12.11.22 Match Report - Rovers v Fleetwood Town

Rovers were denied all three points as a late equaliser for Fleetwood Town deep into stoppage time forced a 2-2 draw.

After progression in the FA Cup, Rovers returned to league action as Barton made two changes to the side against Rochdale. Lewis Gibson came in for James Connolly and Josh Coburn replaced Luke McCormick.

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Ahead of kick-off, there was an impeccably-observed Remembrance silence.

The first key moment of the first-half arrived with eight minutes on the clock as a long punt forward from visiting goalkeeper Jay Lynch could have caused danger at the back for Rovers, but James Belshaw was alive to the danger to come off his line and head the ball away.

For the away side, Carlos Mendes Gomes then showed a nice touch to take the ball around the corner and take the ball past the Gas backline, but captain Sam Finley made a key intervention.

Fleetwood took an early lead with less than a quarter of an hour played when the Gas failed to deal with a cross from the left wing. The ball eventually dropped to Shaun Rooney at the back post who clinically converted past Belshaw into the bottom corner.

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Rovers looked to hit back and Coburn did well to win a free kick that Antony Evans stepped up to take and forced a corner, although the Gas could not capitalise on it as Fleetwood cleared their lines. Goalscorer Rooney then won a free kick on the edge of the box. Danny Andrew curled an effort on target but it didn’t trouble Belshaw as the Rovers goalkeeper made a comfortable save.

The Gas then came forward when Collins twisted and turned and played a pass inside to Jordan Rossiter. Rossiter then curled a shot that Lynch acrobatically tipped away. The best chance for Rovers before the interval was when a free kick from Evans was whipped into the box and found the free head of Gibson, but he headed over from the edge of the six-yard area as the away side took a slender advantage into the break.

Rovers started the second half on the front foot and could have levelled the scores three minutes in. Collins was played through and his shot went narrowly wide of Lynch’s far post. Collins and Coburn were combining well as the former looked to slide in the latter but his pass was just overhit and Lynch gathered.

Just before the hour mark, the scores were level and it was those two again at the heart of it. The Gas broke downfield on the counter-attack and Collins burst down the left flank before curling in an inch-perfect cross for Coburn to fire home from close range.

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The momentum had definitely swung in favour of Rovers as the Fleetwood backline came under a sustained period of pressure. Collins nearly made it two minutes later but his lob over the onrushing Lynch agonizingly landed on top of the net.

The Rovers’ number 10 then robbed the ball high up the pitch and slipped Coburn in behind but he couldn’t find the target from inside the box.

With just under ten minutes to play the pressure eventually told as the Gas took the lead for the first time in the afternoon. Collins rose highest in the box to head past Lynch and at last the Rovers had the lead.

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Rovers manager Joey Barton was sent off late on in a feisty end to the game.

With the clock in injury time, Fleetwood won a free kick. The away side launched the ball long and eventually worked it out wide. The ball was then crossed into the box where Rooney headed into the corner to deny Rovers all three points at the death.

Next up for Rovers is the challenge of Peterborough United at The Mem on Saturday 19th November (3pm).

ROVERS: Belshaw, Gordon, Thomas, Gibson, Gibbons, Finley (C), Rossiter, Evans, Collins, Coburn, Sinclair.

Substitutes: Jaakkola, Connolly, Marquis, Clarke, Saunders, McCormick, Hoole.

FLEETWOOD TOWN: Lynch, Andrew, Sarpong-Wiredu, Mendes Gomes, Vela (C), Morton, Warrington, Nsiala, Rooney, Earl, Baker

Substitutes: Stolarczyk, Lane, Garner, Holgate, Garner, Omochere, Batty

Referee: Robert Madden

Attendance: 8,829 (210 visiting fans)

Read Time: 4 mins