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17 April 2021 Venue Memorial Stadium Attendance

Kick off 12:30 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Match Preview - Bristol Rovers v Lincoln City

16 April 2021

Rovers are back in Sky Bet League One action this weekend, facing Lincoln City at the Mem, in the earlier KO slot of 12:30pm.

Joey Barton’s side will be looking to extend an unbeaten run that has seen them tally four points out of the last two games, with a set of fixtures in the diary this weekend that could bode crucial for the battle against the drop.

The Gas will be looking to record a back-to-back home league for just the second time this season – with the incentive that a three-point haul on Saturday and other results falling in their favour could be enough to see them climb above the dotted line.

We take you through all the need-to-know stats and facts ahead of Saturday’s encounter.

Manager’s Preview

Rovers Manager spoke to the press on Friday morning ahead of training at the Mem on Zoom.

Watch the full interview below…

Feature

Manager's Preview: Barton on Lincoln City

Media Talk…

Imps Manager Michael Appleton also offered his take on Saturday’s showdown at BS7. The former Portsmouth, Oxford and Blackpool Manager alluded to what he expects from the Gas on Saturday, telling weareimps.co.uk, “I think their (Rovers) home record isn't particularly great and that is something that Joey will be looking to address.

'Our away form is pretty good, so we take confidence from that. We will prepare for whatever type of game it is. If it's open and expansive, then that would suit us. There's certainly too much at stake, especially for Bristol Rovers part for it to be that type of game.”

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Form Guide

The Imps have registered two wins in their last 10 games, form that has seen them lose ground on the race for an automatic promotion spot.

Tuesday's comprehensive 4-0 win over MK Dons saw Brennan Johnson grab a hat-trick, with the scoreline aiding Lincoln’s goal difference in the congested top reaches of the Sky Bet League One table, where 9 points separate Sunderland in 3rd and Charlton in 8th spot.

Jorge Grant is the top scorer for Lincoln this term with 11 goals to his name, 6 of those have come away from home, but it looks like he may miss Saturday's encounter.

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Stat Pack

Rovers have four wins on the spin against the Imps - a run that dates back to 2014.

The last two fixtures between the two sides has seen Rovers score from the penalty spot. Jonson Clarke-Harris scored from the spot in a 1-0 win away at Sincil Back in September 2019, with Brandon Hanlan scoring a penalty in the previous encounter between the teams this season.

Luke Leahy scored his 10th goal of the season away at Northampton Town last weekend. 8 of the defender's goals have come in the league - his highest goal tally in a season to date. Leahy's last three goals at the Mem have all come in Rovers wins (Portsmouth, Shrewsbury and Accrington). The left-back has been involved in more league goals (8 goals and 3 assists) than any other top four tier defender this season.

Away from Sincil Bank this term, Michael Appleton’s side have captured 35 points, the 5th highest tally in the league. On their travels, they have lost three times, at Doncaster, Plymouth and Oxford.

Rovers boss Joey Barton has faced Michael Appleton on one previous occasion, with the game between Fleetwood and Lincoln back in October 2020 ending 0-0.

Referee Watch

Will Finnie is the man in the middle for Saturday's early KO. This season, Finnie has taken charge of 14 Sky Bet League Two games and nine encounters in Sky Bet League One. In 23 games this term, he's handed out 61 yellow cards and three red.

Betting

EFL sponsors Sky Bet have Rovers priced at 19/10 to collect three points on Saturday, with the draw offered at 23/10. Brandon Hanlan is matched at 2/1 to be on the scoresheet at any time during Saturday’s contest.

To bet with Sky Bet please click HERE.

All odds are correct at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.

How to Watch

Last weekend’s game at Northampton Town saw our highest number of match passes sold for a league fixture – with 2,308 tuning in to watch the action.

Feature

iFollow Guide: Bristol Rovers v Lincoln City

Previous Encounter

Rovers picked up three points on the road when the two sides went head-to-head back in October.

On that occasion, the Gas had to fight from behind to spoil Lincoln’s perfect start to the campaign, as Jorge Grant's free-kick was headed home by Lewis Montsma.

Moments later, the Gas pulled back level as Josh Hare’s inviting cross from the right was headed home by James Daly.

Rovers raced ahead on the stroke of the hour when Adam Jackson fouled Brandon Hanlan on the very edge of the Lincoln area. The referee pointed to the spot and the striker made no mistake with his effort from the spot.

Jackson was later dismissed as the host’s ended the game with ten men, allowing Rovers to seal their first away win of the campaign.

Around the Grounds

The action in the division gets under way on Friday night – as Northampton Town make the trip to face Peterborough United, a game which will have implications for Rovers. At the top of the table, Sunderland head to play-off hopefuls Blackpool, while MK Dons entertain Portsmouth. Ipswich make the trip to the Valley in what could be a pivotal game in the race for a play-off spot. Another fixture Rovers will be interested in keeping an eye on, Wigan play host to Crewe and Rochdale welcome Accrington Stanley to the Crown Oil Arena. A late kick-off on Saturday sees AFC Wimbledon host Swindon Town, a further key encounter at the foot of the table.

Feature

The Run-In: 5 Games to Go

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Match Reports

Match Report: Bristol Rovers 0-1 Lincoln City

17 April 2021

Rovers defeated by Lincoln City at the Mem.

Anthony Scully’s first half goal was the difference between the sides at the BS7.  

Rovers were reduced to 10-men when Ed Upson was dismissed for an incident with Brennan Johnson midway through the first half – the episode saw two Lincoln men booked in the process.

There was chances for Rovers in the second half, as both Harries and Leahy went close with headers, but Lincoln held on to preserve their narrow lead to claim victory.

Heading into the contest, Rovers made two changes to the side that faced Northampton Town.

Alfie Kilgour completed a return from an ankle injury to feature in the starting XI, replacing Jack Baldwin, as Brandon Hanlan dropped to the bench in place of Josh Hare.

The visitors also named two changes in their line-up, with both TJ Eyoma and Lewis Montsma returning for Michael Appleton’s side. In the opening stages, Rovers marked the initial ten minutes with a bright attacking display.

From an early corner, Alfie Kilgour contested an aerial battle to plant a header towards goal, with the defender’s effort clipping the crossbar.

The chance was quickly followed by an opening for McCormick, who darted to be first to the ball on the edge of the Lincoln area and struck a first-time effort that carried too much height to trouble Palmer.

Despite Rovers’ energy, it was Lincoln who grabbed the game’s first goal. The move saw the combination of Sully and Brennan Johnson, who was able to carve a way into the Rovers box from the right-hand side. Sully received a return pass and from a tight angle, poised a finish across the face to goal to give Lincoln the lead.

Rovers had to be alert to prevent Lincoln adding a second goal shortly after Sully’s opener, when a routine ball over the top swung into the path of Morton. The striker took a touch to break into the Rovers area, with perfect slide tackle from Alfie Kilgour stopping the Lincoln man getting a shot away. Barton’s side still stuck to the high energy that was on display in the opening stages, pressing Lincoln high up the pitch and committing men forward. McCormick had a further effort from the edge of the area spin wide of the target, a shot that caused Palmer some concern, with a violent dive to his left to get the effort covered.

McCormick, who was Rovers’ main outlet in the first half fired a low free-kick into the ball from just outside the box.

A moment of madness followed on the 36th minute as Ed Upson was deemed to have fouled Brennan Johnson on the half-way line. Urgently wanting the ball back, Upson attempted to grab the ball back but was pulled on top of the Lincoln prompting further afters. Tayo Edun came charging into the action, smashing Upson to his feet. After things calmed down, the ref' waved a red card at Upson, while Edun and Johnson escaped with a yellow.

Late on in the half, Luke Leahy would bring down a lofted ball on the left side of the area before striking powerfully at the front post. However, Palmer was alert to the danger and gathered well. The last key highlight in a busy first half.

Brandon Hanlan replaced Josh Hare at the break as Joey Barton looked for a way to get his side back into the game.

Lincoln City would start to enjoy more time on the ball following the break with the Gas' numbers reduced, and would go close on the 50th minute. Zain Westbrooke went down after being struck my a flailing arm with Lincoln playing on despite Westbrooke down holding his face.

The ball was worked centrally but the Imps struck just wide of Jaakkola's post. Luke Leahy and Anssi Jaakkola immediately went to protest after the game continued while Westbrooke had a head injury, but were booked for their comments.

Rovers would flick a header down from a wide free-kick as Harries knocked centrally. It deflected off a Lincoln man to go for a corner, which eventually fell to Leahy at the back stick. His attempted an audacious dink over the 'keeper on the volley, but saw Palmer adjust well to catch.

Up the other end Lincoln missed a golden chance to double their lead as Johnson burst through the centre, his shot found the gloves of Anssi Jaakkola who dove low to his right to palm it out. It ricochetted back to Callum Morton though, who powered a shot high and wide past the left corner.

Bramall would strike a free-kick into the wall from a similar position to McCormick's first-half effort as the game passed the 60th minute. Hanlan stood firm before McCormick hoofed clear the deflection.

Rovers came narrowly close to levelling things up as McCormick delivered a superb free-kick to the back post. Regan Poole could only nod it back across goal where Luke Leahy was looking to loop it back over Palmer. He managed it, but saw his header clip the crossbar and go over. Poole made contact with the post during the chance, going down injured and receiving treatment for a while.

Moving gingerly initially, Poole eventually returned to the field and put Lincoln back to eleven men.

With less than 20 to go, Lincoln would go close to extending their lead from a corner as it bobbled around inside the Rovers box before falling to Morton. He still had to stretch to strike, which gave Jaakkola enough time to rush down the chance and tip the effort onto the bar from close-range.

Erhun Oztumer was brought on to replace Zain Westbrooke with 15 to go.

In the closing stages, Rovers couldn’t force any late chances with the possession they held, as Lincoln secured the points.

Bristol Rovers: Anssi Jaakkola, Luke Leahy (c), Ed Upson, Zain Westbrooke, Luke McCormick, Alfie Kilgour, Jonah Ayunga, Josh Hare (Brandon Hanlan '45), Cian Harries, Pablo Martinez (84' Jack Baldwin), George Williams.

Subs: Joe Day, Cameron Hargreaves, David Tutonda,  Zain Walker.

Lincoln City: Alex Palmer, Regan Poole, Lewis Montsma, Tayo Edun (James Jones '54), Anthony Scully (Max Sanders '68), Cohen Bramall, Conor McGrandles (c), Callum Morton, Timothy Eyoma, Brennan Johnson (81' Harry Anderson), Morgan Rogers.

Subs: Sam Long, Remy Howarth,  Sean Roughan, Hayden Cann.

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