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16 February 2021 Venue Memorial Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Match Preview - Bristol Rovers v Portsmouth

15 February 2021

All the pre-match info heading into Tuesday's encounter at the Mem against Portsmouth.

Rovers return to league action on Tuesday evening, following the frustration surrounding last weekend’s fixture against Swindon being postponed.

Saturday’s game was called off as the match referee deemed the surface unplayable, a full four hours before KO.

The postponement led to further fixture having to be rescheduled, adding to an already congested timetable for the Gas between now and May.

Tuesday’s encounter sees Rovers go head-to-head with one of the teams fighting for promotion, Kenny Jackett's Portsmouth.

Media Talk...

Interim Manager Tommy Widdrington spoke to the press on Monday morning via Zoom to offer his thoughts heading into Tuesday’s encounter.

Watch the interview in full below...

Opposition View

Pompey sit 4th in the league standings, with a tally of 48 points from their 26 games played this term.

Ahead of Tuesday’s trip to the Mem, Kenny Jackett spoke to saying, “It’s hard to know tactically what they are going to do because they’ve got a caretaker manager in at the moment.

“We do know their players, though, and the options they have. After that, we concentrate on ourselves.”


Form Guide

Portsmouth’s fixture at Crewe on Saturday was postponed due to frozen pitch, meaning their last fixture was last midweek, a 2-0 win over Swindon. Over the last 10 games in all competitions, Kenny Jackett’s side have picked up five wins, but losses against both Hull and Lincoln in recent weeks has dented their climb towards the top two places in the division.

John Marquis leads the Pompey goalscoring charts with 11 so far this term, with the former Doncaster man also aiding his team with 5 assists. Former Rovers striker Ellis Harrison has three goals to his name this season, scoring a penalty in Portsmouth’s last fixture against Swindon.


Referee Watch

Christopher Sarginson is the man in the middle on Tuesday night. The referee has officiated 21 games this season, giving out 56 yellow cards and three red cards. Sarginson was the referee that was in charge of our trip to Gillingham back in March 2019 and also officiated our game in the EFL Trophy away at Swansea that season.


EFL sponsors Sky Bet have Rovers priced at 10/3 for the win, with a 1-0 scoreline to the Gas offered at 10/1. On the first goal scorer market, Brandon Hanlan is priced at 13/2 to grab the game’s first goal, with James Daly listed at 8/1.

To bet with Sky Bet please click HERE.

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

Last Encounter

The last meeting between the sides took place in October 2019 at the Mem and saw a superb fightback from the Gas to overturn a two-goal deficit to register a point. Gareth Evans opened the scoring for the visitors early on, with the lead for Portsmouth doubled when Ronan Curtis added a second goal with a little over 20 minutes remaining. Alex Rodman started the Rovers comeback with a strike in the 78th minute, before a Craig MacGillivray own-goal from a corner ensured the points were shared.

Head to Head

The two meetings between the sides in 2019 campaign ended in a draw, with the game at the Mem ending 2-2 in the 2019/20 season, with the clash at Fratton Park in the season prior ending 1-1.

Pomey's last win at the Mem came in August 2018, where an early Gareth Evans goal for the away side was cancelled out by Chris Lines. Lines was then shown a red card, before a late Brandon Haunstrup goal provided Portsmouth with all three-points.

A memorable meeting between the sides that will stick in the memory of Rovers fans was the meeting between the two teams on New Year's Day 2018. Two late goals from Stuart Sinclair and Liam Sercombe saw Rovers reverse a 1-0 goal defecit to record a 2-1 win for Rovers.

Rovers haven't secured a clean sheet against Portsmouth in the last nine meetings between the two sides, with Porstmouth scoring the first goal in 8 of the last 9 fixtures between the two sides.

How to Watch

Tuesday’s game will be available to watch live on iFollow. A large proportion of the £10 match pass fee is returned to the football club, helping the club generate revenue. On Tuesday, the Gascast lads will be joined on commentary by former midfielder, Lee Mansell.

Around the Grounds

There’s a handful of rearranged fixtures taking place this midweek in Sky Bet League One. Rochdale’s trip to Blackpool is a game for Rovers fans to keep an eye on, with Rochdale just two points above the Gas in the league. Northampton, who are currently below Rovers, head to Ipswich, while Gillingham entertain Peterborough. On Wednesday, Doncaster Rovers play host to Accrington Stanley.

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Match Reports

Match Report: Bristol Rovers 3-1 Portsmouth

16 February 2021

The Gas take all three points in an action-packed evening at the Mem!

In a game that had everything, a John Marquis close-range finish looked to put Pompey in the driving seat before a Jonah Ayunga double fired the Gas into the lead before half-time.

Luke Leahy would notch a penalty in the second period after he himself was brought down before Joe Day would step up in added time to deny Pompey a pathway to a late comeback.

Tommy Widdrington was forced into one change as he took over the reins at the Gas this evening, with Max Ehmer injured, replaced by Cian Harries. An all-change attacking trio formed, with Nicholson, Hanlan and Ayunga starting in place of Rodman, Daly and Oztumer.

It's been more than a busy week for Bristol Rovers, since their 2-0 defeat to Oxford on home soil last Tuesday. With the club parting company with Paul Tisdale since, and controversy following the postponement of their clash with Swindon Town on Saturday, it was nice to return to on-field action on this fine Tuesday evening.

The game's first sniff of a chance came through stand-in captain Luke Leahy, who looped a smart ball over the Portsmouth back line for Hanlan to chase. It bounced towards the left side of the box, with the striker in a footrace to beat the onrushing MacGillivray, in the end, the Pompey 'keeper won narrowly, collecting in front of Hanlan.

Sean Raggett would head over after connecting with an inviting free-kick delivery moments later.

McCormick would secure the Gas' next sight of goal on the quarter-hour mark, as Sam Nicholson seemed to knee the ball in the midfielder's direction on the edge of the box. McCormick ran onto it and stroked an effort goalwards, but it was too central and MacGillivray collected.

Rovers continued their pressure, with Luke Leahy working space on the left flank to curl in a cross for Brandon Hanlan. Hanlan connected well, looking to redirect the delivery goalwards from just inside the box. He found the target, but MacGillivray adjusted well to deny him.

Moments later, the Gas had to dig the ball out from under their own bar. A free-kick deflected out towards the ref on the edge of the Pompey area, deflecting harshly for Rovers, springing a Pompey break. A wave of orange progressed forward before floating to Marquis at the back stick to head on goal. Joe Day adjusted to get fingertips on the ball, flicking it back across his goalline where Kilgour acted on instinct the hoof the ball out from danger. Some Pompey shouts went up, claiming the ball went over the line, but in truth, they had little to stand on given the nature of the breakaway.

Pompey sustained their pressure though, and on the 25th minute, a venomous cross found John Marquis who rifled home from close range to take the lead.

Before a further 10 minutes had passed, the Gas were back level. Jonah Ayunga managed to isolate his defender inside the area towards the left side. He stood up his man, jinking left with rapid pace before bolting an effort past MacGillivray in unstoppable fashion. His first league goal for the Gas and what a way to do it.

The game fizzled for a further 10 minutes before that same man popped up to double his tally for the game, and the league. Luke Leahy delivered a superb cross towards Ayunga who'd peeled off at the back stick into acres of space. He chested it down with confidence before rifling hard and low into the bottom right corner. What a half from the 23-year-old, carrying his side into the lead.

That's how it stayed, with Rovers taking the lead into the break.

Pompey would be the first to strike on goal after half-time, with George Byers leathering a low strike from the edge of the box way past Joe Day's right post. This strike came after a triple half-time change for the visitors, with Brown, Nicolaisen and Harness replacing Daniels, Curtis and Bolton.

A low Lee Brown cross, something Gasheads will be more than familiar with, looked dangerous as it rolled across the 6-yard box, but Rovers did well to shield it through, rolling out the other side.

On the hour mark, Marcus Harness would leather one goalwards from distance with some venom, worrying Day as it angled towards the top left corner, in the end, flashing just past the Cardiff-loanee's post.

Up the other end, a half-chance came the Gas' way through a Luke McCormick corner, with Alfie Kilgour rising to meet it. He made contact under contention with a Pompey defender, which saw him nod the ball wide.

On the 65th minute, another former Gashead joined the fold, as Ellis Harrison replaced Andy Cannon.

5 minutes later, Luke Leahy nipped in sharply to nab the ball from a defender before progressing into the box. Clipped from behind, the captain for the night went down with the ref' left no choice but to point to the spot. Up he stepped, confident he could extent the Gas' lead, and that he did. A lovely placed penalty nestled into the bottom left corner, making it his 6th of the season.

With a quarter-hour remaining, Pompey were shouting for a penalty as a drilled effort came in from the left side towards Day, who stretched well to palm it back out. It ricochetted off the sliding Alfie Kilgour before rolling into Day's clutches, with Pompey claiming it had struck Kilgour's hand. The ref' held firm though, waving away the shouts.

Continuing to assert pressure in hope of a comeback, John Marquis would glance a header clear of Joe Day's right post with over 10 to play.

In the late stages, Luke McCormick was replaced by Ed Upson, before goalscorer Jonah Ayunga was withdrawn, with James Daly coming on.

George Byers would force a reflex save from Joe Day in the dying stages, smashing one towards the roof of his net, with Day springing up and tipping over the bar instinctually.

The fourth official signalled a huge 7 minutes added on, prompting chatter amongst the press box it has to be said.

Harness looked to start those added minutes on with style as he managed to smash an effort back across goal while off-balance. It was heading towards the bottom left, but for a fingertips save from Joe Day, knocking the effort onto the post before it could be cleared.

Joe Day would be required for one big moment one more time this evening, as Harrison took a tumble under Williams' challenge, with the ref' pointing to the spot. With the chance to narrow the deficit Marquis struck low to the left, only to see Joe Day get down well and take the ball into his clutches, before quickly being congratulated by his teammates. The Gas saw out the game from there, winning 3-1.

The Gas now travel to Gillingham on Saturday.

Rovers: Joe Day, Luke Leahy (C), Cian Harries, Alfie Kilgour, Max Ehmer, George Williams, Josh Grant, Sam Nicholson, Luke McCormick (Ed Upson '80), Brandon Hanlan, Jonah Ayunga.

Subs: Jordi van Stappershoef, Josh Hare, Ed Upson, Zain Westbrooke, Erhun Oztumer, Alex Rodman, James Daly.

Portsmouth: Craig MacGillivray, Callum Johnson. Tom Naylor (c), Ryan Williams (Harvey White '80), John Marquis, Ronan Curtis (Marcus Harness '46), James Bolton (Rasmus Nicolaisen '46) Andy Cannon (Ellis Harrison '65), George Byers, Sean Raggett, Charlie Daniels (Lee Brown '46).

Subs: Lewis Ward, Lee Brown, Ellis Harrison, Rasmus Nicolaisen, Marcus Harness, Harvey White, Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila

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