Rovers 1-1 Kidderminster
Bristol Rovers 1
Kidderminster Harriers 1
Referee: Brett Huxtable
Away Attendance: 287
Matty Taylor’s goal seven minutes from time gave Rovers a hard earned, but well deserved, point against Kidderminster Harriers this afternoon.
Taylor, on as a second half substitute in place of Jamie White, was on the end of a cross from the impressive Lyle Della-Verdi to cancel out Nathan Blissett’s 67th minute strike for the visitors.
The game saw Rovers start and end well, but they were strangely subdued in the middle part. However the determined way in which they hit back after being a goal down earned them a share of the spoils.
Manager Darrell Clarke made two changes to his starting lineup, with Taylor and Daniel Leadbitter making way for Della-Verde, who made his first start, and Dave Martin.
In a 4-4-2 formation Jamie White partnered Ryan Brunt up front.
Angelo Balanta returned to the squad for the first time since 9th September and took his place on the bench.
Rovers began at a high tempo, forced a first minute corner and had a penalty appeal turned down two minutes later.
From the stand, it certainly looked as though visiting skipper Josh Gowling had handled Della-Verde’s cross, but referee Brett Huxtable was having none of it.
The on loan Fulham midfielder was in the thick of the action again shortly afterwards when his rasping volley was touched behind by goalkeeper Danny Lewis.
There was then an opportunity for Mark McChrystal, who reached Martin’s cross to the back post but hit his shot straight at Lewis who managed to scramble the ball away.
Martin then fired high over the bar as Rovers continued to take the game to their visitors, and it was left to Jamie Grimes to have their first sight of goal but he glanced a header wide of the target.
As Kidderminster began to gain a foothold in the game Craig Reid fired wide when well placed and the same player saw another effort blocked by Stuart Sinclair and Tom Parkes’ desperate challenge prevented him from getting another shot away.
Mildenhall saved well from Blissett, who cut in from the left before shooting, but Kidderminster would have taken a lead into the half time break had it not been for Tom Lockyer.
Mildenhall was beaten by Marvin Johnson’s shot but Lockyer, alert to the danger, flung himself at the ball to head off the line.
Rovers made a double substitution at the start of the second half, as Taylor and Ollie Clarke replaced Martin and White and although Della-Verde hit an effort wide soon after the break, Kidderminster were the team in the ascendancy in the opening period of the second half.
Aman Verma hit a speculative effort over the bar and Blissett headed over when well placed, though he wasn’t to be denied a goal as he was first to react, in the 67th minute, to Reid’s corner from the left. A static
Rovers defence allowed him to rise unopposed to power a header past Mildenhall.
Mildenhall prevented another goal when he dived full stretch to his left to touch away a Kevin Nicholson free kick and Chey Dunkley was wide with a shot from one of a number of corners the visitors forced in quick succession. However Rovers hit back strongly and Taylor grazed the crossbar with a header from a Lee Brown cross, before he equalised with a shot at the near post from a delightful low ball across the face
of goal by Della-Verde.
Clarke saw a left foot shot blocked and Ellis Harrison headed over before the final whistle as Rovers tried hard to break the deadlock.
Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Tom Lockyer, Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown, Lyle Della-Verde, Stuart Sinclair, Lee Mansell, Dave Martin (Ollie Clarke, 46), Ryan Brun (Ellis Harrison, 61), Jamie White (Matty Taylor, 46)
Substitutes: Will Puddy, Angelo Balanta
Kidderminster Harriers: Danny Lewis, Chey Dunkley, Jack Byrne, Marvin Johnson, Craig Reid (Reece Hales, 89), Nathan Blissett, Jamie Grimes, Aman Verma, Matt Robinson, Kevin Nicholson, Josh Gowling
Substitutes: Jake Green, Ahmed Obeng, Callum Gittings, Tyrone Williams