01.01.23 Match Report - Rovers v Cheltenham Town

A winning start to 2023 for Rovers!

Two first-half strikes from Aaron Collins and Josh Coburn ensured all three points for Rovers on New Year's Day.

Joey Barton made three changes to the side that started our last game against Exeter City. In came Scott Sinclair, James Connolly and Harry Anderson with Luca Hoole, Ryan Loft and Lewis Gordon. 

Prior to kick-off, there was a minute's applause for Brazil and football legend Pele who sadly passed away on Thursday evening at the age of 82.


The first clear chance of the tie fell to Sam Finley after Harry Anderson had done well to pick out his run on the edge of the box. Finley hit his shot first time but couldn't keep his effort on target. Rovers opened the scoring on the 25-minute mark. A delicious through ball from Sam Finley played in Aaron Collins, who took a touch and calmly slotted the ball past Luke Southwood to put the Gas one to the good.


The Gas doubled their lead shortly before the half-time interval. Collins played a reverse pass into the path of Josh Coburn on the right. His low shot squirmed under Southwood, who was not able to get enough on the strike much to the delight of the 9,649 Gasheads in attendance.


Coburn had the ball in the back of the net yet again shortly before the half-time interval. The Rovers striker was adjudged to be offside and the goal was ruled out. 

Cheltenham looked to respond following their most recent setback. Former Rovers captain, Liam Sercombe unleashed a venomous effort from 25-yards-out which crashed against the post to keep Belshaw's clean-sheet intact.

Cheltenham had their goal shortly after the restart. A lapse in concentration from James Connolly presented Alfie May with a glorious opportunity which he did not squander, firing hard and high past Belshaw and had the visitors within one goal of Rovers.

Rovers were forced into an early second-half change after Lewis Gibson was forced off through an injury. On came Luca Hoole to slot in at the back for Rovers. An injury to Cheltenham's Lewis Freestone saw the defender stretched off the pitch. As a result of the lengthy break in play, nine added minutes were shown by the fourth official.

Buoyed by the nine additional minutes, Cheltenham started to throw everything at Rovers in search of the equaliser. Rovers were able to weather the storm however and claimed all three points to start 2023 in the best possible way.


Rovers are next in action on Saturday, 7th January against Cambridge United (3pm KO).

Rovers: James Belshaw, James Connolly, Sam Finley, Scott Sinclair, Aaron Collins, Paul Coutts (c), Lewis Gibson, Harry Anderson, Antony Evans, Bobby Thomas, Josh Coburn.

Subs: Anssi Jaakkola, John Marquis, Ryan Loft, James Gibbons, Glenn Whelan, Luke McCormick, Luca Hoole.

Cheltenham Town: Luke Southwood, Ryan Broom, Sean Long (c), Caleb Taylor, Lewis Freestone, Ben Williams, Taylor Perry, Liam Sercombe, James Olayinka, Dan Nlundulu, Alfie May.

Subs: Shaun Macdonald, Tom Bradbury, Will Ferry, Charlie Brown, Elliot Bonds, Christian Norton, Ryan Jackson.

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 9,649 

Read Time: 3 mins