Bristol Rovers claimed a point late on at home against promotion hopefuls Derby County as Antony Evans smashed home an injury-time penalty to give them a deserved share of the spoils.
The Rams had taken a first-half lead through David McGoldrick but Rovers kept pushing and were eventually rewarded when Evans was pulled down in the box late on and then showed nerves of steel to convert the penalty in front of the Thatchers End deep into stoppage time.
The first chance of the game had fallen to the away side as McGoldrick got in down the left wing and flashed a dangerous-looking cross with the outside of his boot towards the near post that Belshaw was alert to gather.
The Rams scored soon after when McGoldrick found himself with time and space in the Rovers box and he picked his spot to fire low past Belshaw to give them the early lead on four minutes.
The first chance for the Gas came with fifteen minutes played when Collins won a free kick off Jason Rooney 30 yards from goal. Captain Sam Finley floated the ball in but, in the end, it came to nothing.
The best chance then came a minute later when Bogarde lifted a through ball over the Derby backline that Scott Sinclair managed to get on the end of but he couldn’t pick out a shot from the edge of the six-yard box. Finley followed up and saw his shot blocked.
Rovers should have equalised when Sinclair intercepted a back pass and rounded Joe Wildsmith and his cross-cum-shot towards the back post landed at the feet of Harry Anderson with time and space, but he could only smash the ball against the post.
The Gas were certainly growing into the game and just before the half-hour mark had another good chance to level the scores. Bogarde, who was controlling play in midfield, switched the ball across to Lewis Gordon who then broke forward with pace. He made it inside the box and then faked an initial shot and slipped past the first challenge, before being dispossessed at the last minute, with him lining up a shot.
The Gas continued pushing for the equaliser before the half-time interval. Bogarde dribbled past a number of challenges and then played the ball out wide where Collins was waiting. The Welshman cut inside and curled a shot that was deflected wide from a corner but Rovers couldn’t force a chance from the resulting set play.
A late free kick in added time at the end of the first half was floated in by Sinclair which Lewis Gibson headed on but Wildsmith gathered easily as Rovers trailed by a single goal heading into the break.
Rovers started the second half on the front foot and Grant Ward had an early shot that cleared the crossbar two minutes in.
Minutes later, Sinclair whipped in a dangerous cross that Collins was inches away from getting a head to. From the loose ball, Bogarde drew a free kick as Eiran Cashin was booked for a late tackle. Sinclair curled over from the resulting free kick.
The Gas came once more, this time it was Gordon who picked up the ball out wide on the left flank and chipped in a dangerous cross. Luca Hoole fired a shot that deflected out on the box to Ward, although his quick-thinking attempt with the outside of his boot from the edge of the area went narrowly over.
There was a moment of panic at the back for the Gas as James Collins appeared to get goal side of Gibson but the Rovers’ defender managed to get back and clear his lines.
Straight up the other end, there was yet another good chance for the Gas as some intricate play in the final third once again saw them break the Derby defensive lines as Gordon chipped in a cross towards the back post that Sinclair headed just over from close range.
Collins then dribbled half the length of the pitch after an attacking corner had been cleared upfield, only for substitute Craig Forsyth to cynically pull him back after having been nutmegged.
Rovers were the most dominant team in the second half and seemed to be producing good chances every couple of minutes. A searching ball from Connolly was magnificently controlled in the box by Ryan Loft and the substitute then spun in behind but fired over with Wildsmith well beaten.
Harvey White then tried to catch out Belshaw from a free-kick at the near post but the Rovers’ keeper parried the ball away.
With just over ten minutes to play, Loft dribbled past Haydon Roberts and found himself in the box but couldn’t get a shot away.
With Rovers pushing forward, there were always going to be spaces at the back and Belshaw had to be alert to push away a powerful shot from McGoldrick on the counter-attack.
Rovers were given a late opportunity to equalise when Evans was hauled down in the box. He dusted himself off to smash the ball home and, at last, the Gas had what they deserved from their afternoon’s work.
In the final seconds of the game, McGoldrick found himself one-on-one with Belshaw but the Rovers goalkeeper came up with a big save to deny the Rams’ forward and give Rovers a share of the points.
Next up for the Gas is Sheffield Wednesday at The Mem on Tuesday, 18th April with a 19:45 kick-off time.
Rovers: James Belshaw, James Connolly, Lewis Gordon (Evans 72), Sam Finley (c) (Coburn 72), Scott Sinclair (McCormick 83), Grant Ward (Marquis 83), Aaron Collins, Lewis Gibson, Harry Anderson (Loft 46), Lamare Bogarde, Luca Hoole.
Subs: Jed Ward, John Marquis, Ryan Loft, Antony Evans, Luke McCormick, James Gibbons, Josh Coburn.
Derby County: Joe Wildsmith, Conor Hourihane, Eiran Cashin, Tom Barkhuizen, James Collins, David McGoldrick (c), Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Korey Smith, Haydon Roberts, Jake Rooney, Jason Knight.
Subs: Luke McGee, Craig Forsyth, Max Bird, Louie Sibley, Lewis Dobbin, Harvey White, Curtis Davies.
Referee: Ollie Yates
Attendance: 9,388 (1,293 away fans)