Did Rovers have the answer to the £250,000 question? Unfortunately not.
Their bid to unlock the quarter of a million pound prize of a televised FA Cup fourth round clash with a Premier League side was ended by a moment of terrible defending and a fine breakaway goal at Bristol City.
Former loanee Jay Emmanuel-Thomas came back to haunt Rovers as he struck at two key moments for City.
He nodded home after a long period of pressure from the hosts in the first half, and capped a brilliant break when City had been under the cosh from a Rovers side desperate to get back in the game.
All eyes were on Marko Marosi, flung into his first start for the club after Sam Johnstone’s quick departure from Rovers.
The Slovakia U21 international will probably be disappointed by his part in City’s opener, but he was let down by his defence, which looked all at sea at a crucial moment for the second successive game.
Marosi was otherwise solid, apart from one nervy moment when an attempted clearance cannoned back off Matt Smith but went just wide.
Rovers made a bright start and finish to the half but their undoing came during a strong 20 minute period for the hosts.
But for all their considered play, City’s goal came from a scrappy corner and was largely gifted to them.
Aden Flint had a free header blocked by Marosi but the keeper’s attempt to keep out the defender’s follow-up header sent the ball spinning up high and there was little pressure on Emmanuel-Thomas who nodded in after 36 minutes.
Rovers responded with ferocity with James Coppinger embarking on a superb solo run before being denied on the line by wing back Mark Little.
And Enda Stevens saw a first time volley from a deep Reece Wabara cross well saved in the last act of the half.
City looked content to sit back on their lead in the early stages of the second half and were largely comfortable in possession.
But Rovers grew stronger, particularly when Paul Dickov rolled the dice just after the hour mark, sending on Nathan Tyson and Theo Robinson to create a three man attack.
Defensive midfielder Paul Keegan was sacrificed for Kyle Bennett as Dickov went all in for the equaliser.
But it immediately backfired as City grabbed their second with a blistering breakaway. A long ball came to Marlon Pack, putting City three-on-two and he played in Emmanuel-Thomas who surged into the area and slotted under Marosi from 15 yards.
Rovers’ challenge was effectively over as City sat back and soaked up pressure.
Bristol City: Fielding, Little, Williams, Flint, Ayling, Cunningham, K Smith, Pack, Wagstaff (Freeman 76), M Smith (Osborne 88), Emmanuel-Thomas. Subs not used: Richards, Elliott, Wynter, Bryan.
Rovers: Marosi, Wabara, McCullough, Butler, Stevens, Keegan (Bennett 78), Coppinger, Wellens, Middleton (Tyson 62), Forrester (Robinson 62), Main. Subs not used: McLaren, McCombe, Wakefield, De Val.
goals: Emmanuel-Thomas 36, 79
Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)
Att: 6,951 (232 away)