Rovers 3-2 York
Bristol Rovers recorded their first win of the season beating York City 3-2 at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
David Clarkson scored twice to give Rovers a two goal lead, before York pulled it back to two a piece with goals either side of the break.
John-Joe O’Toole then scored the winning goal to give Rovers their first three point haul of the season.
York were also reduced to ten men during the first half, after substitute Ryan Bowman was given a straight red for lashing out at captain Tom Parkes.
Both teams had only scored one league goal before today, but the two sides put in an entertaining performance for the crowd at the Memorial Stadium.
John Ward made two changes to the side with Ryan Brunt returning from injury to replace Eliot Richards, and Alefe Santos making his first Rovers start in place of Ellis Harrison.
Rovers lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, with Brunt and David Clarkson up front. Tom Lockyer started the game on the right, with John-Joe O’Toole back in his favoured midfield position.
It was the perfect start for Rovers, who found themselves 1-0 up within two minutes, thanks to a fantastic volley from Clarkson.
The ball in from the right from Michael Smith dropped perfectly and Clarkson volleyed home into the bottom corner with his first touch of the game.
It was a great attacking start from Rovers, and minutes later Ryan Brunt had a shot from just outside the box which was straight at the keeper.
There was then a half chance for York on the counter-attack, but Craig Clay at the back post couldn’t quite get on to the ball,
York looked shaky in the opening five minutes after Rovers’ bright start, but they finally settled and forced a few corners, penning Rovers into their own half.
A shot from Clay was deflected out for a corner by Michael Smith, before a long distance shot from Tom Allan took a deflection and flew narrowly wide of the right hand post.
Mildenhall then saved a free kick in a dangerous area, while at the other end Lockyer’s cross into the box, forced the keeper to tip the ball out for a corner to Rovers, which came to nothing.
Clarkson made it 2-0 just after the half hour mark following a great move down the right.
Michael Smith crossed the ball in, and confusion in the York box allowed Clarkson time to control the ball and shoot into the roof of the net past two defenders.
Wes Fletcher had a shot straight at Mildenhall from the edge of the area, before York got themselves back in the game with a scrappy goal.
The ball was crossed into the penalty area where it hit a Rovers defender and Ryan Jarvis was able to tap home from close range.
York were then reduced to ten men after substitute Ryan Bowan was sent off after just five minutes for lashing out at Tom Parkes during an off the ball incident in the penalty area.
Rovers played some good football in the opening stages of the second half, passing the ball around well and keeping possession.
A cross into the box from Smith found Clarkson, but the striker’s first touch was deflected out for a corner, which was headed wide by Parkes.
Norburn had a half chance on the break, but his shot lacked power and rolled straight into the arms of the keeper.
York drew level from the penalty spot on 64 minutes. The visiting captain was judged to have been pushed inside the box, and Ryan Jarvis stepped up and sent Mildenhall the wrong way.
But just two minutes later John-Joe O’Toole scored his first goal of the season to put Rovers back in front.
A header back across goal from Santos was fired into the back of the net by O’Toole at the far post.
With ten minutes to go Matt Gill made his first appearance this season, replacing Oliver Norburn.
There was pressure from York within the final ten minutes. Jarvis had a shot which was parried by Mildenhall and eventually cleared by Rovers.
David Clarkson was named man of the match as the striker not only chipped in with two goals, but also contributed some crucial defending for the Pirates.
York were awarded a free kick in stoppage time, which Ben Davies took, and Mildenhall punched clear.
Next up for Rovers is another home game, with Northampton Town visiting the Memorial Stadium next Saturday, and Rovers will be looking to build on today’s result.
Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown, Alefe Santos, Tom Lockyer, Ollie Norburn (Matt Gill), John-Joe O’Toole, David Clarkson (Mitch Harding), Ryan Brunt
Substitutes: Garry Kenneth, Conor Gough, Shaquille Hunter, Josh Southway, Ellis Harrison
York City: Michael Ingham, Lanre Oyebanjo, Ben Davies, Chris Smith, Tom Allan, Daniel Parslow (David McGurk), Craig Clay, Ashley Chambers (Michael Coulson), Tom Platt, Ryan Jarvis, Wes Fletcher (Ryan Bowman).
Substitutes: Chris Kettings, Lewis Montrose, Jamal Fyfield, Richards Creswell.