Reeves (18), McChrystal (og, 65)
Bristol Rovers 1
Referee: Ross Joyce
Away fans: 376
Manager Darrell Clarke made six changes to his squad for this afternoon’s game.
Dave Martin, signed on loan from Luton yesterday, made his debut and there was a first start of the season for Ollie Clarke.
Steve Mildenhall started after missing the midweek game at Barnet, as did Daniel Leadbitter, Tom Parkes and Ryan Brunt.
The home side went close in the opening stages and after Parkes had been booked for a second minute foul former Rovers loanee Steven Gillespie rifled the resulting free kick straight at Mildenhall.
At the other end Brunt’s long range effort didn’t really trouble home keeper Stuart Coburn, who was making his 600th appearance for the Robins.
Matty Taylor went close to an eighth minute goal for Rovers but saw his volley parried by Coburn diving low to his right.
However the home side, quick on the counter, went close again, through Gillespie.
The striker hit a 30 yard effort straight at Mildenhall and then hit another effort towards goal only to see the keeper dive low to his right to touch the ball away for a corner.
The goal that Altrincham had been threatening arrived on 18 minutes when Damian Reeves pounced on Mark McChrystal’s headed clearance, advanced a couple of yards and drilled a shot into the corner of the
net beyond Mildenhall’s despairing dive.
Mansell’s rising 25 yard effort was comfortably dealt with by Coburn before another opportunity arrived for the hosts.
Parkes was caught in possession by Gillespie, who was again denied a goal against his former club by Mildenhall.
Taylor saw a shot blocked before the half ended as Clarke’s side struggled to create too many chances before the break.
Whatever was said in the dressing room during the half time interval had the desired effect, at least for the opening ten minutes of the second half.
Rovers began with a flurry of activity and Ollie Clarke saw his powerful left foot drive hit a defender and go behind for a corner while Taylor went close on three occasions, hitting one shot over the bar, seeing
another effort blocked and then dragging a shot wide of the upright.
The home side were dangerous on the counter attack, though, and they scored a second goal on 64 minutes.
Rovers failed to clear a ball into the box and after ricocheting around the area for what seemed like an eternity, it hit McChrystal on the shin and crept into the back of the net.
Moments after replacing the injured Ollie Clarke, substitute Jamie White claimed an assist for Rovers’ goal when he crossed for Mansell to head past Coburn.
It didn’t really signal the fightback that was called for, though, and Mildenhall had to be at his best to save from Reeves before the end of another disappointing day on the road.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, Stuart Sinclair picked up a last minute red card for a professional foul.
Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Daniel Leadbitter (Jake Gosling, 59), Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown, Stuart Sinclair, Lee Mansell, Ollie Clarke (Jamie White, 74), Dave Martin, Ryan Brunt (Andy Monkhouse, 66), Matty Taylor.
Substitutes: Neal Trotman, Will Puddy
Yellow Cards: Parkes, Brunt, Taylor
Red Card: Sinclair
Altrincham: Stuart Coburn, Adam Griffin, Gianluca Havern, Tom Marshall, Scott Leather, Simon Richman, Sean Williams (James Lawrie, 64), Peter Cavanagh, Nicky Clee (Ryan Crowther, 81), Steven Gillespie (Kyle Perry, 76), Damian Reeves
Substitutes: Jake Moult, Mike Williams