Lincoln City 2
Newton (pen, 37), Burrow (45)
Bristol Rovers 3
Sinclair (13), Leadbitter (22), Harrison (90)
Rovers picked up their first away win of the season at Sincil Bank today, beating Lincoln City 3-2.
First half goals from Stuart Sinclair and Daniel Leadbitter gave them a two goal cushion but the home side levelled before the break.
In an open second half both sides had chances before Lee Brown missed an 87th minute penalty.
However the defender set up Ellis Harrison who fired in a last minute winner, though Clarke’s side were indebted to goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall for a superb save from the final shot of the match.
Clarke changed both shape and formation for this afternoon’s match.
He opted to go with a 3-5-2 formation and recalled Daniel Leadbitter and Ollie Clarke to the side at the expense of Dave Martin and Adam Cunnington.
Leadbitter slotted in at right wing back, Clarke came into midfield while Andy Monkhouse partnered Matty Taylor up front.
A foray into Rovers’ penalty area on two minutes by Hamza Bencherif suggested that the home side were intent on taking the game to their visitors.
However nothing could have been further from the truth as Clarke’s side gradually took control and took the lead on 13 minutes when the home defence failed to deal with Taylor’s low ball into the box leaving the
unmarked Stuart Sinclair with the task of slotting the ball past Nick Townsend to register his first goal in a Rovers shirt.
Tom Parkes saw his header deflected behind for a corner before a second goal arrived in the 22nd minute and again hesitancy at the back cost the home side dearly.
Taylor won possession out on the right and played in Leadbitter who had made a surging run forward. The young defender raced into the area and calmly beat Townsend with a left foot short for his first Rovers goal.
There were chances for a third goal as a Sinclair shot was deflected behind and Lee Brown’s curling free kick was inches wide of the upright.
However Lincoln were handed a lifeline on 37 minutes when Sean Newton sent Mildenhall the wrong way with his penalty, awarded after Neal Trotman was ruled to have handled in the area.
Taylor saw Townsend touch away his goalbound effort before Lincoln, incredibly, drew level on the stroke of half time.
A harmless looking ball into the area saw a moment of hesitancy by Rovers defenders punished by Jordan Burrow, who toe poked the ball past Mildenhall from close range.
The home side started the second half strongly and there were chances for Tony Diagne, whose effort was blocked, Ben Tomlinson, whose angled drive flew just wide of the upright and Bencherif who should have done better with a close range header which, thankfully, cleared the bar.
Rovers hit back and a Taylor header was saved by Townsend, who also saved a long range effort from substitute Cunnington.
Mildenhall made an outstanding save from Burrow on 84 minutes and three minutes later Rovers were awarded a penalty after Diagne upended Sinclair in the box.
Lee Brown’s well struck spot kick hit the inside of the post and rebounded back into play and it seemed as though the first away win of the season would have to wait.
However Brown, desperate to make up for his penalty miss, then played in Ellis Harrison down the right and the young striker turned his marker before firing a shot past Townsend for the winner.
Lincoln laid siege to Rovers goal in the time left and four shots rained in in goal. The first three were blocked and the final one, from Arnaud Mendy, produced another outstanding save from Mildenhall.
Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Daniel Leadbitter (Martin, 62), Tom Lockyer, Tom Parkes, Neal Trotman, Lee Brown, Stuart Sinclair, Ollie Clarke, Lee Mansell, Andy Monkhouse (Elis Harrison, 53), Matty Taylor (Adam Cunnington, 71)
Substitutes: Mark McChrystal, Will Puddy
Yellow Card: Martin
Lincoln City: Nick Townsend, Jake Caprice, Nat Brown, Tony Diagne, Sean Newton, Alan Power, Arnaud Mendy, Jon Nolan (Delano Sam-Yorke, 76), Hamza Bencherif, Jordan Burrow, Ben Tomlinson
Substitutes: Sahr Kaba, Karl Ledsham, Marcus Marshall, David Preece
Referee: Ben Toner
Away Attendance: 211