Rovers forced to settle for a draw
Bristol Rovers had to settle for a 0-0 draw against Fleetwood Town at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
Rovers were unlucky not to take all three points after dominating for much of the game, but they lacked that final ball in front of goal.
It was a solid performance from the home side, full of effort and commitment, with Garry Kenneth helping the side to look much more solid at the back.
Debutant goalkeeper Neil Etheridge did not have a great deal to do, but he did what was asked of him with confidence.
Following on from the game the manager admitted that his team were lacking up front, and that he will be looking to bring in at least one new striker as soon as possible.
McGhee made three changes to the side that drew with Plymouth in midweek.
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge made his debut for Rovers after joining on loan from Fulham in midweek.
Michael Smith replaced Adam Virgo in defence, while Joe Anyinsah came in to partner David Clarkson up front, with Matt Lund making way.
Both Virgo and Lund took up places on the bench.
It was a pretty quiet first half, with neither keeper given much to do.
Fleetwood had the first half chance when Andrew Mangan shot from distance, before David Clarkson had a couple of chances to put Rovers in the lead at the other end.
Fabian Broghammer also had a couple of half chances for Rovers, but his header went wide, before his volley flew just over the bar.
Joe Anynisah, keen to prove himself after regaining his place in the side, had a curling shot that went over the bar.
Just before half time there was a goalmouth scramble in front of Etheridge’s goal, but Fleetwood could not make anything of it.
It was a solid performance from Rovers in the opening half, and there was a feeling that a goal would come in the second period.
Fleetwood made two changes at half time, but it was Rovers who came close to taking the lead just minutes after the restart.
Anyinsah, with his back to goal, played the ball to Clarkson, whose powerful shot fizzed just wide of the upright.
Then Oli Norburn forced a good save from Scott Davies in the Fleetwood goal from close range.
Etheridge was then called on to make his first proper save of the match, to collect a header from Youl Mawene.
Mark McGhee made his first change, bringing Eliot Richards on for Wayne Brown.
Lee Brown then tested the Fleetwood keeper with a cross, but Davies took it comfortably.
There followed a great move from Rovers, starting at the back with a throw out from Etheridge. He fed the ball to Broghammer who ran the length of the pitch to play the ball into Clarkson, but the away keeper was able to block his shot.
Fleetwood were denied a penalty shout in the second half, after the assistant referee signalled for an apparent hand ball, but the referee did not give it.
Etheridge was then called on to make a save from a long distance effort from the visitors.
Rovers continued to push for the winner, but it did not fall for them.
It was a solid platform for the team to build on, and if the manager can bring in a goalscorer then Rovers should go into Saturday’s game against Exeter with a renewed confidence.
Bristol Rovers: Neil Etheridge, Michael Smith, Garry Kenneth, Tom Parkes, Lee Brown, Wayne Brown (Eliot Richards), Matt Gill, Fabian Broghammer, Oliver Norburn, Joe Anyinsah (Eliot Richards), David Clarkson.
Subs: Sam Walker, Jim Paterson, Adam Virgo, Ollie Clarke, Seanan Clucas
Fleetwood Town: Scott Davies, Shaun Beeley, Dean Howell, Steve McNulty, Junior Brown (Tom Barkhuizen), Youl Mawene, Lee Fowler (Barry Nicholson), Jamie McGuire, Damien, Johnson (Alex Marrow), Steven Gillespie, Andrew Mangan
Subs: Chris Maxwell, Jon Parkin, David Ball, Ashley Eastman
Referee: Steve Martin