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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
07:23 5th July 2014

Attendance: 7,371 (233)

Rovers long unbeaten run came to an end after losing 1-2 to Eastleigh at the Memorial Stadium.

Matty Taylor's second half strike wasn't enough to cancel out a first half free kick from Michael Green and Jack Midson's second half close range strike

Darrell Clarke made two changes to the side that secured all three points at Gateshead last weekend bringing Ellis Harrison and Adam Dawson into the starting 11. The Rovers boss also recalled long-term absentee Ollie Clarke to the substitutes bench for the first time since suffering a knee injury at Woking back in January.

Eastleigh started brightly and earned a succession of corners before Lee Mansell was judged to have fouled Jack Midson to earn the Spitfires a free kick. Michael Green drove the free kick low and his left footed strike dribbled through the legs of Steve Mildenhall to give Eastleigh a early lead.

The visitors continued to press and a long ball over the top from Harry Pell fell to the feet of James Constable who took a quick snapshot but Mildenhall got down well to save the shot with his feet.

Rovers grew into the game and powerful running from Lee Brown down the Rovers left allowed him some space to pick out Ellis Harrison on the edge of the Spitfires penalty area. Harrison brought the ball under his spell on the turn but his shot was blocked instantly by Joe Partington.

The home side continued to press in search of an equaliser as Daniel Leadbitter surged forwards, playing a neat one two with Lee Mansell in the process to set up Matty Taylor, but his shot on the turn didn't trouble Ross Fintney.

After being handed a start by Darrell Clarke, Ellis Harrison looked threatening throughout the first half and another impressive turn opened up some space on the edge of the area but the young Welshman's left footed effort curled into the side netting.  

Darrell Clarke decided to change things at half time bringing on Nathan Blissett in place of Daniel Leadbitter and changed shape to play a 3-5-2.

Rovers change of shape didn't help in the opening stages of the second half as James Constable found space just inside the Gas penalty area. The Eastleigh front man turned the ball onto his favoured right foot but Mildenhall was equal to it down low saving with his feet.

As the home side searched for the leveler Eastleigh looked to hit them on the counter attack.

From an Adam Dawson corner the Spitfires broke through the middle of the pitch and a cross from the right from Strevens fell to Jack Midson who fired home from close range.

Moments later it could have been 0-3 as James Constable held the ball up well and fed Midson but this time Midson couldn't hit the target.

Richard Hill made two substitutions of his own just past the hour mark and one of them almost made an instant impact. Following McChrystal mistiming a header, Craig McAllister was through on goal, popped the ball through the legs of Mildenhall only to see his effort heroically cleared off the line by Tom Parkes.

With just over 10 minutes to play a moment of brilliance from Matty Taylor gave Rovers a lifeline has his 30-yard shot beat Ross Fintney down low to the keepers left for his twelfth goal of the season in all competitions. 

Rovers threw everything at Eastleigh in the closing stages and Matty Taylor had a glorious chance to level the game but snatched at the opportunity and lashed his effort over the crossbar.  

Up next for Rovers is a trip to the Shea Stadium to take on Halifax next weekend before entertaining Aldershot Town under the lights at the Memorial Stadium.

Rovers: Mildenhall, Leadbitter (Blissett - 45), McChrystal (C), Parkes, Brown, Dawson (Balanta - 65), Lockyer, Mansell (Clarke - 87), Monkhouse, Taylor, Harrison.

Unused Substitutes: Puddy (GK), Trotman.

Eastleigh: Fintney, Spence, Beckwith (C), Partington, Green, Strevens, Stanley, Pell, Reason, Constable (Burton - 65), Midson (McAllister - 65).

Unused Substitutes: Todd, Howard, Walker.

    QUICK FACTS

    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.