Bristol Rovers 2-0 Lincoln CityAttendance: 6,528 (248)
Rovers ran out comfortable 2-0 winners against Lincoln City in their first game at the Memorial Stadium since New Year's Day.
First half goals from Lee Brown and Nathan Blissett ensured all three points for Darrell Clarke's men before a difficult away trip to Grimsby.
Darrell Clarke made one change to the starting 11 following last weeks draw with Dartford with Adam Dawson replacing the injured Jermaine Easter. Loan signing Josh Wakefield takes a place on the substitutes bench after signing on Monday.
The home side started really bright and Adam Dawson was looking fantastic down the Rovers right hand side causing Lincoln all sorts of problems and it was a foul on Dawson that earned Rovers a free kick that brought about Rovers first chance of the game.
Dawson was brought down on the right by Sean Newton, picked himself up and delivered a pinpoint ball into the Imps penalty area however Tom Parkes could only head the ball onto the post from low down.
Good link up play down the Rovers right earned a corner and Adam Dawson provided another brilliant delivery towards the near post which was flicked on my Andy Monkhouse towards Matty Taylor who lashed his close range shot against the crossbar with Lincoln keeper Paul Farman rooted to the spot.
Rovers continued to press in search of the opener as Lee Brown drifted in field from the left and curled an effort goalwards with his weaker right foot that narrowly flew over the crossbar from the edge of the area.
Andy Monkhouse and Matty Taylor had been linking up well throughout the first half before Monkhouse flicked the ball around the corner with his back to goal towards Taylor whose shot was saved brilliantly at point blank range by Farman.
Visitors Lincoln seemed to grow into the game and had their only real effort of the first half on the half hour mark as a Jake Caprice cross was met by top goal scorer Ben Tomlinson who could only shoot into the side netting.
Minutes later Marcus Marshall found some space down the Lincoln and managed to pick out Arnaud Mendy whose headed effort ended up safely in the hands of Steve Mildenhall.
Following a short spell of Lincoln pressure Rovers really started to turn the screw as Matty Taylor received the ball in a pocket of space on the edge of the area and the Rovers top goal scorer turned and forced another fantastic save from Paul Farman for palmed the ball behind for a corner.
From the resulting corner it was Taylor who jumped highest and headed the ball down but Farman was able to pull out another fantastic save to keep the game all square.
Rovers took the lead with just over five minutes of the first half remaining with a well worked free kick routine. Lee Mansell was used as a decoy runner and Lee Brown curled the ball past the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner of the net for his first goal of the season.
Less than three minutes later Rovers doubled their lead after great hold up play from Matty Taylor who shrugged off Hamza Bencherif to square the ball to an arriving Nathan Blissett who made no mistake and finished empatically to put Rovers 2-0 to the good.
Rovers started the second half well and from a corner Tom Lockyer was chopped down on the edge of the Imps area, winning Rovers a free kick. This time it was the turn of Lee Mansell whose right footed effort crashed against the right hand upright and behind for a goal kick.
The home side continued to attack and on the hour mark Adam Dawson played through Matty Taylor but on this occasion Taylor didn't test Farman and dragged his shot wide of the post.
With 20 minutes left to play a long ball from the Rovers back line played through Matty Taylor who managed to sprint around Hamza Bencherif and tried to chip the Lincoln keeper but the ball struck Farman in the head and Nat Brown was able to clear the ball to safety.
Lincoln didn't threaten Steve Mildenhall's goal at all in the second half but always looked shaky at the back.
With just over five minutes remaining Matty Taylor's diving header came crashing back off the post on what didn't seem to be Matty's day in front of goal.
In second half injury time substitute Ellis Harrison had a difficult chance for Rovers but fired his effort well over following considerable pressure from Imps skipper Nat Brown.
Up next for Rovers is a trip to Blundell Park to take on Grimsby Town on Valentines Day before returning to the Memorial Stadium the week after as the Gas entertain Altrincham on Saturday 21st February.
Rovers: Mildenhall, Leadbitter, McChrystal (C), Parkes, Brown, Dawson (Gosling - 89), Lockyer, Mansell, Monkhouse, Taylor (Balanta - 89), Blissett (Harrison - 87).
Unused Substitutes: Puddy (GK), Wakefield.
Lincoln: Farman, Newton (Davies - 45), Bencherif, Tomlinson, Mendy, Nolan, Sam-Yorke (Burrow - 55), Caprice, Adams, Marshall (Waite - 73), Brown (C).
Unused Substitutes: Grant (GK), Everington, Waite.