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FIRST-HALF GOALS FIRE ROVERS TO VICTORY OVER CHESTERFIELD

18 March 2017

Bristol Rovers 2-1 Chesterfield F.C

Attendance: 8,532 (220 away)

Ollie Clarke fired Rovers into an early lead at the Mem against Chesterfield, as the midfielder opened the scoring in under thirty seconds with a well-struck volley from outside the area. Rory Gaffney doubled Rovers' advantage in the first-half, as the home side made it ten unbeaten at home in Sky Bet League One with a convincing performance against the Spireites. 

Rovers found themselves ahead at the Mem after just thirty seconds, as a  thunderous volley from the edge of the area by Ollie Clarke soared into the bottom corner of the net, with Chesterfield 'keeper Thorsten Stuckmann unable to get down quick enough to prevent Clarke's shot from opening the scoring, with Rovers' scoring the opening goal in under a minute for the second time at the Mem in just seven days.

The home side continued to enjoy the majority of the ball and were on the scoresheet again when Luke James picked out a perfectly weighted pass through to Rory Gaffney, with the striker showing great composure as he advanced towards goal and was able to side-foot a finish around Stuckmann to double Rovers' lead with under twenty minutes on the clock. 

The chances kept coming for Rovers as they continued to dominate the game. Lee Brown sent a driven free-kick inches past the post, with defender's effort quickly followed by a long-range attempt from Chris Lines that took a heavy deflection that diverted the ball narrowly past the right-hand post. 

Stuckmann was tested constantly throughout the opening forty-five minutes, with Luke James working tirelessly to create an opening for himself, with the striker manufacturing a bouncing shot from long-range that required Stuckmann to dive to his left to push the shot off-target. The keeper was called into action again just minutes later, as Rory Gaffney lined up a shot from the edge of the area which the 'keeper had to tip around the post.

With five minutes to go before half-time, Luke James was fouled in the area and dusted himself off to take the resulting penalty. The striker looked calm as he addressed the ball, but his powerful effort was pushed away by the outstretched arm of Stuckmann, with the visitors rushing the ball clear from the rebound, as the scoreline remained 2-0 heading into the half-time break.

In the minutes following the restart Rovers instigated a quick breakaway to create an opportunity to extend their lead further, as Rory Gaffney battled to win possession deep and worked the ball across the face of goal to Billy Bodin, with the winger directing an effort on goal that rose narrowly over the crossbar.

Rovers still controlled the game during the second half but were restricted to fewer chances on goal. Rory Gaffney had the opportunity to add to his first-half goal, as the striker was played the ball by a clever lofted pass from Chris Lines, but the striker a went for power from inside the area and directed his shot well over the crossbar.

Jermaine Easter made an appearance from the bench, with the striker replacing Luke James with little over fifteen minutes left in the game.

In the 85th minute, Chesterfield scored through Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, as the experienced striker took advantage of space in the area to curl a side-footed effort out of reach of Joe Lumley to half Rovers' lead.

The home side saw out the remaining minutes to ensure that Ebanks-Blake's strike was just a consolation goal, with the win extending Rovers' unbeaten run at home in SkyBet League One to ten games.

Next Saturday Rovers make the trip to face Coventry City in SkyBet League One.


Rovers: Joe Lumley (G), Daniel Leadbitter, Ryan Sweeney, Tom Lockyer (C), Lee Brown, Chris Lines, Ollie Clarke, Cristian Montano (57' Byron Moore), Billy Bodin, Luke James (71' Jermaine Easter), Rory Gaffney.

Substitutes: Steve Mildenhall, Robert Harris, Jonny Burn, Jake Clarke-Salter.

Chesterfield F.C: Thorsten Stuckmann (G), Paul McGinn, Dan Jones, Sam Hird (C), Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Jon Nolan, Dion Donohue, Kristian Dennis (63' David Faupala), Rai Simons (71' Dan Gardner), Tom Anderson, Osman Kakay (53' Connor Dimaio).

Substitutes: Ryan Fulton (G), Angel Martinez, Reece Mitchell, Liam Grimshaw.


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