Bristol Rovers 2-1 Exeter City
Rovers came from behind to score a last minute winner for the second time in a week, beating Exeter 2-1 at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
Exeter took the lead in the first half, thanks to an own goal from Lee Brown, but within a minute John-Joe O’Toole put Rovers back on level terms from the penalty spot.
Gasheads then had to wait until added time to see their side take the lead, and it was O’Toole who again found the back of the net, this time from a well struck volley.
It was another demonstration of a never say die attitude, and it allowed Rovers to pick up their first three points of 2014.
John Ward made one change to the side that beat Crawley in the FA Cup in midweek.
Ellis Harrison was called in to replace David Clarkson, who took a place on the bench, as the manager looked for more pace up front.
There was an early let off for Exeter when Eliot Richards missed an open goal from very close range. Ellis Harrison made a run down the right, crossed into the box but Richards could not find the target.
Lee Brown then had a chance after making a break down the left, but his shot across the face of goal was pushed past the far post.
It was a good attacking start from Rovers in the opening 15 minutes, as they looked to continue the momentum from Wednesday’s second half performance at Crawley.
Tom Nichols took a free kick for Exeter from a tight angle but the ball flew over the bar and didn’t trouble Mildenhall.
It was Exeter who took the lead, and although David Wheeler will probably try and claim the goal, it was credited as an own goal to Lee Brown as his attempted clearance dipped under the cross bar.
But the lead didn’t last long. It was a great response from Rovers, who were straight on the attack, earning themselves a penalty after Richards was fouled inside the box by Danny Butterfield.
John-Joe O’Toole stepped up to the spot and calmly slotted low into bottom left corner. The Exeter keeper dived the right way, but couldn’t get a hand to it.
Things calmed down after the two goals, but a good cross into the box from Harrison was blocked by Danny Coles for a corner.
Rovers had a number of crosses into the box from the resulting corner, the Exeter keeper was unable to deal with them, but Rovers could not find the back of the net.
Alan Gow had a couple of have chances for the visitors, but it was honours even as the sides went in at the break.
First chance of the second half came when Rovers were awarded a free kick 45 yards out for a foul on Harrold.
The ball into the box was met by a glancing header from O’Toole, but his effort went narrowly wide.
At the other end Exeter were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area, but Gow’s shot was not able to clear the Rovers wall.
Exeter came out strongly in the second half, and put Rovers under a spell of pressure, but the defence stood up to the challenge.
Ollie Clarke then beat his man, but slipped as he was through on goal and sliced his shot.
Gow had a shot from distance on the break which was deflected just over the bar. The resulting corner was headed on by Gow, but he could not quite find Wheeler at the back post.
Clarke then had another effort for Rovers, but his shot from outside the box fizzed past the post.
While at the other end Mildenhall was called into action to make a low save from substitute Arron Davies.
Gow then had a shot that was blocked by MIldenhall, and Michael Smith did really well to block the follow up from Sam Parkin.
Danny Woodards made his comeback with just over five minutes to go, replacing Eliot Richards on the right.
O’Toole had a shot from 40 yards out as Rovers looked for the winner, but his effort sailed over the bar.
And it was O’Toole who eventually found the winner in extra time, after some good work by substitute Beardsley.
The striker did well to beat his man on the byline and crossed the ball in for O’Toole to volley home past the keeper.
Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown, Ollie Clarke, Tom Lockyer (Chris Beardsley), John-Joe O’Toole, Ellis Harrison (David Clarkson), Eliot Richards (Danny Woodards), Matt Harrold.
Substitutes: Danny Woodards, Ollie Norburn, David Clarkson, Mitch Harding, Chris Beardsley, Conor Gough, Pat Keary
Exeter City: Artur Krysiak, Danny Butterfield, Scott Bennett, Pat Baldwin, Danny Coles (Arron Davies), Jordan Moore-Taylor, David Wheeler (Sam Parkin), Liam Sercombe, Alan Gow, Tom Nichols (John O'Flynn), Matt Grimes.
Substitutes: Christy Pim, Craig Woodman, John O'Flynn, Jimmy Keohane, Sam Parkin, Matt Gill.