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31 August 2019 Venue Pirelli Stadium Attendance

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Focus On: Burton Albion

30 August 2019

By Gerry Prewett.

After collecting maximum points from their last two home games, things are looking much brighter for Bristol Rovers as they head up to the Pirelli Stadium to face the team immediately above them in the table Burton Albion.

The Midland’s team finished last season strongly and also had an epic journey to the Semi-Finals of the EFL Cup. The club was only formed in 1950 and gained League status as recently as 2009. Their rise up the ranks to the Championship by 2016 was not only remarkable for its speed but also for the limited financial resources with a capacity of fewer than 7,000.

They were in Cup action once again in mid-week when they hosted League Two side, Morecambe. The home team could have been behind inside a minute but Kieran O'Hara did well to deny Shrimps forward Lewis Alessandra at close range before Albion's attack put some serious pressure on the Morecambe goal.

Mark Halstead made a number of good saves to keep them out until the 34th minute, when he was unable to prevent Liam Boyce from powerfully heading home a Scott Fraser corner.

Boyce and Lucas Akins were then denied by Halstead before Boyce struck again on the stroke of half-time steering Oliver Sarkic's cross home. A blistering start to the second half saw the busy Halstead deny Akins once again before Ryan Edwards scored his first goal in a Burton shirt finishing off John Brayford's low cross.

Kevin Ellison and Alessandra went close to getting Jim Bentley's side back in the contest before Boyce completed his hat-trick to put the game to bed in the 74th minute. Although Halstead saved Akins' header, the Northern Ireland striker hooked in the rebound from close range.

Interviewed after the game the Irishman said, “I didn’t have the best of starts, I think I gave the ball away every time I got it for the first 20 minutes but yeah I just kept playing. It was brilliant, at the start of the season I’ve been having chances and stuff and for whatever reason I haven’t been getting them in.

“It will give anyone confidence if they’re a striker and they score a hat-trick. I’ve got one in Ireland, a couple in Scotland and one in England now so it’s a good collection to have.”

The hat-trick for Boyce comes just a week after the 4-2 win against Oxford which also saw another hat-trick, this time by Scott Fraser.

Boyce said, “To have two people score a hat-trick in a week it shows our confidence to get goals so it takes a bit of pressure off the defence as well because that’s two clean sheets in a row.”

“We have players that are good footballers, you just have to be in the right position as a striker and you’re going to create a chance and you just have to be able to take it. We want to get points and we have some big games and were trying to win all of them obviously and we’ll be all focussed on that for Saturday. Hopefully I can keep scoring goals.”

With Albion being such recent members of the League, the clubs have only crossed paths 8 times, all in League Two. Rovers have won 3 games at the Mem (including a Memorable 7-1 thrashing on 14 April 2012 when the half-time score was 1-0!) but have picked up only one point from 4 games at the Pirelli Stadium.

Rovers’ first visit to Burton was on 22 October 2011. After Matt Harrold gave the Gas a 14th minute lead, Cleveland Taylor and Billy Kee gave the home team a 2-1 half-time lead which they maintained.

Just under a year later and Rovers once again took the lead, David Clarkson on 30 minutes and once again that man Billy Kee pierced the Rovers backline, this time on 50 minutes to bring the scores level.

On 23 November 2013 Rovers, on a 5 game unbeaten run, were reduced to 10 men when Chris Beardsley was shown a straight red card on 37 minutes. Albion could have been ahead straight from kick-off but Steve Mildenhall brilliantly kept out Chris Hussey's searing low drive.

The visitors had a chance of their own in the ninth minute when Ollie Clarke was denied by Burton skipper Ian Sharps on the goal-line. Mildenhall did well to adjust his feet and deal with a deflected shot as Hussey threatened again.

Rovers held out until 59th minute when Robbie Weir hit a superb 25 yard blast into the bottom corner of the net. The game exploded right at the end, the hosts were reduced to 10 men themselves when winger Jimmy Phillips picked up a second yellow card in added time, and Rovers then had John-Joe O'Toole sent off for a clash inside the Burton penalty area.

Last season’s game, Ben Fox's first league goal snatched all three points for Burton, on as a second-half substitute, he turned smartly inside the box as the game went into added on time to take Lucas Akins' pass and fire home at the near post.

In a frustrating second half both Will Miller and Kyle McFadzean rattled the Rovers woodwork as Albion looked the more likely to break the stalemate in a game of precious few clear chances.

Miller was a bright spark for the Brewers out on the left side, making his first start since January after a serious knee injury, whilst Rovers looked for the skills of Alex Jakubiak to try to get them going.

McFadzean forced Jack Bonham into an excellent save with a dipping shot after 39 minutes before Tony Craig thought he had broken his side's recent goal drought from a scramble inside the Burton box only to be denied by the offside flag.

Burton Boss Nigel Clough has stated that his sights are set firmly on the game this weekend. The Brewers have won two, drawn one and lost two so far in 2019-20, with both of those defeats coming at the Pirelli Stadium.

That is a record the Burton manager wants to rectify this weekend, as they look to end the first month of the season in the best possible way, "It was our first win at home this season against Morecambe, we're at the end of August and we've already lost a couple of League games here, in unlucky fashion," Clough told the Derby Telegraph, "So it was good to get that first win.”

"It's a big week for us with the three games. Bristol Rovers is by far the most important one on Saturday, then the EFL Trophy game against Crewe is next Tuesday, "We go now and get ready for Saturday, because that's the one we really need to win.

"When you come off the pitch after the week we've had, with four points on the road in the League against Oxford United and Shrewsbury Town, and now we've had two clean sheets and we've scored eight goals, anybody who doesn't want to get out there and play again tomorrow and Thursday shouldn't be playing football.

"Hopefully it will be a bit cooler on Saturday, it's going to drop a few degrees. Night games are always lovely, you've got the zip on the pitch, a bit of dew, the ball moves nicely, so we just want to take the same sort of patterns and the same things we did on Tuesday into Saturday."

 

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Match Reports

Match Report: Burton Albion 2-0 Bristol Rovers

31 August 2019

Rovers defeated on the road at the Pirelli.

Edwards and Akins' late goals inside the final ten minutes provided a frustrating finish to the encounter for Rovers, who created a number of half-chances to claim the points themselves. 

In a even first-half, chances were few and far between. Anssi Jaakkola produced a fine stop on close-range effort from Liam Boyce, that was perhaps the pick of a tight and tentative first half. 

Rovers had a number of second-half opportunities, as Luke Leahy and Tyler Smith came close to breaking the deadlock, but Rovers fell victim to late sucker punches from the home side.

As the Gas were pushing for a late goal to record the win, it was the hosts that scored inside the final five minute, as Akins turned inside the box and placed a finish around Jaakkola to give Burton the win. 

Ryan Edwards broke free deep into added time, as Rovers were piling on the pressure, to calmly stroke the ball through Jaakkola's legs and secure the victory.

JMP_Burton_Albion_v_Bristol_Rovers_RS_035.JPG

In naming his squad starting XI for the fixture, Rovers boss Graham Coughlan opted to utilise the same eleven that started last weekend's victory over Oxford United. 

That meant that Jonson Clarke-Harris and Tyler Smith were paired together up front, after the duo started Tuesday's Carabao Cup tie on the bench.

It was the hosts that assembled the first opening of the game, coming inside the opening ten minutes. Ryan Edwards was able to get to a near-post cross and flicked the delivery over Jaakkola, seeing the ball worked to the unmarked Atkins at the far post. Just six-yards out, the striker's close-range header took a deflection off Leahy that saw the effort loop over the crossbar, in what was an early let-off for Rovers.

As the first-half progressed, Rovers grew into the contest. Alfie Kilgour chalked the first noticeable chance for the Gas, as the defender wrangled his way free to be able to get a header on a deep cross from Tom Davies, but Kilgour's attempt ran wide of goal. 

Minutes later, Kilgour turned the provider for Tyler Smith, clipping a smart pass into the feet of the striker who had found a pocket of space in between Buxton and Edwards. The striker was allowed to take a touch and opted to take an early shot that flashed away from goal. 

On the half-hour mark, Jaakkola was called in action and provided a fine stop to prevent the home side taking the lead. It was a long-range effort from Scott Fraser that caused the danger, as the shot was deflected into the path of Liam Boyce. The striker looked destined for the net from close-range, Jaakkola'st outstretched stopped the effort tucking into the far corner, with the goalkeeper already committed to diving in the opposite direction to stop Fraser's original effort.

There were calls for the hosts to be reduced to ten men shortly after, as a hectic tackle from Ryan Edwards caught Luke Leahy late, but after much deliberation, the referee deemed that tackle only worthy of a caution.  

Rovers ended the half brightly, as Ollie Clarke fed a low cross into the mix that almost dropped for Tyler Smith, but O'Hara in the Burton goal was alert to dart off his line to push the cross to safety. Moments later, a high cross from Ed Upson swung towards Clarke-Harris, as the forward beat his man in the air and was able to glance a header towards goal that O'Hara held. 

The momentum was carried forward by Coughlan's men in the early stages of the second half, as the Gas created a number of significant chances on goal.

The first came as Jonson Clarke-Harris curled a smart effort towards goal that had O'Hara concerned, with Burton 'keeper only able to push Clarke-Harris' attempt into the path of Luke Leahy, who rushed a first-time effort wide of goal. 

It was Clarke-Harris involved again shortly after Leahy's opportunity, as a powerful, low effort from the striker took a heavy deflection off Tyler Smith, which altered the path of the ball and required a reaction stop from O'Hara to keep the ball out of the net. 

O'Hara was kept busy in the opening ten minutes of the second half, as the Burton 'keeper was forced to tip an inswinging corner from Luke Leahy away from goal, as the set-piece from the defender crept towards goal.

There was no let-up for O'Hara, who had to be equal to a low-effort from Alfie Kilgour from 30-yards out that was on target, with the 'keeper able to watch the ball into his glutches through what was a congested penalty area.

Chances were now piling up for Rovers, as Abu Ogogo took aim from outside the area, as the midfielder waited patiently for a clearance to fall, but shifted his effort wide of the upright.

With twenty minutes left in the contest, Tom Nichols was introduced from the bench. The striker was involved from the off, chasing down a ball over top and looking to smash a volley towards goal, only for his effort to be deflected over the target.

Akins was able to turn inside the Rovers penalty area and carve out a shooting opportunity, taking full advantage and lifting a finish inside the far-post that swerved past Anssi Jaakkola in the net. As it flew in, the term 'smash and grab' came to mind.

As Rovers were chasing a late equaliser, the hosts were able to break and add a second goal through Ryan Edwards. With most of the Gas up for an attack, when the ball was hit over the top, Edwards alert to chase it down and head towards goal. When he reached Jaakkola, he acted with calmness, placing it between the Fin's legs and crushing Rovers' hopes.

In truth, neither side particularly took this game by the scruff of the neck, but it was Burton who came away with the three points, courtesy of two late goals.

The Gas now look forward to Plymouth Argyle away, in the  first game in their Leasing.com campaign

Rovers: Anssi Jaakkola (GK), Josh Hare, Alfie Kilgour, Tom Davies, Tony Craig, Luke Leahy, Abu Ogogo, Ollie Clarke, Ed Upson, Tyler Smith (70' Tom Nichols), Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Subs: Jordi van Stappershoef, Michael Kelly, Mark Little, Alex Rodman, Kyle Bennett, Tom Nichols, Victor Adeboyejo.

Burton Albion: Kieran O'Hara, John Brayford, Ryan Edwards, Jake Buxton (57' Richard Nartey), Kieran Wallace, Stephen Quinn, Scott Fraser, Lucas Akins, Oliver Sarkic (70' Joe Sbarra), John-Joe O'Toole, Liam Boyce (75' David Templeton).

Subs: Stephen Bywater, David Templeton, Joe Sbarra, Reece Hutchinson, Richard Nartey, Jevan Anderson, Chris Beardsley.

Attendance: 2831 (640 away)

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Ticket News

Ticket Information: Burton Albion

30 August 2019

Ticket information for our trip to the Pirelli Stadium on Saturday.

Graham Coughlan's take to the road to face Burton Albion on Saturday, 31st August, KO 3pm.

In a change to the previously advertised ticket information, the Club has been informed tickets WILL be available on the day, from the club shop at the Pirelli Stadium.

Advance tickets for the fixture will be available from the club's Superstore up until 11am on Friday.

Ticket prices for the fixture are listed below.

Seated Tickets

Adults £22
Over 65's/Young Person (17-22) £20
Under 17 £12

Terrace Tickets

Adults £18
Over 65's £16
Young Person (17-22) £13
Under 17 £5

Tickets are still available in-store or over the phone on 9096648 (Option 1).

ID checks will be in place for concession tickets. 

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