Vale 4-0 Rovers
Pope (21, 22, 68), Williamson (36)
Bristol Rovers 0
Rovers returned home empty handed from Burslem tonight, having suffered a 0-4 defeat at the hands of Port Vale.
Defender Tom Parkes was stretchered off before the end of the game and taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg.
Alefe Santos made a very promising debut and if you are looking for positives then his performance is one, along with the performances of Jim Paterson and Matt Lund.
Manager Mark McGhee was without a number of players including the suspended Garry Kenneth, Eliot Richards and Ollie Norburn and the injured David Clarkson and Joe Anyisah.
The side showed four changes from Saturday’s starting lineup as Derek Riordan was been relegated to the role of substitute, where he was joined by returning skipper Matt Gill.
The manager has also revealed that Neil Etheridge will miss at least the next two games as he travels out to join up with the Philippine squad tomorrow.
Rovers actually started the game brightly and Tom eaves headed over the bar early on while an ambitious long range effort from Matt Lund met the same fate.
At the other end Ashley Vincent’s angled drive was wide of the target.
Neil Etheridge made a save low down at his near post, from Ben Williamson, but Rovers continued to enjoy a great deal of possession and Seanan Clucas tried his luck from distance after picking up on a loose Vale clearance. However his shot was well wide of the mark.]
The home side took a 21st minute lead when Tom Pope found himself in space just outside the area and he easily beat Etheridge.
The striker added a second just a minute later, heading in Vincent’s cross from the left.
Williamson then forced Etheridge into a fine save with a rasping drive as Vale upped the tempo.
Lund fired a free kick over the bar and Eaves went close to scoring for Rovers but his shot drifted across the area and passed the far post.
On 36 minutes, though, it became an almost impossible task for Rovers as Williamson added a third goal when he headed in from close range after a cross from the left had hit the post and rebounded to him.
Lund fired another free kick over the bar and saw a left foot shot saved by Chris Neal before the break.
Etheridge made a superb save to deny Williamson shortly after the break, Pope headed over the bar and Vincent hit a shot straight at Etheridge as the home side threatened to over run their visitors.
Eaves did pose a threat on a couple of occasions, hitting one shot straight at Chris Neal and then seeing the keeper spill another effort.
Santos then played in Wayne Brown who shot well wide, but the game was over on 68 minutes when Vale scored their fourth and Pope completed his hat trick.
When the ball was floated in from a free kick, the striker rose to head over Etheridge and into the net.
To their credit Rovers kept going and Lund went close with two headers which both sailed wide of the target.
Parkes was injured in the final minute of the game when he made a superb tackle on Jennison Myrie-Williams and he was taken straight to hospital.
Rovers: Neil Etheridge, Michael Smith, Danny Woodards (Matt Gill, 46), Jim Paterson, Tom Parkes, Lee Brown, Wayne Brown, Seanan Clucas (Derek Riordan, 56), Matt Lund, Tom Eaves, Fabian Broghammer (Alefe Santos, 61)
Substitutes: Adam Virgo, Sam Walker,Tom Lockyer, Elis Harrison
Port Vale: Chris Neal, Richard Duffy, Clayton McDonald (Joe Davis, 79), John McCombe, Adam Yates, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Kingsley James, Ryan Burge (Sean McAllister, 74), Ben Williamson, Tom Pope (Ryan Lloyd, 69)
Substitutes: Robert Taylor, Louis Dodds, Sam Johnson, Chris Shuker