25.02.23 Match Report - Oxford v Rovers

Rovers return to winning ways at the Kassam!

Joey Barton made six changes to the line-up for the early kick-off at Oxford.

In came Hoole, Coutts and Gordon, whilst Sam Finley returned from suspension, Lewis Gibson came back from injury and James Belshaw made a return between the sticks.

The home side almost got off to a flyer, with the ball striking a post from a first-minute corner. In the 6th minute, Wildschut showed Hoole a clean pair of heels and his low cross was turned narrowly wide by Baldock.

Finley let fly with Rovers' first attempt on 10 minutes, but referee Breakspear - who was in charge for last season's 7-0 promotion-winning game against Scunthorpe - had given handball against him.

In the 16th minute, Baldock raced onto a long ball but didn't get enough purchase on his shot and Belshaw was able to gather. 

The U's striker went off injured in the 20th minute and, just two minutes later, the Gas took the lead. Collins cut inside and shot on target. Eastwood palmed away as far as Bogarde, who was brought down in the area by Brannagan. Scott Sinclair stepped up and safely dispatched his shot, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. 

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Rovers doubled their lead in the 28th minute as Sinclair raced away to deliver a perfect low cross for Collins to fire home. 


Marquis almost made it three a minute later, but his low shot was blocked by a scrambling U's defence.

The impressive Bogarde strode forward and almost released Marquis with a pass in the 36th minute. Seconds later, Bate was shown the game's first yellow card for bringing down Finley.

Oxford forced a corner in first-half injury-time, but Coutts rose highest to clear and Breakspear brought the half to an end.

The home side had a great chance to halve the deficit in the 48th minute, but Gibson cleared after O'Donkor shot across the goal. The U's forced a flurry of corners, but the Gas stood firm and good play from Collins almost played in Finley, but the midfielder lost his footing. Up the other end, Joseph dragged a shot wide as the game started to become stretched.

Hoole won a corner in the 53rd minute but the home side cleared and Quansah was forced into a late tackle to prevent an Oxford attack and was duly booked. Brannagan's free-kick and follow-up were both blocked by a resolute Rovers wall.

Quansah was back in the action in the 66th minute, being alert to deflect a dangerous-looking Oxford cross. Good play from Bogarde set Sinclair away on halfway and Brannagan was forced into a poor challenge, bringing him a booking.

Joey Barton made a triple change in the 70th minute, with Evans, Coburn and Ward replacing Bogarde, Coutts and Marquis. Hoole's header from an Evans corner made it three-nil in the 76th minute to send the travelling 1,437 Gasheads into raptures.


Next up for Rovers is a home game against Barnsley in Sky Bet League One on Saturday 4th March, kick-off 3pm.

ROVERS: Belshaw, Gordon, Quansah, Finley, Sinclair (Anderson 75), Marquis (Coburn 70), Collins, Coutts (c) (Ward 70), Gibson (Gibbons), Bogarde (Evans 70), Hoole.

Subs: Balcombe, Coburn, Connolly, Ward, Gibbons, Anderson, Evans.

OXFORD: Eastwood, Long, Findlay, Moore, Brannagan (c), Baldock (O'Donkor 20), Browne, Bate, Brown, Joseph, Wildschut.

Subs: McGinty, Fleming, Henry, Konate, Smyth, Goodrham, O'Donkor

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 8,437 (1,437 away)

Read Time: 3 mins