. It’s crazy really.

“We showed them too much respect. We didn’t do our basics well, which I hoped we would, and they punished us. I think they were clinical.

“When you need that bit of luck, there were questions about that first goal being offside. Just to stay in the game, we were on the back foot, and I think that changed the complexion of the game for us really.”

Haslam said of Connor Simpson’s 59th-minute curler into the top corner – the goal of the game: “That one will be played for a long time by Whitby.”

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