Second half goals from David Clarkson and John-Joe O’Toole gave Rovers all three points at the Memorial Stadium against promotion chasing Burton Albion this evening.
It was a hard working display from Rovers against a well organised Burton side who offered little going forward.
Rovers played very well as a team, and turned in what could possibly be their best performance of the season so far. It was also the third clean sheet in a row for the Pirates.
John Ward made two changes to the side that took all three points against Cheltenham in our last game at the Mem.
Mark McChrystal returned from injury to take his place in defence. This saw Tom Lockyer move to midfield replacing Seanan Clucas, who dropped to the bench.
Rovers took the game to Burton in the first half and had the best of the chances in the opening period.
Rovers had the first half chance of the game when John-Joe O’Toole got a shot away after making a late run, but his effort was blocked by the Burton defence.
The Burton keeper was then called into action to push a curling half volley from Lee Brown around his post.
Rovers then had a great chance to take the lead after Alan Gow made a good run from the middle of the park.
He found Kaid Mohamed, who whipped the ball into the back post to David Clarkson, but his header cannoned off the bar.
Mohamed then headed wide after another good passage of play from Rovers, which saw a Lockyer shot blocked by the Burton defence.
And Mohamed popped up again, but his low drive with his left foot flew narrowly past the post.
An over hit cross from Burton had Steve Mildenhall in a bit of trouble, but Billy Key was squeezed out by the Rovers defence and the striker hit the ball wide.
Right on the stroke of half time Rovers should have taken the lead from a dangerous Brown free kick.
The left back whipped the ball into the box, but it seemed to stick on the goal line, and despite a goal mouth scramble Rovers could not get the ball in the net.
Clarkson had the first half chance for Rovers after the break, when he picked up the ball at the back post, only to see the ball slide off his boot and out for a corner.
Then Clarkson laid the ball off to O’Toole in space; the midfielder shot first time from 30 yards, but his shot went narrowly wide.
Rovers continued to press and took the lead on 70 minutes. Smith raced to the byline and crossed the ball to Clarkson, who was waiting at the far post and nodded home.
Rovers were then awarded a free kick for a foul on Beardsley, Gow stepped up to take and his shot flew round the wall and narrowly over the bar.
At the other end Adam McGurk missed a chance for the visitors, skying his shot well over the bar.
Rovers doubled their lead on 80 minutes thanks to O’Toole. Clarkson had the initial shot, but keeper Robert Lainton could not hold the shot, and O’Toole was on hand to fire home from close range for his 14th goal of the season.
Rovers thought it was three with five minutes to go, after Beardsley headed home for a corner, but the goal was chalked off for offside.
With five minutes to go Steven Gillespie was brought on to replace opening goalscorer Clarkson.
From eight yards out O’Toole had another chance to find the back of the net, but he glanced his header wide.
At the other end Burton saw a header from Phil Edwards go wide.
Rovers now go into Tuesday night’s game against Scunthorpe full on confidence and hoping to improve their away form.
Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Lee Brown, Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal, Michael Smith, Tom Lockyer, John-Joe O'Toole, Kaid Mohamed (Seanan Clucs), Alan Gow, David Clarkson (Steven Gillespie), Chris Beardsley
Substitutes: Conor Gough, Ollie Clarke, Seanan Clucas, Ellis Harrison, Steven Gillespie, Mitch Harding, Danny Woodards
Burton Albion: Robert Lainton, Phil Edwards, Ian Sharps, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, Chris Hussey, Matthew Palmer, Adam McGurk, Zeli Ismail, Robbie Weir (Lee Bell), Jimmy Phillips (Alex McDonald), Billy Kee (Dominic Knowles)
Substitutes: Dean Lyness, Gary Alexander, Marcus Holness, David Gray