Peterborough United 4-2 Bristol Rovers
Attendance: 5,498 (814 away)
Two goals in either half from Peterborough United meant that Rovers were defeated at the ABAX Stadium, with Rory Gaffney scoring two late consolation goals for Rovers. Ellis Harrison missed a first-half penalty which would have levelled the scores, as the defeat means that Rovers are no longer able to finish inside the top six in SkyBet League One.
Heading into the encounter at the ABAX Stadium, Rovers boss Darrell Clarke named three changes to the side that defeated Oldham Athletic at the Mem on Monday. In came Jermaine Easter, James Clarke and Byron Moore to the starting eleven, while Rory Gaffney made a return to the bench after a spell on the sidelines.
In the opening exchanges, Billy Bodin's winding run into the host's area caused problems, as the winger made several twists and turns before getting a shot away that was deflected as far as Chris Lines, who aimed a powerful effort towards goal that took a deflection which caused his shot to stray off target.
At the other end, Rovers had to be alert against an early Peterborough counter attack, with James Clarke reading the situation to be in the right place to prevent Craig Mackail-Smith from shooting from inside the Rovers area after the striker had been squared the ball by Marcus Maddison.
Peterborough found themselves ahead in the 11th minute, as Marcus Maddison and Tom Nichols worked the ball across the edge of the Rovers area, as the final pass found Leonardo Da Silva Lopes in space and the central midfielder connected with a driven effort that clipped the post on its way past Joe Lumley.
Rovers responded by creating a series chances, as Billy Bodin and James Clarke combined down the right-wing, which allowed Clarke to direct a cross into the box that was cleared only as far as the edge of the Peterborough area where Stuart Sinclair allowed himself to take a touch to take the ball out of his feet, but the midfielder's effort from twenty yards was at a comfortable height for Luke McGee to claim, with the 'keeper diving to his left to claim the ball.
The visitors were awarded a chance to balance the scores from the spot, as Byron Moore was bundled to the ground by goalscorer Leonardo Da Silva Lopes, with the referee immediately pointing to the spot. Ellis Harrison took the penalty, but the striker's effort was saved by the outstretched arm of Luke McGee.
A Tom Nichols ball over the top caused Rovers problems, as Ryan Sweeney was unable to get enough power on his header back to Joe Lumley and Marcus Maddison chased down the slack pass to beat Lumley to the ball and was able to lift his finish over the advancing 'keeper with his right foot to double the hosts lead.
Nichols was involved in the final third again moments later when the former Exeter player aimed a dangerous cross into the Rovers penalty box that picked out Mackail-Smith, but from six yards out the striker could only direct his first-time effort into the hands of Joe Lumley.
Late in first-half Rovers had the opportunity to reduce Peterborough's advantage, as a deep cross to the far-post from Robert Harris was met by Billy Bodin, with the winger sending a header back across the face of goal that rebounded off the post with McGee well beaten.
Minutes after the restart, a low cross from the left by Robert Harris was rushed clear by the hosts, with the ball falling for Billy Bodin who directed a powerful volley into the ground, but the winger's effort was straight at Luke McGee.
Bodin had another sight on goal shortly after, with Jermaine Easter laying off a pass to the winger who fired a powerful effort narrowly past the post from the edge of the Peterborough area.
The home side extended their lead on the hour mark, as Leonardo Da Silva Lopes was given space to advance into the area from the right and the midfielder took advantage and fired a low effort on target that crept under Joe Lumley.
With twenty-five minutes to go the hosts were able to add a fourth goal, as a ball into the Rovers area dropped for Craig Mackail-Smith, who made no mistake from close-range and was able to powerfully volley the ball into the net with little Joe Lumley could do to prevent the striker from scoring.
Substitute Rory Gaffney was able to score a late consolation goal for Rovers, with the striker hitting a well directed shot on the turn from just outside the area that beat Luke McGee for pace as it nestled into the bottom corner.
Gaffney was again on the scoresheet in stoppage time, as the striker received a well-directed header from Jermaine Easter and powerfully directed a low volley back across goal to register his ninth goal of the season.
Next up for Rovers is the visit of Millwall to the Mem next Sunday in the final game of the 2016/17 SkyBet League One season.
Peterborough United: Luke McGee (G), Andrew Hughes, Michael Bostwick, Jack Baldwin, Chris Forrester (C) (79' Bradden Inman), Marcus Maddison (62' Andrea Borg), Craig Mackail-Smith (68' Junior Morias), Leonardo Da Silva Lopes, Tom Nichols, Callum Chettle, Lewis Freestone.
Substitutes: Mark Tyler (G), Michael Smith, Bradden Inman, Jerome Binnom-Williams, Anthony Grant.
Rovers: Joe Lumley (G), Robert Harris (68' Ryan Broom), Tom Lockyer (C), Ryan Sweeney, James Clarke (60' Joe Partington), Chris Lines, Stuart Sinclair, Byron Moore, Billy Bodin, Ellis Harrison (60' Rory Gaffney), Jermaine Easter.
Substitutes: Steve Mildenhall (G), Lee Mansell, Cristian Montano, Jake Clarke-Salter.