Rovers 1-0 Cheltenham
By Steven Hood
Attendance: 5808 (345)
Bristol Rovers came out on top against West Country rivals Cheltenham Town to move up to 18th in the table.
John-Joe O'Toole's 13th goal of the season secured Rovers all three points in a close encounter on a muddy Memorial Stadium pitch.
Rovers manager John Ward made two changes to the side that snatched a draw against Oxford United bringing in Seanan Clucas and David Clarkson.
Youngster Tom Lockyer dropped back into the back four to replace the injured Mark McChrystal and Seanan Clucas came into the midfield, replacing Ollie Clarke who has a knock to his ankle.
Former Gas fans favourite Jamie Cureton was lively throughout the opening exchanges and managed the square the ball across the Rovers six-yard area however, no-one was there to apply the finish.
Moments later, Sam Deering played Cureton through on goal and the Cheltenham front man found himself one on one with Steve Mildenhall but the Pirates keeper was more than equal to it.
The home side's first opportunity came through a goal-mouth scramble where Rovers saw shots from Kaid Mohamed, Chris Beardsley and David Clarkson blocked as the Cheltenham defence stood firm.
Rovers sent out a warning shot on the 27th minute as the club's top goal scorer John-Joe O'Toole fired over from the edge of the area. The ball was crossed in from the left hand side and Chris Beardsley provided the knock down but O'Toole hit his shot high and wide of the Cheltenham goal.
O'Toole did find the back of the net just after the half hour mark as the Robins were unable to deal with a David Clarkson cross. The Scotsman whipped the ball in but Troy Brown couldn't clear effectively and O'Toole made no mistake, volleying in with his left foot for his 13th goal of the season.
Chances were at a premium in the second half but the best fell to Cheltenham substitute Sido Jombarti. Matt Richards had a pop shot from 30 yards which Mildenhall was unable to hold on to but luckily for the keeper the ball got stuck in the mud and Jombarti lost his balance so couldn't apply the crucial finish.
Rovers were limited to long range efforts in the second half as Kaid Mohamed, Lee Brown and Chris Beardsley all saw shots end up behind the goal as the home side pushed for that all important second goal.
Cheltenham's best effort came through midfielder Sam Deering. The Robins man managed to wriggle free of his defender and curl a right footed shot inches past Mildenhall's left hand post.
The visitors piled on the pressure in added time with a series of corners, but the Rovers defence stood firm for their first clean sheet in five games.
Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Tom Lockyer, Lee Brown, John-Joe O’Toole, Seanan Clucas, David Clarkson (Steven Gillespie), Alan Gow (Mitch Harding), Chris Beardsley, Kaid Mohamed.
Substitutes: Conor Gough, Pat Keary, Ollie Norburn, Ellis Harrison, Alefe Santos
Cheltenham: Scott Brown, Michael Ihiekwe, Troy Brown (sido Jombarti), Steve Elliott, Craig Braham-Barrett, Jason Taylor (Zack Kotwica), Sam Deering, Matt Richards, Jermaine McGlashan, Terry Gornell, Jamie Cureton (Byron Harrison).
Substitutes: Connor Roberts, Joe Hanks, Lee Lucas, Mitch Brundle.