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07 September 2019 Venue Memorial Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Focus On: Accrington Stanley

4 September 2019

We take a detailed look at our next opponents...

Bristol Rovers look to end a bleak record against Accrington Stanley on Saturday when they host the Lancashire team. It is a remarkable statistic that in 12 meetings, since Stanley re-gained admission to the League, Rovers have won 2, drawn 2 and lost 8. The goals in those games read, Rovers 17, Stanley 9! Rovers two victories have been 4-0 and 5-1. All the Accy victories have been either 1-0 (5 times) or 2-1 (3 times). If ever Rovers had a bogey team it surely has to be the Reds.

After getting off to a good start last season, Stanley struggled and like Rovers were drawn into the amazing late-season relegation battle in Division One. They have not got off to the best of starts this season and had picked up just one point from their opening four League games. Last weekend they celebrated their first win of the season after coming from behind to beat MK Dons 2-1.

Stanley dominated the early play, but it was MK Dons who opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Rhys Healey's ball over the top found last season's 22-goal striker Kieran Agard who outmuscled Mark Hughes and fired home. It was his first goal of the season.

Stanley were unlucky not to equalise in the 27th minute when Joe Pritchard's strike hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced down and was cleared. The Reds got the goal their play deserved in the 52nd minute when a Jordan Clark strike was kept out by a combination of goalkeeper Lee Nicholls and the post, and Colby Bishop was there to fire home the rebound for his fourth goal of the season.

The comeback was complete in the 59th minute when Pritchard's ball in found Hughes at the far post and his bullet header beat Nicholls. Stanley should have made it three in the 64th minute when Clark was fouled in the area but Nicholls dived the right way to keep out Bishop's penalty. Healey had a goal ruled out for offside in injury time.

Stanley assistant manager Jimmy Bell spoke to the Press after the game, "It was a great performance, a great win and it was nerve-jangling in the end. We were eager to get the first three points on the board this season, so we were going to get that but I think the performance deserved a lot more than that.”

"We should have been out of sight, we missed the penalty, we missed a host of great chances and we got a great compliment off their manager at the end, as he said 'you're a very good team and you fully deserved the three points', so that summed it up for me."

Talking about MK scoring first he went on to note, "Confidence was affected, we haven't won for five games, we haven't won in the league, with playing so well it was a body-blow but it was great that we responded. We played well if not better than what we did against Shrewsbury Town today, and it was a body-blow but we got back up and hit them with three or four really good shots in the second half. If it was a boxing match, we'd have knocked them out."

Rovers and Stanley have played one another 14 times before. The very first time was an FA Cup tie on 14 December 1929 at Eastville, the home team running out 4-1 winners, as George Reay netted twice, Jack Phillips and Fred Forbes also scoring for the Pirates with Danny Ferguson scoring for the Peel Park team. Four years later at the same stage Rovers visited Peel Park and came back out of the Cup, losing 1-0.

Fast-forward over 70 years before the rejuvenated Stanley were back into the League after their 1961 demise and visited Bristol once again. The very first league meeting again took place in December 23 2006. Once again Rovers hit 4 goals but this time Stanley were scoreless. Richard Walker put Rovers ahead on 6 minutes, Steve Elliott on 22 minutes and Walker with a 26th-minute penalty made the game safe. Stuart Nicholson completed the scoring on 88 minutes. The return game in Lancashire on 6 March ended in a 1-1 tie, Richard Walker again giving Rovers the lead, but Shaun Whalley equalised for Stanley in the last minute.

Rovers finished their 2011-12 home programme with a flourish as they disposed of Stanley with a 5-1 victory. Matt Harrold scored twice on 11 and 22 minutes (the second a penalty), Andy Dorman 29 minutes, put Rovers 3-0 up, before Kevin McIntyre on 38 minutes put Stanley back in the game before half-time. In the second half goals by Matty Lund 58 and 78 minutes gave Rovers their last victory over the Lancashire team.

In the last 7 games (before the battling 0-0 draw in January), Stanley had come out winners by a single goal every time. On 28 January 2014, the Gas dominated for most of the game, and put the Accrington goal under plenty of pressure, but they could not find the back of the net and the visitor’s took advantage at the last minute to win 1-0. It was heartbreak for Rovers when Peter Murphy volleyed home the winner in the final seconds of added time.

In the 2015/16 season, Billy Kee's overhead kick moments after coming on was a rare moment of quality as Accrington won a forgettable encounter. Kee had just replaced Josh Windass when he spectacularly scored after a right-wing corner was headed goalwards.

Shay McCartan and Matt Crooks had chances to extend the lead as Rovers failed to pose much threat. Ollie Clarke's header from Chris Lines' corner late in the first half was their only real moment of danger.

Last season, two goals from Sean McConville earned the away team their first victory in the third tier of the English Football League. The left-sided midfielder opened the scoring after six minutes, capitalising on a good run from Jordan Clark to cut in onto his right foot and score with a deflected shot from 12 yards.

Stefan Payne marked his Rovers debut by heading a close-range equaliser from James Clarke's right-wing cross in the 83rd minute. But McConville had the final say six minutes later with a fine first-time finish with his right foot from the left corner of the box that sent the ball skidding past Rovers goalkeeper Sam Slocombe.

Clark had hit the crossbar after 75 minutes as Stanley produced the more incisive moves, despite being second best in terms of possession.

Neither goalkeeper had much to do in the first 45 minutes, with the only save of note coming from Accrington's Connor Ripley, who dived to his left to get a firm hand on Liam Sercombe's 34th-minute volley.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s fixture Jimmy Bell admitted that the mood at the club had lightened after two wins in four days and some new signings, "We had a very busy deadline day, players became available and we've got a limited budget, and we've packed the squad out now.

"It should stay open even longer, but a few weeks give you a chance to assess what you've got. We've got a healthy squad now, and we've got good competition."

"We've had two good results this week, and the mood in the camp is a lot different to the first few weeks. If you're playing well it'll eventually turn, we weren't playing bad but we found a way to lose games.”

"We showed a lot more resilience, a lot more know-how of how to win a game and smell danger when you're in front."

Speaking of the Rovers game he commented, "We've got a fantastic record against them, but that counts for nothing. We will tell the players that and we'll go with a system and a style to try and beat the way they play.”

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Match Reports

Match Report: Bristol Rovers 3-3 Accrington Stanley

6 September 2019

The Gas draw with Accrington Stanley following an incredible battle...

In a game seemed to have it all, the battle swung back and forth between either day. Rodman poked home early on, before Accrington replied with two inside a minute through Clarke and Finley.

However, a calm strike before the break from JCH put Rovers level, before he produce something spectacular in the 2nd half to put the Gas back in the driving seat. There would be one more twist in the tail though, as Hare brought down Charles in the box, allowing him to step up and stroke a penalty home on the 76th minute.

The Gaffer made three alternations from the team that played Burton Albion away from home last week. Between the sticks, it was time for Jordi Van Stappershoef's home debut, as he replaced Anssi Jaakkola who was away on international duty with Finland.

Courtesy of an early injury in the midweek Plymouth Argyle cup game, Coughlan was forced to swap Ed Upson, who has starred so far this season, for Alex Rodman in the middle of the park. Finally, Nichols' goal midweek was enough to convince the Gaffer to start him again on the weekend, as he came in for Tyler Smith up top.

It took less than five minutes for Rovers to get on the scoreboard, as Ollie Clarke picked up the ball from Nichols on the left apex of the box. He hit a low, driven ball, towards the far post, which Alex Rodman read superbly and latched on to, coolly poking it home from inside the 6-yard box - in truth, it would've been harder to miss.

Accrington Stanley put themselves under more pressure just after 10 minutes had passed, as a ball from Tom Davies was all-too-calmly chested back to the 'keeper by an Accrington defender. Tom Nichols was sniffing about, and almost nicked the ball as it headed towards Evtimov, but the goalkeeper rushed out well to claim it.

On the 15th minute mark, Accrington Stanley had their first chance, as a low ball was only partly cleared by Abu Ogogo, ricocheting in the direction of Sam Finley who's first-time strike sailed wide of van Stappershoef's left post.

Moments later, they had their equaliser as Jordan Clark was played through on the right by a header. He took the ball down well and ran at Alfie Kilgour, darting to the right and lashing a strike towards the bottom left post. Despite JVS' best efforts, the strike clipped the post and rolled in.

Almost instantly from kick-off, Accrington were in again, this time with Finley running at and beating Tony Craig before progressing into the area. There, he took his time and waited for JVS to commit himself, before calmly stroking it into the bottom right for Accrington to take the lead.

Whilst still an end to end game, no big chance game the way of either side until the 27th minute, when Francis-Angol picked it up on the right side and smashed a cross towards the 6-yard-area. Fortunately for Rovers, Kilgour was alert to the danger and sprung in front of the onrushing Accrington striker to deflect it clear.

With five minutes to go in the first half, Ollie Clarke pounced on the ball in the middle of the park, driving towards goal and unleashing a shot. Accrington closed down well, with a defender able to get his body in front of the shot, but the rebound fell to Rovers' big man up top - Jonson Clarke-Harris. JCH took the ball in his stride, unphased by the recovering defence, and slotted it coolly to Evtimov's left for a crucial equaliser late into the first half, a goal sure to change the mood in the dressing room.

Just after the 2nd half, Seamus Conneely received a second yellow after holding back Tom Nichols on the breakaway, meaning Accrington Stanley were reduced to 10 men. This game was a rollercoaster.

The next twist would come through Tom Nichols, who almost headed home following a superb floated cross by Luke Leahy, but his glancing header was too central and saved by Evtimov.

Moments later, Kyle Bennett replaced goalscorer Alex Rodman.

On 63rd, JCH showed why he is the man Rovers so frequently turn to, as a free-kick from Kyle Bennett was headed up into the air, the big man made space for the miraculous. Facing away from goal, he acrobatically bicycle kicked the strike perfectly into the bottom right corner. What a goal!

After running his socks off throughout the game, Tom Nichols made way for Tyler Smith just before the 70th minute.

Accrington Stanley found a chance shortly after as Ogogo was muscled off the ball in the centre of the park. The visitors worked it wide to Opoku who charged at the Rovers defence before hitting a strong shot on goal, which Ollie Clarke blocked well. This signalled a nervy end to the game, as JCH was booked for a late challenge on Kaba Sherief, and Accrington began to pose and real threat.

On the 76th minute, Accrington had a reward, as Hare brought down Charles as he rushed through on goal, inside the area. Charles stepped up for the penalty and calmly dispatched it past JVS who dived the right way but didn't get enough contact on it to divert it away from goal.

On the 84th, Accrington continued their pressure, this time through Kaba Sherief who received the ball outside the area and allowed the ball to bounce once. He volleyed as it rose up again, but it flew over the bar.

After the referee was hit in the face by the ball, he was forced to swap with one of his linesmen. Not only this, but the stoppage in play prompted nine minutes to be added on.

Late on, Bennett hit the bar after stepping inside and whipping one on goal, if it had gone in, it would've been 6 minutes deep into stoppage time.

The Gas now enjoy a week away from midweek kick-off's, with their next fixture coming a week today, against Lincoln City away at Sincil Bank where they will look to gain their first away points on the board.

6524 (130)


Rovers: Jordi van Stappershoef (G), Josh Hare, Alfie Kilgour, Tom Davies, Tony Craig, Luke Leahy, Abu Ogogo, Ollie Clarke, Alex Rodman (Kyle Bennett 59'), Tom Nichols (Tyler Smith 69'), Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Subs: Alexis Andre-Jr, Mark Little, Michael Kelly, Cameron Hargreaves, Kyle Bennett, Tyler Smith, Victor Adeboyejo

Accrington Stanley: Dimitar Evtimov, Callum Johnson (Jerome Opoku 59'), Mark Hughes, Ross Sykes, Jordan Clark, Sam Finley, Joe Pritchard, Zaine Francis-Angol (Lamine Kaba Sherief 55'), Colby Bishop, Seamus Connelly, Dion Charles.

Subs: Toby Swain (G), Phil Edwards, Lamine Kaba Sherief, Wilson Carvalho, Connor Simpson, Jerome Opoku, Sadau Diallo



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Ticket News

Ticket Information: Accrington Stanley

5 September 2019

Rovers host Accrington Stanley at the Mem on Saturday, 7th September - 3pm KO.

Supporters can purchase tickets in person from our Superstore - which is open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

Online tickets for this fixture will be available until midnight on Friday, 6th September for supporters wishing to collect tickets on the day.

Online 'Print @ Home' tickets will remain on sale up until 2 hours before kick-off and can be scanned at the turnstiles on a compatible mobile device. 

To book tickets online please click HERE. have provided a handy list of FAQ’s about the new platform, that can be read HERE.

To view the matchday ticket prices for the 2019/20 season, please click HERE.

Supporters are reminded that on the day sales are offered from the match day ticket office, that is located behind the Thatcher's Terrace. We advise collecting tickets or purchasing on the day tickets at the earliest opportunity.

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