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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

09 March 2019 Venue Glanford Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Focus On: Scunthorpe United

7 March 2019

With 12 games of the season left in what is sure to be a tight finish at the bottom of League One, Bristol Rovers head up to Lincolnshire to face a Scunthorpe United team who are four points and five positions above the Gas.

So tight is this division that there are only seven points between Rovers and 11th placed Burton Albion and Rovers have a game in hand! Having said that, as Rovers know to their own complacency can easily lead to downfall. Things are so tight that for the teams from Burton downwards there have been only 19 wins between them in their last 6 games (84 games in total), 28 draws and 37 defeats.

In recent seasons Glanford Park has not been a happy hunting ground for Rovers’ but if they do manage to secure three points this weekend, it would not only help haul Rovers up the greasy pole but would drag Scunny back into the mire. With just one point from their last three games, the Iron have started to falter. On Saturday they went down to a 2-1 defeat to Oxford at the Kassam Stadium.

Scunthorpe were quickly out of the blocks with Funso Ojo having a low shot saved in the first minute. In an uninspiring first half the home side's best opportunity squandered by a heavy touch from Mark Sykes when Jerome Sinclair played him through.
After the break Oxford had more attacking threat when Gavin Whyte came off the bench and Sinclair took full advantage, first heading in a left-wing cross from Sykes in the 65th minute. He doubled the U’s lead when he headed home John Mousinho's cross in the 80th minute.

Substitute George Thomas turned in Tom Pearce's cross in added time to give the Iron some hope. Speaking after the game Iron Boss Stuart McCall said, “I am really frustrated, disappointed and angry. It is a game we never should have lost. We took the sting out the game, had controlled the game, kept them quiet and had a couple of opportunities.

“We coped with their threat but they had two attempts, and scored twice from them, both from free headers. We have got to pick up those men and take responsibility in the box. We have done it all week in training but we have not done it today.

“For all the ball and play we have had, we haven’t created enough. We had bits and bobs but set plays were poor. The corners and free kicks going into the box weren’t good enough. But the thing that has made me most angry is the two free headers their kid has had to score. I expected them to have more than they did which makes it doubly frustrating that we’ve lost the game.

“It was certainly a game that we should be going back up the road with something which makes it more frustrating, disappointing and anger more than anything.”

Looking back at the past games between the two clubs the first meeting didn’t take place until as United didn’t gain League status until 1951 and played in the Third Division North until a 1-1 draw in January 1959. In their second ever visit to The Old Show Ground; Rovers recorded a stunning 4-3 win with Alfie Biggs, Ray Mabbutt and Ian Hamilton (2) all on the score sheet with Welsh international wing wizard Barrie Thomas (2) and Peter Donnelly replying for the home team.

It was another 13 years and two points from a possible 12 (just 2 for a win in those days!) before Rovers recorded their next win in the steel town. A smash and grab double (yes Warboys and Bannister as always) kept a 1,784 crowd silent!

During that lean spell Rovers visited the Old Show Ground on 7th November 1964. Rovers had got off to an excellent free-scoring start to the season, hitting 4 past Mansfield, Peterborough, Bournemouth, and 5 past Grimsby and Carlisle in consecutive games.

Against Reading on 17th October Alfie Biggs suffered a serious cartilage injury which kept him out for the rest of the season. Rovers came off two wins before their trip to Lincolnshire and an Ian Hamilton goal for Rovers and a Barry Lindsay goal for the home side, gave the teams a share of the points in a hard-fought game.

Nearly a year later and it was a different story. Having lost 3-0 at Swansea and 4-3 at Swindon the defence needed to tighten up but it wasn't to be. Without ever looking a good side Scunthorpe won with absurd ease as Rovers defensive marking was virtually non-existent. The attack wasn't much better and when Ian Hamilton put the ball in the net Referee Egan ruled that Dick Plumb had fouled Geoff Sidebottom in the Scunthorpe goal.

Freddie Goodwin gave Scunthorpe a 25th minute lead with an unchallenged header and then five minutes into the second half Brian Bedford was given equal largesse. Frank Barton sealed the game with a hooked shot just seven minutes later to complete a 3-0 victory.

In 2004-05 season, in their final home game of the campaign, Scunthorpe needed a win to keep their hopes of automatic promotion alive. It was a whitewash for the hosts, who then went on to gain the point they needed at Gay Meadow, Shrewsbury the following week. Steve Torpey grabbed a brace within the first 14 minutes to get the ball rolling, producing two pin-pointed back headers which bounced into the net in front of a very strong crowd behind the goal.

That was the end of the goals for the first half, but it took just 46 seconds of the second half to add to the scoring. After a long Paul Musselwhite goal kick, Hayes found himself in the clear, with the Iron striker sending a side-footed lob over Ryan Clarke in Rovers goal.

A dampener hit the game seven minutes later though, as Richard Kell was stretchered off with a broken leg, which saw the Pirates’ Craig Disley dismissed for a second bookable offence by referee Scott Mathieson. The win was completed in the 69th minute though; Rovers cleared a corner to the edge of the area, but it was sent back in with vengeance, Cleveland Taylor heading home from 20 yards as the ball looped into the goal to the delight of the fans to secure a 4-0 home win.

In the 2013/14 season, both games were drawn, 0-0 in Bristol and 1-1 at Glanford Park. In 2016/17 Rovers opened their season with a 3-1 loss at Glanford Park having led 1-0 at half-time. Last season saw Rovers recent poor form continue with a 1-0 defeat. Late drama saw the Iron take all three points thanks to a Neal Bishop header in stoppage time. He put his attempt into the corner of the net, after Lee Novak’s cross into the area.

Rovers overall record at Scunthorpe is won six, drawn six and lost seven.

The importance of the Saturday’s game and the following game against Saturday has not escaped McCall, “Every game is important and we’ve got to focus on ourselves and get as many points as we can as quickly as we can,” he said, “We are where we are. We are a mid-table to lower-end table team at the minute.”

“Large parts of the game against Oxford were OK for an away performance. But when Oxford had their little moments, we did not defend well enough and that was the crucial part of losing the game.”

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Match Reports

Match Report: Scunthorpe United 0-1 Bristol Rovers

9 March 2019

Rovers climbed out of the drop zone with an important victory over Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park on Saturday afternoon.

Jonson Clarke-Harris helped himself to his fifth goal in his last four league games with an efficient finish for the game's only goal, to ensure Rovers extended their unbeaten run on the road to seven games as well as lift themselves out of the bottom four.

Manager Graham Coughlan was forced into a change at left-back, as Michael Kelly was drafted into the starting XI for his first start since the middle of January.

The other change on the teamsheet from Tuesday night saw Abu Ogogo replace Stuart Sinclair in the middle of the park. 

Alfie Kilgour, who returned from his loan spell at Maidenhead in the week was listed on the substitutes bench.

Six minutes into a fairly subdued opening, Scunthorpe were the first side to raise some pulses, albeit only slightly, as Tom Pearce cut in on the left and bent a decent strike towards the bottom corner which was saved by Jack Bonham. The rebound fell too quickly for Tony McMahon a couple of yards out who could only watch as the ball ricocheted off him and went behind.

Adam Hammill had a sighter for the hosts not long after, as a cross from the right came all the way out to him on the left. He set himself and looked to swing the ball into the top corner but he couldn't keep it down.

Clarke-Harris netted his first career hat-trick in the 4-0 win over Blackpool last week and looked hungry for more in the early moments at Glanford Park, particularly when almost latching onto Tom Nichols' flick on, which in the end was swept up by Jak Alnwick.

As the 15-minute mark passed, Rovers improved and strung their best move so far together with Clarke-Harris winning a good flick on for Ollie Clarke on the right. The midfielder fed it inside to Liam Sercombe and following some neat one-twos around the box, was given right to James Clarke. The full-back delivered an inviting ball for Clarke-Harris but the United defender did just enough to stifle him; the rebound came out to Kelly who struck a decent first time that rose just over the bar.

However, Scunthorpe were still attacking with purpose of their own as Kevin Van Veen showed smart feet to skip past Kelly and Ogogo before firing a shot a metre wide of the post from 25 yards.

The game returned to its docile state until the 33rd minute, when Rovers went the closest to the opening goal.

Nichols did really well to battle through several challenges down the left, prior to chipping in a cross to the back post that Sercombe took down on the half-volley, cut onto his left and fired onto the base of the post.

It was a sign of things to come as Rovers did then take the lead just minutes later.

Another flowing move saw Coughlan's men advance down the right, before Nichols fired in a clever low cross to wrong-foot the back-peddling Scunthorpe defence. Clarke-Harris took a touch and initially looked to have maybe squandered the chance, but he did no such thing as he dug out a clincial finish on his weaker right foot right into the bottom corner, meaning Rovers went into the interval with a narrow lead.

Inevitably, Scunny came out after the break keen to take the initiative and worked a good cross into the six-yard box that pinballed around as Funso Ojo looked to bundle it home, but Bonham did well to divert the attempt.

The pressure continued to grow from the hosts, but consequently afforded Rovers time and opportunity on the break, with Nichols again doing well to skip past his man and clip a ball in behind for his strike partner Clarke-Harris. The 24-year old cut it back to Sercombe via a deflection, who stung the keeper's palms with a powerful strike.

Space continued to open up in the final third for the visitors and Clarke-Harris again was causing problems as he drove through the centre and then teed up O.Clarke to his right but the midfielder's couldn't keep his effort down as it sailed into the travelling Gasheads.

Scunthorpe's best chance of the game came just past 60 minutes, as a corner was met by James Perch six-yards out, but the former Newcastle United man's header ended up the wrong side of the crossbar.

Minutes later and another good opportunity went begging for Stuart McCall's men when Pearce whipped in a delightful cross for Van Veen at the near post. He had only the keeper to beat but his side-foot volley looped over the bar.

Coughlan made his first change on 66 minutes, Alex Jakubiak came on in place of Nichols - another influential performance from Rovers number 10.

Ed Upson earned Rovers' first yellow of the afternoon, for a professional foul out on the right flank.

United's half time substitute George Thomas had impacted the game since his arrival and almost found the bottom corner with a cross/shot across goal, but it bounced just wide.

With roughly 15 minutes left on the clock, Rovers made their second substitution as Sinclair came on for Sercombe.

Ogogo earned a booking for a foul 25 yards from goal on Van Veen, giving Pearce a chance from the free kick, but his effort sailed over the target.

There were four nervy minutes of additional time, but Rovers held strong to record a precious three points.

Rovers XI: Jack Bonham (GK), Michael Kelly, Tom Lockyer (C), Tony Craig, James Clarke, Ed Upson, Ollie Clarke, Abu Ogogo, Liam Sercombe (Stuart Sinclair, 76'), Tom Nichols (Alex Jakubiak, 66'), Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Unused subs: Adam Smith (GK), Alfie Kilgour, Chris Lines, Gavin Reilly, Sam Matthews.

Scunthorpe United XI: Jak Alnwick (GK), Tony McMahon, Funso Ojo, Kevin van Veen, James Perch (Olufela Olomola, 77'), Tom Pearce, Cameron Burgess, Levi Sutton, Rory McArdle, Kyle Wotton, Adam Hammill (George Thomas 45').

Unused subs: Jon Flatt (GK), Byron Webster, Clayton Lewis, Lee Novak, Harrison McGahey.

Attendance: 3,877 (awaiting away numbers from Scunthorpe).

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Ticket News

Ticket Information: Scunthorpe United

7 March 2019

Advanced tickets for our Sky Bet League fixture at Scunthorpe United will remain on sale until 11am on Friday 8th March.

Rovers make the trip to Glanford Park on Saturday, 9th March.

Ticket prices for game are listed below - with savings on purchasing tickets in advance;

  Advance Price On the Day
Adult £22 £25
Seniors 65+/U21/Student £15 £17
Under 18 £6 £8
Under 12 (Max 2 per adult) FOC FOC

Advance tickets for the fixture will not be available online, with purchasing options for supporters being offered in store or by calling, 0117 9096648 (extension 1). 

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