By Gerry Prewett.
Bristol Rovers clash with Colchester United on Tuesday evening for the first time in over 10 years. The first meeting between the clubs did not take place until 26 August 1950, when the U’s were first elected into the League. United has recorded 8 of victories to Rovers’ 4 and there have been just 3 draws in the 15 games in Essex.
That first game saw the teams tied 0-0 at Layer Road. The corresponding fixture at Eastville also finished all square, 1-1 in a game two days before Christmas Day.
Good Friday 1952 August Scott and James Elder scored for the home team with Geoff Bradford scoring Rovers only goal.
In the 1999-2000 season there was a remarkable 5-4 victory for the Essex team in the game at Layer Road in the highest aggregate score between the teams.
An early Jason Roberts strike was equalised by Steven McGavin before half time and the teams went into the break with the scores tied 1-1. Roberts scored within a minute of the start of the second half and a Jamie Cureton penalty gave Rovers a 3-1 lead. McGavin gave the U’s hope with a goal on 62 minutes to bring the score back to 2-3.
Then came mayhem in the last 10 minutes. Karl Duguid scored twice in the 80th and 82nd minutes to put United 4-3 ahead. But that was far from the end! Four minutes later Nathan Ellington was on target to bring the scores level at 4-4 before a Lomano LuaLua strike on 89 minutes produced a 5-4 home win.
Rovers’ last victory in the garrison town was on 4 October 2008. It was their first visit to new Community Stadium and a Rickie Lambert goal was enough to secure all three points.
Rovers’ last visit to Colchester was a closing day game of the 2010-11 season, that saw the Gas relegated. Liam Henderson struck twice in two first-half minutes to secure the home team victory. Rovers’ goalkeeper Conrad Logan denied John-Joe O'Toole early on before Henderson fired Colchester ahead just before the half-hour mark after Kayode Odejayi had headed Lloyd James' cross back across goal. Henderson scored his second goal two minutes later when he wriggled past Ben Swallow and shot past Logan, after Ashley Vincent's effort had deflected off a defender.
Rovers improved after half-time and U's goalkeeper Ben Williams foiled substitute Elliot Richards and Charlie Clough blocked O'Toole's effort on the goal-line before substitute Elliot Richards reduced the deficit with 18 minutes to go when he headed in Gavin Williams' free-kick. But it was not enough to salvage a point.