WES Fletcher’s second-half brace could not prevent York City exiting the FA Cup at the hands of Bristol Rovers last night.

The home side’s miserable display for the opening three-quarters of the first-round replay ultimately proved their undoing at Bootham Crescent.

Scrappy first-half goals from John-Joe O’Toole and Oliver Norburn had given the Pirates a 2-0 half-time advantage and a 50th-minute effort from ex-Minsterman Chris Beardsley looked to have put the outcome beyond doubt.

Two Fletcher goals in as many minutes – the first from the penalty spot – meant Nigel Worthington’s men at least made a contest of the final 25 minutes, but Rovers held on to secure a second round home meeting with Crawley Town.

City were also left counting the cost of a suspected broken leg injury for Chris Smith after goalkeeper Michael Ingham had suffered a groin problem in the warm-up that saw Scotland Under-21 international Chris Kettings handed his debut for the hosts.

The Minstermen made two other changes to the side that started Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against Plymouth.

With on-loan, full-backs Luke O’Neill and Ben Davies both refused permission to play in the competition by respective parent clubs Burnley and Preston, Craig Clay and Jamal Fyfield were handed first XI chances.

Midfielder Clay played in an unfamiliar right-wing role, meaning Lanre Oyebanjo was restored to the back four.

Despite Ryan Jarvis firing wide a 12-yard volley after Chris Smith had won a header from Elliott Whitehouse’s fourth-minute up-and-under into the box, it was former City boss John Ward’s side that made the more purposeful start to the game.

Ollie Clarke tried his luck from distance on nine minutes and Kettings then tipped over an O’Toole header from Lee Brown’s inswinging free-kick.

The Pirates were being afforded far too much space and time on the ball and capitalised on 16 minutes following a slick move down the left.

An ensuing scramble in City’s box saw Chris Smith’s block fall to Elliot Richards’ feet and, after his weak shot bounced back out off a post, O’Toole completed the formality of tapping in from a yard.

Nigel Worthington’s men might have struck straight back when Fletcher, hooking the ball over his shoulder, hit the bar and Jarvis could not beat Rovers ’keeper Steve Mildenhall from the follow-up.

The Minstermen mustered nothing more, however, during a flat first half in front of a subdued home crowd.

At the other end, O’Toole tested Kettings from 25 yards before a mistake by Dan Parslow saw the Pirates double their advantage on the stroke of half-time.

Parslow misjudged a ball bouncing close to the byline and his recovery tackle only fell to Norburn on the edge of the box and he shot first time to Kettings’ right.

An awful opening period ended with Smith being stretchered off.

Smith’s replacement by David McGurk was one of three half-time changes to a team that looked resigned to their fate with Clay and Jarvis also making way for Ashley Chambers and Sander Puri.

Within five minutes of the restart, however, the visitors forged further ahead when Beardsley fired into the centre of the goal from ten yards after being given a second shot at Kettings following Brown’s corner.

Kettings went on to push away a powerful edge-of-the-box Richards attempt before the Minstermen were roused into action after Lewis Montrose was adjudged to have been pushed in the box from a corner on 69 minutes.

A confident Fletcher fired the resulting penalty to Mildenhall’s left as the former Millwall ’keeper dived in the opposite direction.

Within two minutes, City had pulled another goal back when Fletcher’s low and firmly-struck 30-yard drive found Mildenhall’s bottom left-hand corner again.

Subsequent chances saw Flecther’s volley lack the power to beat Mildenhall, while Elliott Whitehouse blasted the final chance of the night out of the ground from 20 yards in stoppage time.

Match facts

York City 2 (Fletcher pen 69, 71), Bristol Rovers 3 (O’Toole 16, Norburn 44, Beardsley 50)

York City: Chris Kettings 6, Lanre Oyebanjo 6, Daniel Parslow 5, Chris Smith 6, Jamal Fyfield 6, Craig Clay 5, Lewis Montrose 5, Elliott Whitehouse 5, Ryan Jarvis 6, Ryan Bowman 5, Wes Fletcher 8.

Subs: David McGurk (for Smith 46, 7); Ashley Chambers (for Clay 46, 6), Sander Puri (for Jarvis 46, 5). Not used: Richard Cresswell, Tom Platt, Tom Allan.

City star man: Wes Fletcher – positive in poor first half and got his reward after the break.

Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Tom Lockyer, Lee Brown, Oliver Norburn, John-Joe O’Toole, Ollie Clarke, Elliot Richards, Chris Beardsley (Matt Harrold 78), David Clarkson. Subs not used: Ellis Harrison, Mitch Harding, Conor Gough, Pat Keary, Josh Southway.

Referee: Andy Haines (Sunderland).

Rating: 8/10.

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Attendance: 2,051 (120 fans from Bristol).

Shots on target: City 8, Rovers 5.

Shots off target: City 5, Rovers 3.

Corners: City 4, Rovers 4.

Fouls conceded: City 10, Rovers 12.

Offsides: City 1, Rovers 1.