Clevedon Town 1
Bristol Rovers 5
Harding (33 (pen) & 54), Rigg (66 & 90))
A young Rovers side recorded a fine victory in an entertaining game at the Hand Stadium this evening.
Level at the break, a much improved second half performance saw Rovers enjoy long spells of domination and three more gopals were added during this time.
Manager John Ward included three trialists in George Rigg, Jake Green and Matt Whichelow.
Whichelow was released by Watford In February and enjoyed subsequent loan spells with Exeter, Wycombe and Accrington while Green was formerly with Mansfield Town.
Clevedon almost opened the scoring after five minutes when an Aron Robbins corner from the left was met by Adi Adams, who powered a header against the crossbar.
Rovers responded immediately and George Rigg curled a shot just wide of the upright.
John Ward’s side enjoyed a great deal of possession following that attempt and went close again on 14 minutes when Mitch Harding’s header from a Jamie Lucas cross drifted just wide of the upright.
Rovers enjoyed a good deal of possession following that chance, but it was the hosts who opened the scoring after 21 minutes. Rovers failed to deal with a long throw in and a half clearance reached Reeko Best
who drove a low cross back into the area where Robbins slotted home from close range.
Rovers were back on level terms after 33 minutes.
Green was brought down from behind by Best as he got into the area and Mitch Harding sent keeper Danny Greaves the wrong way with his spot kick.
Shortly afterwards a spectacular overhead kick by George Rigg cleared the crossbar.
The home side began the second half strongly and Conor Gough had to be alert to gather a pinpoint cross from Robbins.
There were a few moments of uncertainty in the Rovers defence shortly afterwards but eventually they managed to scramble the ball away following a brief spell of concerted pressure.
In another attack Steve Kingdon fired a long range effort over the bar.
However, it was Rovers who took the lead as Harding scored his second goal of the evening after 54 minutes. The youngster evaded a couple of challenges as he carried the ball down the left before cutting inside.
His shot, from just inside the area took a deflection off a home defender which wrong footed substitute goalkeeper Ryan Scott.
There was a welcome return to action for midfielder Matt Gill on the hour mark. Gill, who became a father for the second time yesterday, replaced Jamie Lucas.
Six minutes later George Rigg increased the lead when he fired home from eight yards after the home defenders failed to clear a low cross in from the right by Shaquille Hunter.
There was a let off for Rovers on 76 minutes when Pat Keary cleared a Clevedon effort off the line with Gough beaten.
Alefe Santos, who looked lively after replacing Hunter, flashed a shot wide of the target on 76 minutes as Rovers began to find space as the home side tired.
Goal number four arrived on 83 minutes and was affine individual effort from Jordan Goddard, who cut in from the left and beat Scott from an acute angle.
Santos went close again before the final whistle, as Rovers played out time, but they weren't finished scoring as Rigg headed past Scott in the final minute following a mix up in the home defence.
Rovers: Conor Gough, Josh Southway, Pat Keary, Tom Lockyer, Jake Green, Shaquille Hunter (Al;efe Santos, 75), Mitch Harding, George Rigg, Jordan Goddard, Matt Whichelow, Jamie Lucas.
Substitutes: Lee Brown, Eliot Richards, Ellis Harrison, Steve Mildenhall, Tom Parkes
Clevedon Town: Danny Greaves (Ryan Scott, 46), Connor O’Sullivan, Aron Robbins, Ollie Barnes, Steve Kingdon, Ed Vahid, Kye Mountford, Adi Adams, Reeko Best (Ben Murray, 65) Matt Thorne, George Brimson
Substitutes: Luke Mortimer, Joe Flurry, Szymon Gromek all used on 71 minutes, Lloyd Mills after 75 minutes.