Point gained from vital game against AFC Wimbledon
AFC Wimbledon 0
Bristol Rovers 0
Rovers gained a point that could yet prove priceless come the end of the season, but this was a dour, tense, and nervous game.
Rovers were poor before the break and while there was an improvement in the second half, they seldom troubled home keeper Ross Worner.
Manager Darrell Clarke was without defender Danny Woodards for this afternoon’s game so Seanan Clucas came into the side.
That was the only change to the side that played so well on Tuesday evening against Bury.
Although Rovers forced a corner in the first minute of the game both sides made a tentative opening and it was 17 minutes before we saw an attempt on goal.
That came from Wimbledon’s George Francomb, whose header from a cross from the left was straight at Steve Mildenhall who gathered comfortably.
Rovers’ first attempt came from John-Joe O’Toole who lashed a shot high over the bar.
On loan Crystal Palace striker Kwesi Appiah outpaced Tom Lockyer before shooting wide before Seanan Clucas tried his luck with a long range effort that didn’t cause home goalkeeper Ross Worner any problems.
Appiah saw another effort blocked by Tom Parkes, but the home side should have taken the lead on 40 minutes.
A long ball out of defence found Jack Midson in space and Mildenhall raced out of his area to challenge the striker who calmly took the ball around the keeper. However instead of shooting first time Midson dithered
and allowed three Rovers defenders and Mildenhall to get back in position before getting his shot away and it was touched over the bar by the shot stopper.
The enthusiastic Appiah headed over and saw a volley land on top of the net before the break and the half ended with Peter Sweeney trying ambitious back heel flick that drifted wide of the upright.
Clarke changed his formation for the start of the second half and reverted to a 4-4-2 formation, a move that saw Alefe Santos replace Tom Lockyer.
The home side almost took the lead seven minutes after the restart, though, when Kaid Mohamed gave away possession and inadvertently set up Midson for a run on goal.
The striker blazed the ball over the bar when well placed and Mohamed breathed a sigh of relief.
Ollie Clarke, who was one of the Rovers players to impress, got forward to fire a shot over the crossbar, while O’Toole’s shot took a deflection on its way through to Worner.
The home side should have edged in front on 70 minutes; that they didn’t was down to Mildenhall.
The keeper dived low to his right to touch away a shot from Midson and when the ball came back into the box Lee Brown managed to block a shot from Francomb.
Harrold was bundled over in the box by Darren Jones, and from the sidelines it looked a clear penalty, but nothing was given.
Tom Parkes volleyed over the bar and Steven Gillespie fired a free kick straight at Worner before the end, but Clarke and his side has to settle for a point and a clean sheet.
Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Tom Parkes (Alefe Santos, 46), Tom Lockyer, Mark McChrystal, Michael Smith, Lee Brown, Ollie Clarke, Seanan Clucas (Steven Gillespie, 56), John-Joe O’Toole, Matt Harrold, Kaid Mohamed
Substitutes: David Clarkson, Ellis Harrison, Chris Beardsley, Conor Gough, Pat Keary
Yellow Card: Mark McChrystal
AFC Wimbledon: Ross Worner, Barry Fuller, Darren Jones, Will Antwi, Tom Richards, George Francomb, Aaron Morris, Harry Pell, Peter Sweeney (Kevin Saint-Luce, 67), Kwesi Appiah (Danny Hylton, 67), Jack Midson (Charlie Wyke, 86)
Substitutes: Luke Moore, Chris Arthur, Seb Brown, Jake Nicholson
Referee: Mr T Robinson
Rovers Supporters: 625