Bali Mumba came off the bench to score the winner on his debut to send Posh into round four.
Peterborough United moved into round four of the Emirates FA Cup after new signing Bali Mumba came off the substitutes bench to put in a debut to remember, capped with the winning goal as Bristol Rovers were beaten 2-1 at the Weston Homes Stadium.
Inside the opening two minutes, Posh created a decent opportunity to break the deadlock as a scooped pass from Ronnie Edwards found Jack Taylor, he in turn, fed Sammie Szmodics, but his shot on the turn went wide of the target.
At the other end, a quickly-taken free-kick caught Posh cold as a low centre was diverted towards goal by both Edwards and a retreating Knight before Cornell pounced on the loose ball. Thompson was expertly denied by Belshaw on 16 minutes after a fine piece of Posh play with Knight and Tomlinson both playing their part with raking passes.
The breakthrough came on 20 minutes and it was a bit of a nightmare for keeper James Belshaw who failed to make any connection to a lofted ball forward by Oliver Norburn allowing Sammie SZMODICS to tap into an empty net.
Harrison Burrows tested goalkeeper James Belshaw with a fierce curling left-footed effort on 25 minutes, however, moments later, a clipped ball into the channel lured Dai Cornell out and the referee’s assistant waved his flag to instruct the referee to award a rather soft penalty kick for a clip on Evans.
Former Posh midfielder Paul COUTTS stepped up and sent Cornell the wrong way from the spot to draw the visitors level at 1-1. Darren Ferguson made a change at the break with new signing Bali Mumba replacing Tomlinson at left-back.
Dembele was within a whisker of giving Posh the lead on 48 minutes as he let fly from the edge of the box, but his shot went wide of the post. Belshaw made another brave stop to keep out a close-range effort from Jorge Grant as Posh pressed to try and get the third goal of the game.
Posh got themselves back in front on 62 minutes and on debut, it was a superb way to introduce himself for Bali MUMBA, quick feet, a neat one two and a very composed finish into the bottom corner.
It should have been 3-1 moments later as Dembele picked out Szmodics at the back post, but his clipped effort was smothered by keeper Belshaw. Grant saw a low effort smothered by Belshaw as Posh pushed for a third on 70 minutes.
Szmodics was again denied by Belshaw on 76 minutes after Grant won the ball in the penalty area. Norburn was cautioned by referee Andy Davies moments later, the first player in the game to be booked.
Szmodics had another opportunity to make it 3-1 as he raced clear on the counter attack but with just the keeper to beat, he side-footed wide. On 88 minutes, Zain Westbrooke curled a shot inches past the post as the home faithful took a large intake of breath.
Posh: Cornell, Thompson, Edwards, Knight, Tomlinson (sub Mumba 46min), Norburn, Taylor, Grant, Burrows (sub Clarke-Harris 87min), Dembele (sub Jones 90min), Szmodics. Unused subs: Blackmore, Kent, Corbett, Ward, Barker, Harris.
Bristol Rovers: Belshaw, Connolly, Thomas, Westbrooke, Nicholson, Coutts, Anderton, Clarke (sub Jones 63min), Evans, Spence (sub Pitman 67min), Hoole. Unused subs: Ward, Martinez, Lawrence, Vaughan, Sesay.
Half-time: Peterborough United 1-1 Bristol Rovers
Full-time: Peterborough United 2-1 Bristol Rovers
Referee: Andy Davies
Attendance: 4,937 (483 Bristol Rovers fans)