Rovers 1-3 Fleetwood
Rovers lost their unbeaten home league run going down 3-1 to Fleetwood Town at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
All three goals were scored in the second half, with John-Joe O’Toole equalising for Rovers before the Cod Army netted twice more to achieve a score line that flattered them in what was a close game.
It was a first half that will not live long in the memory, with very little activity from either side, but the second half was a different story with both teams starting to play football.
Manager John Ward made just one change to the side that drew with Southend last weekend.
Seanan Clucas came in to make his first senior start for Rovers since his ACL injury back in February.
He replaced Matt Harrold, who passed a late fitness test to take a place on the bench. This resulted in a change in formation that saw John-Joe O’Toole sitting in behind Ryan Brunt up front.
Ryan Brunt had the only chance of the opening exchanges, but his header from a Lee Brown cross was turned round the post by the Fleetwood keeper.
A free kick to Rovers just outside the box was sent out for a corner which came to nothing, while at the other end some good defending from Brunt was able to put pressure on Jamille Matt who headed wide from a Steven Schumacher corner.
Lee Brown's cross was fired in across the face of goal, but Ryan Cresswell was on hand to block his effort.
Then there was a let off for Rovers as Antoni Sarcevic drilled a low cross along the six yard line, but there was no one there to greet it.
Rovers started the second half brightly, and there was a great chance for Andy Bond who was through on goal but blazed over from 12 yards.
It was end to end stuff at this point and Steve Mildenhall pulled off a fantastic save, palming Antoni Sarcevic's long range effort over the bar.
But moments later, Fleetwood took the lead though Jamille Matt. Fleetwood put Rovers under a spell of pressure and Matt netted from close range.
The lead was short lived, as Rovers equalised just two minutes later. John-Joe headed into the top of the net following a good cross whipped in from the left from Bond.
Rovers then had the chance to take the lead following a cross into the box, but Fleetwood were able to clear the ball off the line after a scramble in the penalty area.
Then there was another chance for Rovers to go ahead, but Brunt headed a Brown cross into the post.
As the game wore on Jeff Hughes shot wide of the upright, while at the other end Brunt tried his luck from 35 yards, but the ball flew over the bar.
Although Rovers were pushing hard for the winner, it was Fleetwood who re-took the lead on 87 minutes.
Jamille Matt scored his second of the game from the edge of the box after good interplay with Sarcevic who opened up Rovers defence.
And then in extra time Fleetwood got their third to seal the three points. Substitute Jon Parkin, scored an impressive volley from a tight angle.
Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown, Ollie Norburn (Matt Harrold), Seanan Clucas, Tom Lockyer, Andy Bond, John-Joe O’Toole, Ryan Brunt (Ellis Harrison).
Substitutes: David Clarkson, Ellis Harrison, Conor Gough, Ollie Clarke, Josh Southway, Matt Gill
Fleetwood: Scott Davies, Liam Hogan, Ryan Cresswell, Nathan Pond, Dean Howell, Matty Blair (Junior Brown), Stewart Murdoch, Antoni Sarcevic, Steven Schumacher (Gareth Evans), Jeff Hughes, Jamille Matt (Joh Parkin).
Substitutes: David Lucas, Mark Roberts, Conor McLaughlin, David Ball.