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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
07:25 1st July 2015

Attendance: 9,131 (707)

Rovers started 2016 win a comfortable 2-0 win against Luton Town at the Memorial Stadium.

Rory Gaffney's fourth and fifth goals in seven games secured all three points for Darrell Clarke's side.

Darrell Clarke made three changes to the side that beat Leyton Orient last time out as James Clarke, Ollie Clarke and Matty Taylor came back into the side replacing Billy Bodin, Cristian Montano and Jermaine Easter who all dropped to the substitutes bench.

Rovers started positively and had the first chance of the half as former Luton man Stuart Sinclair picked up the ball just outside of the penalty area. He managed to work his way into the box only to see his shot blocked well by Hatter skipper Scott Cuthbert.

Luton offered very little in the opening exchanges despite a pair of lovely deliveries into the penalty area from Ryan Hall. However at the opposite end of the field Lee Mansell was finding some brilliant pockets of space but all of his long range efforts were blocked well.

The pace of Daniel Leadbitter was causing Luton trouble on the right hand side and his cut back to the edge of the area found Ollie Clarke but the midfield man could only drag his shot wide.

Minutes later Ollie Clarke had the ball in the back of the net after latching onto a James Clarke through ball only to see his effort ruled out because of Rory Gaffney being offside.

Darrell Clarke's men continued to impress with extended periods of possession when Matty Taylor burst into the penalty area before providing a inch perfect flick into the path of Lee Mansell who was denied by a brilliant reaction save from Mark Tyler.

Half time came and went quickly but the Rovers pressure stayed for the second half. With five minutes gone in the second half Daniel Leadbitter raced free on the right hand side and was able to pick out Rory Gaffney inside the penalty area but the Irishman couldn't add to his brace against Leyton Orient firing his shot over the crossbar.

However Gaffney didn't stop with that effort and put the home side a goal to the good just past the hour mark.

Lee Mansell swung a corner into the penalty area which was met by Tom Lockyer who looked destined to score his first goal of the season only to see Jake Howells clear his effort off the line but the ball fell straight into the path of Rory Gaffney who made no mistake and thundered the ball home to score his fourth goal in seven games.

Even though they had the lead Rovers continued to attack as Lee Brown's cross from the left hand side was played into the path of Rory Gaffney. The Irishman's initial shot was tame and into the arms of Mark Tyler who spilled the ball into Gaffney who poked the ball home for his second goal of the game.

As soon as the second goal went in Luton seemed deflated and Rovers looked to make it three but efforts from Stuart Sinclair, Matty Taylor and Lee Mansell failed to find their way past Mark Tyler.

With injury time looming Ellis Harrison came on to replace Rory Gaffney to a standing ovation from the Rovers faithful and almost made an instant impact as Jermaine Easter was initially denied before squaring the ball to his fellow Welshman who couldn't sort his feet out quick enough allowing the Hatters to clear.

The win moved Rovers up to fifth place in the Sky Bet League Two table with 43 points from their 25 games so far this season and up next for Rovers is the trip to the Hive to take on Martin Allen's Barnet before entertaining Plymouth Argyle at the Mem on 23rd January.

Rovers: Mildenhall, Leadbitter, J. Clarke, Lockyer, Parkes, Brown; Mansell, O. Clarke, Sinclair; Gaffney (Harrison - 89), Taylor (Easter - 86).

Unused Substitutes: Preston (GK), McChrystal, Lines, Bodin, Montano.

Luton: Tyler, O'Donnell, Smith, Cuthbert (C), Lawless, McGeehan, Benson (McQuoid - 73), Hall, Okuonghae, Mackail-Smith (Marriott - 82), Howells (McCourt - 68).

Unused Substitutes: Justham (C), Lee, Long, Wilkinson.

    QUICK FACTS

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