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25 February 2017

Bristol Rovers 1-1 Scunthorpe United

Attendance: 8,784 (283 away)

Ollie Clarke headed Rovers into a first-half lead at the Mem, but the midfielder's goal was cancelled out by a misfortunate own-goal midway through the second half as Rovers drew with promotion-chasing Scunthorpe United.

Heading into the game Rovers named two changes to the side that started last Saturday's 1-1 draw against Port Vale, with Luke James and Daniel Leadbitter coming into the starting XI, replacing Joe Partington and Ellis Harrison.

The visitors made four changes to their starting line-up, which saw the suspended Harry Toffolo being replaced by Conor Townsend and Duane Holmes, Tom Hopper and Sam Mantom all coming into the starting eleven. 

Within seconds of kick-off at the Memorial Stadium the visitors had their first chance on goal as a long ball forward was allowed to bounce inside the Rovers area, with Duane Holmes taking full advantage of the loose ball by driving an effort towards goal which Joe Lumley was equal to inside the opening sixty seconds. 

Rovers didn't have to wait long to register their first chance on goal, when good build-up play down the left wing allowed Robert Harris to thread a pass through to Ollie Clarke inside the area and the midfielder directed a driven effort on goal that was pushed past the post by the outstretched hand of Scunthorpe 'keeper Luke Daniels. 

The home side enjoyed a period of early pressure inside the opening quarter of the game through a succession of corners, with Chris Lines curling a delivery into the area which fell to Rory Gaffney, with the striker hitting a first-time effort on goal that was deflected away on the line by Daniels, which was followed up by Ollie Clarke poking home the rebound that was also stopped on the goaline by the covering Murray Wallace.

Rovers continued to create chances during the opening forty-five minutes with Chris Lines lining up a shot on goal from long-range that took a number of bounces across the wet surface before being gathered on the ground by Luke Daniels. 

The deadlock was broken by Rovers seven minutes before the break when a corner from the left was met by Ollie Clarke, who climbed well to head the set-piece emphatically towards goal and although Luke Daniels got a hand to Clarke's header, it possessed too much power and the ball nestled into the top corner.

Scunthorpe reshuffled at the break and introduced Charlie Goode, who replaced David Mirfin, but Rovers continued to apply pressure on Scunthorpe in the minutes that followed the restart. Daniel Leadbitter broke quickly down the right and completed his run by firing a whipped delivery into the box that was headed over the crossbar at the near post by Luke James. The striker's header was quickly followed by Billy Bodin cutting in from the right and firing a shot on target that was well saved by Daniels. 

The visitors were back on level terms in the seventy-fourth minute, as a slack backpass by Ellis Harrison was picked up by Paddy Madden, who run through on goal but was tracked by Tom Lockyer, but in an attempt to make a last ditch challenge the ball took an unfortunate deflection that lofted it over Lumley, who had rushed to the edge of the area and the ball trickled into the empty net.

Rovers responded well to conceding the equaliser, with Stuart Sinclair demonstrating good footwork on the edge of the area that allowed the midfielder to skip past a number of challenges before hitting a well-struck shot that was deflected behind for a corner.

Scunthorpe thought that they had scored a late winner when substitute Craig Davies picked out Paddy Madden at the far-post, with Madden applying a finish from close-range that was met by the linesman on the far side signalling for offside, with the goal being disallowed.

In extra time Ollie Clarke advanced forward with a winding run and from the edge of the area produced a curling effort that bounced narrowly past the right-hand post, as the contest ended in a draw.

Rovers face Bolton Wanderers on the road this coming Tuesday in SkyBet League One. 

Rovers: Joe Lumley (G), Daniel Leadbitter, Ryan Sweeney, Tom Lockyer (C), Robert Harris (65' Clarke), Chris Lines, Stuart Sinclair, Ollie Clarke, Billy Bodin, Rory Gaffney, Luke James (60' Ellis Harrison).

Substitutes: Steve Mildenhall (G), Lee Mansell, Jonny Burn, Cristian Montano, Byron Moore.

Scunthorpe United: Luke Daniels (G), Murray Wallace, David Mirfin (45' Charlie Goode), Paddy Madden, Josh Morris, Neal Bishop, Tom Hopper (60' Craig Davies), Sam Mantom, Duane Holmes, Conor Townsend, Levi Sutton.

Substitutes: Joe Anyon (G), Stephen Dawson, Kevin van Veen, Ivan Toney, Matt Crooks.

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