Bristol Rovers extend their unbeaten run at the Memorial Stadium after dispatching Nuneaton Town 3-1.
Goals from Tom Parkes, Matty Taylor and Jake Gosling secured all three points with Boro captain Gareth Dean netting for the visitors.
Darrell Clarke made three changes to the starting 11 that won away at Lincoln on Saturday bringing in Jake Gosling, Dave Martin and Adam Cunnington. The change in personnel also prompted a change in formation with Rovers reverting to 4-4-2.
The home side started at a frantic pace and really took the game to Nuneaton and took the lead after 90 seconds.
Dave Martin’s whipped free kick into the penalty area caused Reice Charles-Cook major issues as he missed his punch and Tom Parkes was on hand to power home his first goal of the season.
Rovers could have doubled their lead moments later as Stuart Sinclair saw his shot blocked on the edge of the area as well as Matty Taylor dragging his shot wide from the same distance.
Adam Cunnington was denied a second goal in Rovers colours after a superb reaction save from the Nuneaton keeper.
Leon McSweeney poorly controlled Martin’s low cross into the box and it fell into the path of Cunnington who lashed a shot goalwards only to be denied by Charles-Cook.
The visitors had their efforts limited in the first period as McSweeney saw his speculative effort sail well wide and Anton Brown’s headed effort also went well wide.
Some outstanding effort and commitment from Adam Cunnington provided Rovers with a golden opportunity to double their lead but Jake Gosling fired his shot wide.
Nuneaton had their best chance of the half just before the break as Andrew Browne directed his shot just wide of Steve Mildenhall’s left hand post following a cut back from strike partner Craig Curran.
The Boro had Charles-Cook to thank again for keeping the deficit 1-0 as he denied Adam Cunnington from point blank range for the second time in the half.
Rovers started the second half with the same intensity that they had in the first and were rewarded almost instantly.
Matty Taylor latched onto an inch perfect pass from Lee Mansell and slotted calmly past Charles-Cook to score his first league goal in the blue and white quarters.
Moments later Adam Cunnington almost extended Rovers lead futher after connecting with a Dave Martin cross from the left hand side, but the Cambridge loanee headed narrowly over.
Dave Martin was provider again, this time for Jake Gosling but his shot was blocked on the edge of the area. Martin’s quick change of pace and agility was really causing problems for Ryan Smith.
Adam Walker had a rare effort for Nuneaton just past the hour mark but his speculative effort didn’t challenge Mildenhall in the Rovers goal.
The visitors started to gain control of the game and pulled a goal back through the head of skipper Gareth Dean. It was Dean who jumped highest to meet the corner and turned it past Mildenhall.
Substitute Ellis Harrison came on and made an instant impact racing away from Exodus Geohagon before lashing a shot at the goal. However, Charles-Cook was equal to it and palmed the ball wide
Rovers put the game beyond doubt with just over 10 minutes remaining as Jake Gosling opened his account for the season.
Gosling finished off a slick-passing move that involved Matty Taylor and Ellis Harrison before Dave Martin cut the ball back for the man from Gibraltar to finish into an empty net with the goalkeeper stranded.
Tonight’s victory extends Rovers unbeaten run to 5 games going into Saturday’s game where Woking are the next visitors to the Memorial Stadium. We hope to see you all there!
Rovers: Mildenhall, Lockyer, Trotman, Parkes, Brown, Gosling (Clarke – 84), Mansell (C), Sinclair, Martin, Cunnington (Harrison – 68), Taylor (White – 89).
Substitutes: Puddy, McChrystal, White.
Nuneaton: Charles-Cook, Dean (C), Walker, Browne, Streete (Armson – 45), Smith, Brown (John – 56), Geohagon, Curran, Fowler, McSweeney.
Substitutes: Hogarth-Wren, Hutchinson, Quinn.