Poor first half performance proves costly
Kenneth (og) (19), Yussuff (29), Antwi (33)
A poor first half display saw Rovers slip to defeat against AFC Wimbledon tonight.
Three goals conceded in 14 minutes sealed their fate and the night got even worse as they finished the game with ten men after Tom Parkes picked up his second yellow card of the evening on 83 minutes.
Manager Mark McGhee made two changes to his starting lineup, as Adam Virgo and Wayne Brown returned in place of Fabian Broghammer and Joe Anyinsah.
Virgo started up front, alongside Tom Eaves.
However after a scrappy opening the home side gradually took control and Jack Midson set up his strike partner Byron Harrison with a chance, but he headed wide when well placed.
Will Antwi then sent a back header over the bar and a long range effort from Curtis Osano met the same fate.
It was no real surprise when Wimbledon took the lead on 14 minutes. A ball in from the right seemed to catch everyone by surprise and appeared to hit Gary Kenneth on the shin and roll into an unguarded net.
Rovers first opportunity arrived on 23 minutes but a curling shot from Eliot Richards, played in by the hard working David Clarkson, drifted wide of the upright.
The incessant pressure from the home side saw them rewarded with a second goal on the half hour mark. Midson was the provider, slipping the ball out to the right to Rashid Yussuff who comfortably slid the ball past Neil Etheridge from six yards.
Three minutes later goal number three arrived. Tom Parkes was penalised with a yellow card for a poor challenge out on the right, George Francomb floated the free kick into the area and Antwi was credited with the final touch, though from the stand it appeared to go in off of Kenneth.
Eaves headed over the bar and a Wayne Brown shot was blocked before the half ended but Rovers trooped off the pitch knowing they had it all to do after the break.
They certainly started the half with more purpose, but at three goals down had little more than pride to play for.
A half time change saw Joe Anyinsah replace Virgo and with Rovers on the offensive, they went close when Richards hit a speculative half volley over the bar.
However the home side hit back and George Francomb fired over the bar before there was a let off when a shot from Yussuff hit the post and Francomb headed wide of the target.
Etheridge saved at his near post from Jim Fenlon and then made a superb stop from Byron Harrison. He somehow managed to palm the effort away as far as Midson, who blazed a shot high and wide of the target with the goal at his mercy.
Clarkson volleyed over the bar before he set up Eaves for the fourth goal of his brief Rovers career.
Winning possession some 25 yards from goal, he squared the ball to his strike partner who fired a superb shot into the top corner of the net.
Any hopes of a dramatic fight back were dashed seven minutes from time when Parkes made a rash challenge on Luke Moore and was booked for his efforts. It was his second booking of the evening, and he headed for the dressing room knowing he faced another suspension.
Matt Lund did volley over the bar with three minutes remaining, but there was still time for the home side to test Etheridge again but the keeper once more came out on top, saving from Midson and Moore.
Team: Neil Etheridge, Matt Lund, Garry Kenneth, Tom Parkes, Jim Paterson, Wayne Brown, Ollie Norburn, Dave Clarkson, Eliot Richards (Ollie Clarke, 70), Adam Virgo (Joe Anyinsah, 46), Tom Eaves
Substitutes: Lee Brown, Ellis Harrison, Seanan Clucas, Sam Walker, Tom Lockyer
Yellow Cards: Parkes (2), Kenneth
Red Card: Parkes
AFC Wimbledon: Seb Brown, Curtis Osano, Will Antwi, Yado Mambo, Jim Fenlon (Curtis Hayes-Brown, 69), George Francomb (Christian Jolley, 81), Stacy Long, Steven Gregory, Rashid Yussuff, Byron Harrison (Luke Moore, 69), Jack Midson
Substitutes: Warren Cummings, Louis Harris, Frankie Merrifield, Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz
Yellow Card: Jolley
Referee: Mr P Miller
Rovers supporters: 414