Rovers 1-1 Oxford
Bristol Rovers shared the points with Oxford United in a 1-1 draw at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
The visitors opened the scoring early on through James Constable, before a late John-Joe O’Toole goal gave Rovers a share of the spoils.
John Ward made one change to the side that lost to Chesterfield last weekend.
Loan signing Alan Gow, who joined the club from Exeter yesterday, came into the starting line up in place of an unfit Matt Harrold.
Steven Gillespie, who has signed a short term contract until the end of the season, had to settle for a place on the bench as he is not fully match fit.
Seanan Clucas got some football under his belt in a reserve team in midweek, and was also handed a spot on the bench.
It was a cold a blustery day at the Memorial Stadium, and Rovers, with the wind behind them, found themselves a goal down within 10 minutes.
Former transfer target James Constable opened the scoring for the visitors with an excellent strike.
The ball was crossed in from the left from Dave Kitson, chested down by Deane Smalley, and Constable got hold of it well and fired home.
At the other end a Lee Brown low free kick from 30 yards took a deflection and went narrowly wide.
It was a fiesty first half, with tackles flying in all over the place, and Chris Beardsley found himself the first man in the book for a foul on Constable.
Rovers fans were on their feet on the half hour mark when the ball flew into the back of the net.
However, the effort was ruled offside after John-Joe O’Toole knocked Kaid Mohamed’s header into the back of the net.
As the half wore on Rovers managed to get more of a foothold in the game, and had a couple of half chances.
A low range left footed effort from Gow was rising all the time and went over the bar, before a first time volley from Smith was easily dealt with by Ryan Clarke.
Before the break a curling free kick from Gow flew straight into the arms of Clarke.
There was a let off for Rovers in the second half after Josh Ruffels shot over the bar from close range after Steve Mildenhall was chasing back to the centre of his goal after a collision with Constable.
A great effort from Tom Lockyer was denied by a low save from Ryan Clarke. Beardsley played the ball to Lockyer, who he made a good overlapping run and shot for the bottom corner but Clarke got a hand to it.
Rovers introduced Steven Gillespie for his debut on 65 minutes, with Kaid Mohamed making way.
With less than 10 minutes to go John-Joe O’Toole popped up with his 12th goal of the season to put Rovers on level terms.
An excellent ball into the box from Brown was met by O’Toole, whose header flew into the bottom corner.
Brown then had a wonderful chance to put Rovers ahead after some good work from Gow.
Ryan Clarke was wrong footed and Brown’s composed shot rolled across the face of goal and was inches wide of the upright.
The momentum was with Rovers following the late goal, but they could not quite find that extra goal.
Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown, Tom Lockyer, Ollie Clarke, John-Joe O’Toole, Alan Gow, Chris Beardsley, Kaid Mohamed (Steven Gillespie).
Substitutes: Conor Gough, Pat Keary, David Clarkson, Ollie Norburn, Ellis Harrison, Seanan Clucas
Oxford United: Ryan Clarke, Matt Bevans, David Hunt, Johnny Mullins, Tom Newey, Nicky Wroe, Danny Rose, Josh Ruffels, Deane Smalley, Dave Kitson, James Constable (David Connolly).
Substitutes: Jon Henly, Alfie Potter, Scott Davies, Tyrone March, Sam Long, Callum O'Dowda.