Bristol Rovers 5-1 ChesterAttendance: 8,455 (348)
Rovers returned to the top of the Vanarama Conference table after a convincing 5-1 win over Chester at the Memorial Stadium.
Oliver McBurnie's second half header was no more than a consolation for Chester after first half goals from Matty Taylor, Lee Mansell and Andy Monkhouse put the Gas 3-0 up at half time before Andy Monkhouse and substitute Ellis Harrison completed the rout inside the final 10 minutes.
Darrell Clarke made two changes to the side that drew with Macclesfield last week as Lee Mansell returned to the starting 11 after serving his two game suspension and Adam Dawson also came into the starting line-up.
Rovers started with a fantastic tempo early on and had a chance in the opening seconds as a long ball forward from Tom Parkes was controlled perfectly by Matty Taylor into the path of Jermaine Easter, but the Welsh International fired the ball over the crossbar on the volley.
Moments later Rovers were awarded a free kick following a foul on Matty Taylor. Lee Brown stepped up to take it but his left footed effort failed to trouble Jon Worsnop in the Blues goal.
In an action packed opening 15 minutes, Chester could and probably should have found themselves ahead. Following a slip and a misskick from Rovers keeper Will Puddy, Sean McConville was through on an open goal. The Chester man made the angle difficult for himself but trickled his shot across the goal line before Lee Brown cleared the lines.
Seconds later, Rovers capitalised and took the lead through a fantastically placed header from Matty Taylor.
From the clearance, Rovers pushed the ball down the right hand side and Adam Dawson. The Leicester loanee beat his man and advanced down the right flank to deliver an inch perfect cross for Matty Taylor to head home through a sea of bodies on the Chester line.
With 23 minutes on the clock Rovers could have doubled their lead had it not been for some defensive heroics from the Chester back line. Both Jermaine Easter and Andy Monkhouse saw efforts cleared off the goal line through a combination on Worsnop and Ben Heneghan.
Rovers did double their lead minutes later as a poor clearance from Chester fell to the feet of Lee Mansell and the days skipper took his chance superbly slipping the ball under Worsnop from outside the area.
Just before the half hour mark Rovers were dealt a cruel blow as Jermaine Easter left the field holding his right leg. Easter was replaced by Ellis Harrison who is back in the squad after representing the Welsh Under-21 side in Cardiff on Tuesday.
Gasheads must have thought they were dreaming as in the 33rd minute Andy Monkhouse put the home side three goals to the good. Superb link up play between Harrison and Taylor presented the Welshman with a shooting opportunity. Harrison forced a good save from Worsnop only to have Andy Monkhouse on hand to fire in the rebound.
Rovers came out in the second half and continued to press in search of a fourth goal as a lovely flowing move involving Adam Dawson, Matty Taylor and then Ellis Harrison set the ball up for Chris Lines to strike but the midfielder couldn't connect clean enough and the ball ended up with the supporters in the North Terrace.
Steve Burr's men came out in the second half and looked a completely different side and a lovely delivery from the left hand side was met by the head of Oliver McBurnie who headed the ball past an outstretched Will Puddy who couldn't keep it out.
Rovers reaction to conceding a goal was fantastic as they forced an opportunity from a free kick as Daniel Leadbitter had his shirt pulled by Kingsley James. Adam Dawson to the free kick on the right hand side of the area across goal to the far post where Ellis Harrison directed the ball goalwards on the volley and forced a great reaction save from Jon Worsnop.
It could have been four with just under 20 minutes of the game remaining as some brilliant trickery from Matty Taylor in the penalty area created space for him to fire the ball across the six-yard area where a late arriving Chris Lines couldn't adjust his feet in time and shot wide of the goal.
The home side continued to press and with 10 minutes of the game remaining Andy Monkhouse bagged his second of the game. Great hold up play from substitute Ellis Harrison set up Monkhouse to fire under Worsnop who probably should have done better.
With chats of "we want five" echoing from the North Terrace, Rovers duly obliged as substitute Ellis Harrison powered his way through the middle of the park, shrugging off Michael Kay and Ben Heneghan in the process before hammering home emphatically past Worsnop.
Today's win moves Rovers back to the top of the Vanarama Conference table for the evening as title rivals Barnet and Grimsby both play tomorrow entertaining Nuneaton and Gateshead respectively.
Up next for Rovers is the trip to Kidderminster Harries on Easter Monday as they look to continue this form in the title chase in front of a sell out away crowd of 2,604.
Rovers: Puddy, Leadbitter, Lockyer, Parkes, Brown, Dawson (McChrystal - 75), Mansell (C), Lines, Monkhouse, Taylor (Blissett - 85), Easter (Harrison - 27).
Unused Substitutes: Mildenhall (GK), Balanta.
Chester: Worsnop, Higgins, Kay (C), Heneghan, Roberts, Hughes, James, Rooney, McConville (Abbot - 45), Mahon, McBurnie.
Unused Substitutes: Viscosi (GK), Brown, Hobson, Peers.