Leyton Orient Match ReportAttendance: 9,836 (487)
Bristol Rovers concluded a fantastic 2015 with a 2-1 win against Leyton Orient at the Memorial Stadium.
A brace from on loan striker Rory Gaffney secured all three points after Jay Simpson drew the O's level just before half time.
Darrell Clarke made six changes to the side that drew with AFC Wimbledon on Boxing Day with Daniel Leadbitter, Tom Parkes, Stuart Sinclair, Cristian Montano, Jermaine Easter and Rory Gaffney coming into the side at the expense of James Clarke, Mark McChrystal, Ollie Clarke, Jake Gosling, Matty Taylor and Ellis Harrison.
Both sides started positively with Rovers having two decent chances inside the opening five minutes. Initially Jermaine Easter let fly from the right hand side of the penalty area only to see Alex Cisak save well moments before Rory Gaffney burst through the defence only to be denied by a last ditch challenge from Cole Kpekawa.
Rovers continued to look the more lively side after the opening 20 minutes with both Rory Gaffney and Matty Taylor causing problems for the O's back line. Both strikers linked up well before Easter squared the ball into the path of Billy Bodin who couldn't hit the target with his snapshot.
Just past the half hour mark Rovers hit the back of the net through a lovely solo goal from Rory Gaffney. He controlled the ball well before advancing into the penalty area leaving defenders on the floor before opening his body but well to calmly slot the ball past Cisak with his right foot.
The goal really opened up the game as Orient tried to get a goal back before half time but it was Rovers who almost got a second off of the head of Tom Lockyer. Lee Mansell floated a lovely ball into the penalty area for the Welsh Under-21 International to attack but his header went narrowly over the bar as Alex Cisak was rooted to the ground.
Rovers looked destined to see the half out but the leagues top goal scorer had other ideas. Orient attacked down the right hand side as Blair Turgott fired a ball low into the Rovers penalty area into the path of Jay Simpson who tapped the ball home from three yards.
Orient started the second half the better side and had two decent chances in the opening five minutes. Initially the ball was bouncing in the Rovers penalty area before Steve Mildenhall got a safe pair of hands on the ball whilst under heavy pressure before Jay Simpson found some space in the box before Mildenhall was on hand to deny the leagues top scorer.
However, for all their pressure it was Rovers who took the lead for the second time in the game and for the second time it was Rory Gaffney on the scoresheet. This time the ball dropped over the Irishman's shoulder before he unleashed a lovely volley that hit the inside of the post before crossing the line with Cisak having no chance.
Moments later Rovers could have made it three as more fantastic work from Gaffney allowed Lee Mansell space and time in the penalty area but the skipper fired the ball over the bar.
The O's pressed hard for their second equaliser of the game but Jay Simpson and Ollie Palmer both saw their efforts saved by Steve Mildenhall but at the other end of the field Rory Gaffney was denied what would have been a fantastic hat-trick after a brilliant save from Alex Cisak.
Orient made a double substitution with just under 20 minutes remaining as Scott Kashket and John Marquis came into the action as Ian Hendon looked to freshen things up for his side and they had a very dominant spell but the Rovers side stood firm to keep their goal lead intact.
With just under 10 minutes of the game to go Darrell Clarke made his final substitution as Ollie Clarke came into the game to replace Cristian Montano as Rovers changed shape to a 3-5-2 formation which ensured Rovers all three points and a win to cap of a fantastic 2015.
Up next for Rovers is the visit of Luton Town to the Memorial Stadium on 2nd January before the trip to the Hive to take on Barnet the week after.
Rovers: Mildenhall; Leadbitter, Lockyer, Parkes, Brown; Bodin (J. Clarke - 73), Mansell (C), Sinclair, Montano (O. Clarke - 81); Easter (Taylor - 66), Gaffney.
Unused Substitutes: Preston (GK), McChrystal, Gosling, Harrison.
Orient: Cusak, Clohessy (C), Essam, Palmer (Marquis - 73), McAnuff (Kashket - 73), Payne, M'Voto, Turgott, Pritchard, Kpekawa, Simpson.
Unused Substitutes: Grainger (GK), Shaw, Dunne, Moncur, Adeboyejo.