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Stoke City manager Mark Hughes was “really pleased” with his side’s performance at Doncaster Rovers, despite the Premier League outfit only managing to steal a narrow victory.
Peter Crouch gave Stoke the lead in the live Setanta Sports clash by flicking home a fine cross from Joselu.
Doncaster levelled when Luke McCullough surged through and a set up Nathan Tyson to net, but Jonathan Walters found the bottom corner with a superb 25-yard effort to ultimately secure progress with a 2-1 win.
Hughes was happy with the application shown by his players, having made nine changes for the clash away to the League One team.
"It was a good cup tie," he said after the game. "Doncaster played well with a good quality of ball into our box, and we had to defend manfully at times.
"It was two great goals that won us the tie, and we're delighted with that.
"We made a lot of changes and we weren't as fluent as we know we can be, but the guys who came in did well. A number of them haven't had games for a number of weeks so I was really pleased with what they put up today."
There was over half an hour of the game remaining when Walters struck, and the underdogs created plenty of opportunities to secure a second equaliser, but Donny were unable to force a replay at the Britannia Stadium.
"I thought our performance was good," Doncaster manager Darren Ferguson was quoted as saying by BBC Sport. "We were really unlucky not to get something out of that game.
"We worked very hard, and if we play like that every week, we will win games.
"We had a couple of clear chances at the end, with Nathan Tyson and Andy Butler, but in the cups you don't get a second chance and you have to take them.”
Ferguson went on to reference an off-the-ball incident that was pointed out to him after the game, in which Philipp Wollscheid apparently grabbed a Donny man by the throat, along with a challenge in the penalty area by Mame Biram Diouf on Craig Alcock.
"We should have had a penalty at 1-1 and Wollscheid could have been sent off,” said the former Manchester United player. “We felt that the little decisions didn't go our way."