Fleetwood Town 0
Bristol Rovers 3
Woodards (5), Richards (27), O’Toole (49)
John Ward’s injury hit squad were hit with a new blow this morning when Fabian Broghammer was ruled out with a knee injury and his place was taken by Ellis Harrison, who made his first start for the club.
The manager was only able to name five substitutes for the game, though it didn’t appear to affect his young side in the opening 45 minutes.
Seanan Clucas tested home goalkeeper Scott Davies with a 20 yard effort that the shot stopper was glad to touch round the post before Rovers took a fifth minute lead.
Harrison showed his marker a clean pair of heels down the left and his cross was met by Danny Woodards, who hit a delightful first time volley past Davies.
An Eliot Richards effort was blocked on the edge of the area as Ward’s side went in search of further goals, while John-Joe O’Toole saw his piledriver blocked by Shaun Beeley.
The home side were completely knocked out of their stride by a Rovers side challenging for every ball and goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall, apart from safely gathering a looping header from Anthony Barry, was a virtual spectator.
It got better for Rovers as they deservedly doubled their lead on 27 minutes.
Tom Hitchcock found Richards in the box and he drove a shot beyond Davies and into the far corner of the net.
Lee Brown went close to adding a third, when he fired a long range effort straight at Davies.
The home side did exert some pressure on Rovers defence in the final stages of the half and Mildenhall had to be alert to beat away a low drive from Gareth Evans before keeping out Jamille Matt’s header.
However there could well have been another Rovers goal before the break when the hard working Hitchcock saw a glancing header from O’Toole’s cross hit the crossbar before being cleared.
The home side had obviously received harsh words from their manager at the break and appeared to be a little more determined at the start of the second half.
However a third Rovers goal, scored only four minutes after the restart, virtually ended any hopes they might have had of a fightback.
When the ball reached eighteen yards from goal, he drilled a right foot shot past Davies before the keeper had a chance to move. The on loan midfielder could hardly contain his delight at scoring his first Rovers goals and celebrated the fact with the Rovers supporters behind the goal.
Richards, who was enjoying his best game of the season, then fired in a long range effort that Davies saved at the second attempt and as Rovers continued to apply pressure on an overworked home defence and
Richards and Hitchcock combined well before the young on loan QPR striker fired into the side netting.
The home side were unable to make any real impression on a well organised Rovers defence and didn’t really threaten Mildenhall’s goal until time added on.
By then Richards and Brown had gone close to adding a fourth Rovers goal.
That last chance effort saw Alan Goodall’s close range header drift wide of goal when he should have hit the target at the very least.
It summed up his side’s afternoon and it was a dejected Fleetwood side that made their way to the dressing room leaving Rovers to celebrate only their second away win of the season.
Team: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown, Danny Woodards (Mitch Harding, 65), Seanan Clucas, John-Joe O’Toole, Ellis Harrison (Tom Lockyer, 85), Eliot Richards, Tom Hitchcock
Substitutes: Ollie Norburn, Alefe Santos, Conor Gough
Fleetwood Town: Scott Davies, Shaun Beeley, Rob Atkinson, Alan Goodall, Dean Howell (Nathan Pond, 46), Gareth Evans, Anthony Barry (Damien Johnson, 74), Alex Marrow, Junior Brown, Jamille Matt, David Ball (Jamie Allen, 56)
Substitutes: Steve McNulty, Chris Maxwell, Alex Titchiner, Jamie McGuire
Referee: James Adcock
Rovers supporters: 453