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ROVERS LOSE AT HOME TO BOLTON WANDERERS

17 August 2016

Bristol Rovers 1-2 Bolton Wanderers

Attendance: 9,169 (700)

Rovers were handed their second loss of the season at the hands of Bolton Wanderers at the Memorial Stadium.

Josh Vela and Jay Spearing gave the visitors a 2-0 half time lead with Ellis Harrison netting a second half consolation goal.

Darrell Clarke made five changes to the side that beat Oxford United on Sunday recalling Daniel Leadbitter, Peter Hartley, Stuart Sinclair, Ellis Harrison and Matty Taylor into the starting 11.

Rovers started well in the game with Matty Taylor looking very sharp in the early going but it was the visitors that took the lead with seven minutes on the clock.

Phil Parkinson's men capitilised on a slip from Ollie Clarke on the half way line allowing Gary Madine to travel a long distance with the ball before picking out Josh Vela who cannoned his shot against Stuart Sinclair giving Steve Mildenhall no chance of dealing with the wicked deflection.

Time passed with neither side looking dangerous until Wanderers were handed a free kick on the edge of the penalty area just before the half hour mark. Jay Spearing stepped up for the visitors curling a superb free kick into the top right hand corner of Steve Mildenhall's goal.

With the two goal advantage, Bolton sat back drawing Rovers in looking for space for that killer pass and at the other end of the pitch Ellis Harrison fired a very difficult effort over the crossbar with Rovers only half chance of the first period.

Darrell Clarke opted to freshen things up for the second half as Billy Bodin and Jermaine Easter came on replacing Daniel Leadbitter and Ollie Clarke.

Rovers looked more positive in the opening five minutes of the second half with substitute Bodin showing some good touches early on. The hosts first chance of the half came as Stuart Sinclair was able to pick out Ellis Harrison who tried his luck from range but his powerful shot went well wide.

The home side grew in confidence and started to look more and more comfortable on the ball as a nice spell of possession which resulted in Jermaine Easter drawing a foul on the edge of the penalty area.

Lee Brown curled a fantastic effort towards the top corner but Mark Howard pulled out a remarkable save but Ellis Harrison was on hand to fire the ball into an empty net giving Rovers a way back into the game.

After the goal, Darrell Clarke's side looked in control of proceedings with Jermaine Easter the focal point of all things going forward but Wanderers were proving exceptionally difficult to break down.

Rovers continued to press for that all important equaliser as Billy Bodin's trickery and slick pass found Jermaine Easter in the penalty area but his shot went just wide of the post.

At the other end of the field, Bolton substitute Zach Clough was looking dangerous on the counter attack as he forced his way into the box with quick feet but Tom Lockyer was on hand to clear the danger.

Up next for Rovers is the trip to Roots Hall to take on Southend United before traveling to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea in the EFL Cup Second Round.

Rovers: Mildenhall; Leadbitter (Easter - 46), J. Clarke, Lockyer (C), Hartley, Brown (Montano - 70); O. Clarke (Bodin - 46) Lines, Sinclair; Harrison, Taylor.

Unused Substitutes: Puddy (GK), Broom, James, Gaffney.

Bolton: Howard, Buxton, Moxey, Beevers, Vela, Spearing (C), Proctor (Clough - 70), Madine (Wilkinson - 81), Davies, Trotter (Taylor - 63), Wheater.

Unused Substitutes: Amos (GK), Taylor, Wilson, Wollery, Wilkinson.

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