By Steve Hood
Bristol Rovers ended FC Halifax Town’s perfect start to the 2014/15 season with victory at the Memorial Stadium.
Substitute Ellis Harrison secured all three points in the closing minutes with Rovers having taken the lead in the first half through Adam Cunnington’s first goal for the club.
Rovers made one change to the team following Monday’s 1-1 draw at Forest Green Rovers. Jamie White came in to replace Matty Taylor, who missed out through illness.
Halifax came into the game having won their first 5 matches scoring 13 goals in the process.
Jamie Jackson and Paul Marshall both had close range efforts but were very easy for Mildenhall to gather. Jackson’s shot was straight at him and Marshall’s free kick was easy for the Rovers shot stopper to claim.
Rovers then had an effort cleared off the line from Neal Trotman. The powerful centre back jumped highest to meet Lee Mansell’s corner but Marc Roberts was on the line to prevent the ball hitting the back of the net before Matt Glennon gathered.
Adam Cunnington scored his first goal for Rovers since arriving on loan from Cambridge just before the half hour mark to break the deadlock.
Jamie White latched onto a loose ball and powered into the Halifax area before floating a ball high towards the penalty spot. Cunnington out jumped Roberts and headed past an outstretched Glennon into the Town goal.
Steve Mildenhall was responsible for keeping Rovers in front at the half way stage making two top class saves, one from Paul Marshall and one from Scott Boden.
Following a foul by Neal Trotman on the edge of the Rovers area, Marshall lashed a free kick goalwards only for Mildenhall to save down low to his right hand side.
Moments later, Boden was free in the penalty area but Mildenhall was equal to it, this time saving with his chest.
Halifax came out with attacking intent in the second half and Paul Marshall forced Mildenhall into another good save. The Halifax man wriggled free in the box and fired a shot towards the top left corner but Mildenhall was able to palm it behind for a corner.
The visitors eventually turned their second half dominance into a goal just past the hour mark as Scott Boden scored his third goal of the season.
Boden wriggled through three Rovers defenders in the penalty area before pushing the ball across the six-yard box and past Mildenhall into the far corner.
With less than 20 minutes remaining both sides were pushing for that decisive goal and it was Adam Cunnington who could have put Rovers ahead for the second time in this game.
Lee Mansell whipped in a floating ball from the right hand side, Cunnington got up to meet the ball but headed wide of the goal under heavy pressure from Steve Williams.
In the final 10 minutes substitute Ellis Harrison fed Ollie Clarke as the midfielder burst through the centre of the pitch but Harrison was unable to latch onto Clarke’s return ball.
Rovers snatched all three points in the final few minutes as Ellis Harrison bundled home from close range ending FC Halifax Town’s unbeaten start to the season.
Harrison headed Sinclair’s ball in from the right but Glennon could only parry it into the six-yard area and Harrison poked the ball over the line.
Up next for Rovers is an away trip to Braintree Town before they entertain Wrexham at the Memorial Stadium on Tuesday 9th September.
Rovers: Mildenhall, Lockyer, Parkes, Trotman, Brown, Monkhouse, Clarke, Mansell (C), Martin (Sinclair – 66), White (Harrison – 60), Cunnington.
Substitutes: Puddy (GK), Leadbitter, Brunt.
Halifax: Glennon, Bolton, McManus, M Roberts, Pearson (Dyer – 69), Marshall, Jackson (K Roberts – 85), Peniket (Schofield – 24), Williams, Boden, Maynard (C).
Substitutes: Senior (GK), Ainge.
Attendance: 5,394 (260)