Rovers 3-2 Chesterfield
Bristol Rovers showed great fighting spirit to take all three points against Chesterfield at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
Rovers twice took the lead, only to be pegged back by the visitors, before Tom Eaves slotted home the winning goal to cap off his man of the match performance.
The opening goal for Rovers came courtesy of an own goal from Sam Togwell, before Neil Etheridge gifted the visitors their first goal of the afternoon by carrying Mark Randall’s free kick into the back of his own net.
Etheridge then recovered to make a string of fantastic saves, that saw Rovers go in 1-1 at half time.
Rovers restored the lead through Joe Anyinsah, before substitute Brennan Dickenson again levelled the scores. But Eaves, who was responsible for setting up both of Rovers’ previous goals then got his own name on the score sheet to top off a great performance.
Mark McGhee made two changes to the side that lost to Southend in midweek. Wayne Brown and Joe Anyinsah came into the side to replace Lee Brown and Seanan Clucas, both of whom dropped to the bench.
Keen to put Tuesday night’s performance behind them, Rovers took the lead within five minutes.
Tom Eaves put in a cross from the left, which narrowly avoided the advancing Clarkson, only for Togwell to turn the ball into the back of his own net from close range.
Chesterfield’s first effort of the game came from Nathan Smith whose 25 yard shot was deflected wide of the post. While at the other end Clarkson had a wild shot that went high and wide.
Etheridge then made a very rare error to allow Chesterfield to get back on level terms. Mark Randall floated in a seemingly harmless free kick, and the Rovers keeper stumbled back across the goal line with the ball in his hands, despite there being no pressure applied to him.
However, Neil did well to regain his composure, and went on to make a string of important saves to keep Rovers in the first half.
The first of those was a block to deny Scott Boden, which was quickly followed by a cross from Randall which Etheridge claimed.
Wayne Brown has a shot for Rovers, before again Etheridge rescued Rovers, leaping to tip a shot from Tendayi Darikwa over the bar.
The keeper then made arguably his best save of the game; saving first from Drew Talbot, before getting back up to block the rebound from Boden.
At the other end Broghammer floated a good ball into the box, which Derek Riordan couldn’t quite get on the end of, before Riordan had a free kick from 30 yards out, which went straight into the wall.
Early in the second half a deflected shot from Togwell hit the bar, while at the other end Anyinsah hit a weak shot wide of the post.
Eaves had a chance to put Rovers back in front with a long range effort, but the ball fizzed across the face of goal.
Gary Kenneth then tried an overhead kick from inside the box, but the ball went harmlessly wide.
Just before the hour mark Rovers’ two strikers combined to put the home side back in front.
Eaves again provided the vital cross into the box from the left, and Joe Anyinsah was on hand to slide in from close range and score his first goal of the season.
Minutes later Eaves put in another cross, but it was easily picked up by O’Donnell in the Chesterfield goal.
Mark McGhee then made his first change of the game, bringing on Eliot Richrds to replace Fabian Broghammer.
But Rovers lead lasted a little over five minutes, before substitute Brennan Dickenson put the visitors back level.
He picked up the ball on the left, was given too much space and smashed a curling left foot shot into the back of the net.
With ten minutes on the clock Rovers found themselves in front for the third time – this time provider Eaves got the goal he deserved after setting up the first two.
His shot through the crowded penalty area took a slight deflection and the ball flew into the back of the net.
Rovers then made a second substitution bringing on Michael Smith to replace Derek Riordan as the home side looked to hold on to their lead.
Garry Kenneth pulled off a goal line clearance to keep Rovers ahead as the clock ticked down for the final minutes.
Etheridge pulled off one last save from Danny Whitaker, as Rovers dug deep to record their first win in five games.
Team: Neil Etheridge, Matt Lund, Garry Kenneth, Tom Parkes, Jim Paterson, Wayne Brown, David Clarkson, Fabian Broghammer (Eliot Richards), Derek Riordan (Michael Smith), Joe Anyinsah, Tom Eaves
Substitutes: Sam Walker, Lee Brown, Seanan Clucas, Ollie Clarke, Danny Woodards
Chesterfield: Richard O'Donnell, Drew Talbot, Nathan Smith, Sam Hird, Terrell Forbes, Danny Whitaker, Mark Randall (Brennan Dickenson), Craig Clay (Chris Atkinson), Sam Togwell, Scott Boden (Jack Lester), Tendayi Darikwa
Substitutes: Cameron Mason, Liam Ridehalgh, Craig Westcarr, Micah Evans
Referee: Richard Clark