Rovers 1-1 Bury
Rovers were forced to settle for a point against Bury at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon as the two sides drew 1-1.
The Pirates made the dream start, when John-Joe O’Toole scored from the penalty spot after just three minutes.
But Bury equalised before the break, and despite Rovers dominating the second half, they were unable to make their pressure count and score the winner.
John Ward made three changes to the side that drew with York in the FA Cup last weekend.
John-Joe O’Toole and Will Packwood returned to the side after missing the cup game through suspension and being cup tied, and Matt Harrold was given the nod to partner Chris Beardsley up front.
Tom Lockyer and Oliver Norburn dropped to the bench, while Seanan Clucas missed out as he is on international duty with Northern Ireland U21s.
It was an explosive start for Rovers who took the lead on just three minutes.
Eliot Richards made a great run down the left, and was brought down by Shaun Beeley to win a penalty.
John-Joe O’Toole then stepped up and coolly slotted the ball into the top left hand corner.
Unfortunately the rest of the half did not live up to that bright start.
A free header for Danny Hylton was blasted across the face of goal for the visitors, before a deflected shot from Chris Sedgwick was fired into the side netting.
Hylton had another headed chance, before Bury wasted a fantastic opportunity to pull level.
A ball in from Tom Soares was squared to Shaun Harrad who was unmarked in front of an empty net, but managed to shoot over the bar.
Richards then had a long range left footed shot that went wide of the post, before Bury continued to pile on the pressure.
Bury equalised with less than 10 minutes left of the half. The ball in from Shaun Beeley, was headed across goal; Rovers fail to clear and Hylton bundled the ball in from close range.
Then a free kick from Sedgwick just outside the area was tipped round the post by Mildenhall.
Rovers had the first chance of the second half, a good move down the left led to the ball being crossed into the box, and the bullet header from Beardsley went wide of the left hand post.
There was some good second half pressure from Rovers, who came out with a lot more attacking intent.
Rovers kept pressing and Smith fed the ball through on Beardsley, who was through on goal, he hit the shot well, but the keeper turned it round the post.
At the other end, substitute Craig Jones charged down the wing and crossed in to Harrad who headed against the bar from close range.
Rovers made their first substitution on the hour mark, with Tom Lockyer coming on to replace Ollie Clarke.
Santos got into a good position to pick up the ball on the left, but his ambitious shot flew high and wide.
Harrold then volleyed over the bar under pressure from the Bury defence.
Smith and Santos were combining well down the right hand side as Rovers pushed for the winner.
Richards got on the loose ball, but his shot was blocked well by Beeley, Parkes then shot in to the arms of the keeper.
Rovers forced a string of set pieces, and on the ninth corner of the game the ball made it into the back of the net, but the whistle had already blown for a foul.
Bury had a good effort from a dangerous free kick from Soares, but Mildenhall rose well to push the ball away for a corner.
There was a break in play when Matt Harrold and William Edjenguele clashed heads just outside the Rovers area.
Rovers then won another corner, which Lee Brown sent into the box. Harrold rose higher than everyone else, but his powerful header flew just over the bar.
Rovers appealed for a penalty when Beardsley was brought down in the box, the striker then had a shot from close range.
The Bury keeper pulled off a fantastic save, but it didn’t matter as it had already been ruled offside.
Substitute Daniel Nardiello had his first shot of the game from a tight angle, but Mildenhall was able to deal with it.
Despite five minutes of added time, Rovers were not able to find the winner, and had a to settle for a draw at a chilly Memorial Stadium.
Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Will Packwood, Tom Parkes, Lee Brown, Eliot Richards, John-Joe O'Toole, Ollie Clarke (Tom Lockyer), Alefe Santos (Ellis Harrison), Chris Beardsley, Matt Harrold.
Substitutes: Conor Gough, Ryan Brunt, Oliver Norburn, David Clarkson, Mitch Harding.
Bury: Brian Jensen, Shaun Beeley, Richard Hinds (William Edjenguele), Tom Soares, Nathan Cameron, Dean Howell, Chris Sedgwick (Craig Jones), Andy Procter, Danny Hylton, Shaun Harrad (Daniel Nardiello), Danny Mayor
Substitutes: Reice Charles-Cook, Tommy Miller, Euan Holden, Regan Walker.