Tamworth 1-2 Bristol Rovers
Bristol Rovers 2
Richards (79), Hunter (88)
Rovers beat Tamworth 2-1this evening thanks to an improved second half display and goals from Eliot Richards and Shaquille Hunter
Trailing to an 18th minute goal scored by Scott Barrow, they were fortunate not to concede more in a first half that saw Tamworth create a number of opportunities.
David Clarkson's 69th minute penalty was saved by Tony Breeden, but Richards scored an equaliser for Mark McGhee's side with 11 minutes remaining and Mitch Harding squared the ball across goal for Hunter to score the winning goal two minutes from time.
Jim Paterson skippered a Rovers side facing Tamworth who included former Rovers loanee Sam Oji in their starting lineup.
Manager Mark McGhee opted to start with a 3-5-2 formation, his three central defenders being Mitch Harding, Tom Lockyer and Paterson.
Only a fine save, by Conor Gough from Tommy Wright, in the first minute prevented Tamworth taking the lead.
The shot stopper touched the striker's effort over the bar and from the resulting corner Wright was denied again as David Clarkson headed off the line.
Adam Cunnington headed wide before Rovers fashioned a half chance that saw goalkeeper Tony Breeden block an effort from Richards.
With the home side making all the running, Gough got down low to touch away a low drive from Cunnington.The loose ball reached Lloyd Kerry who blazed his shot high over the bar.
Cunnington again went close with 15 minutes on the clock but hit his effort just over.
The home side took the lead after 18 minutes when Scott Barrow cut in from the left and fired in a right foot shot that took a wicked deflection off Wayne Brown on its way past Gough.
Jean-Paul Marna was next to try his luck and saw his twenty yard free kick touched over the bar by Gough, while at the other end Brown hit a hopeful long range effort over the Tamworth bar.
After Kerry had fired wide of the upright Rovers began to find their rhythm and were unlucky not to draw level when Ross Staley saw his well struck effort, from Jordan Goddard's cross, come back into play off the upright.
Brown saw a shot from the edge of the box, following a short free kick routine, blocked by the home side's defensive wall, and the same player saw another effort blocked by a packed home defence.
Gough was called into action again two minutes from the end of the half when he comfortably dealt with a shot from Marna.
Although there was a marked improvement in their approach play in the last twenty minutes of the first half, the only time they had threatened the home goal was Staley's effort that hit the post.
Rovers made a change at the start of the second half, replacing Goddard with Shaquille Hunter, and played four at the back with Staley slotting in at left back.
Rovers made another change eight minutes in when Seanan Clucas replaced Joe Anyinsah.
Shortly afterwards Gough did well to smother the ball at the feet of Cunnington as he raced through on goal.
Rovers were awarded a penalty on 69 minutes when Hunter was brought down by Scott Barrow, However Clarkson hit his spot kick straight at Breeden who pushed his effort over the bar.
Clucas went close with a long range effort that was only just wide of the mark as Rovers, who were enjoying a great deal of possession, went in search of an equaliser.
However it was the home side who next went close to scoring when Lloyd Kerry directed a shot straight at Breeden.
Rovers were rewarded for a battling second half performance when, on 79 minutes, Harding cut the Ball back to Richards who swept the ball past Breeden.
Tom Marshall squandered a late opportunity for the home side, heading wide when well placed. However the winning goal came from Rovers when Hunter calmly beat Breeden from ten yards after Harding had crossed into the box.
Rovers: Conor Gough, Mitch Harding, Tom Lockyer, Jim Paterson, Ross Staley, Wayne Brown, Oliver Norburn, Jordan Goddard (Shaquille Hunter, 46), Eliot Richards, David Clarkson (Sam Kamara, 70), Joe Anyinsah (Seanan Clucas, 53)
Substitute: Matt Macey
Tamworth: Tony Breeden, Richard Tait, Sam Oji (Jordan Ivey-Ward, 60), Tom Marshall, Scott Barrow, Connor Gudger (Callum Flanagan, 80), Marcus Kelly, Lloyd Kerry, Adam Cunnington, Jean-Paul Marna (Peter Till, 67), Tommy Wright (Charlie Collins, 67)
Substitutes: James Wren, Jamie Smith, Kyle Patterson