James Connolly: On another day we score goals and win against Bolton


For James Connolly, defeat to Bolton Wanderers came down to the finest of margins. 

It was just millimeters between Chris Martin’s header crossing the line and putting Bristol Rovers in front just 30 seconds into the second half. It was just the slightest of touches that allowed the visitors to pounce and take the lead, through former Rovers player Aaron Collins, not long after. 

With the Gas chasing what would have been a merited equaliser, Bolton’s second goal came late on in added time, from the penalty spot. Another fine margin, given Connor Taylor’s tackle.

Despite the loss, defender Connolly can see a lot of reasons to be pleased with the performance.

“I think it was a good performance in general,” he said. “In the first half, we were very good. It was going exactly how we wanted it to go. We came out for the second half and we were flying, and had a few chances, and on another day we get a couple of goals there and can go on to win the game. 

“On the whole, I think we kept them quiet. We made a bit of a mistake for the first goal, but on another day I really think we walk away with the win.”




Matt Taylor’s side were, as the centre-back said, in control for much of the first half. Four efforts in quick succession early in the second could have seen Rovers take a deserved lead. But it was not to be.

“I think we’re a little low on confidence at the moment and it showed in this game. I’m not sure just how we’re not finding the net right now. Watching us lately, we’re doing good things, but we’re not finding the goals for whatever reason.

“We need to keep plugging away. We are working hard on the training pitch and we have quality in the team, so hopefully the goals will come soon.”

For Connolly, Saturday’s fixture was his seventh Sky Bet League One outing of the season, with the 22-year-old continuing his development after a loan spell with League Two side Morecambe.

The Weshman is relishing his opportunities and hopes to keep impressing in the Rovers shirt.




“It was good to come in against a good team like Bolton Wanderers,” he said. “ When called upon, you’ve got to come in and play at the highest possible level that you can. It’s tough but I think we, as a team, performed well. We’ve got good players here and it’s easy to slot in alongside good players.

“Personally now, I want to just play as much as possible. I want to get a run in the team and build on my performance. As a team, we want to win as many games as we can. We want to perform like we did against Bolton. If we perform like that then we’ll beat teams.”

Another home game - a third in succession - awaits Connolly and his Rovers teammates on Tuesday. Reading make the trip to The Memorial Stadium and the defender is eager to repay the passion and energy shown by the loyal home support.

“The crowd here always stay with us,” Connolly added. “I’ve been here a long time and I know what the Gasheads are like, and I’m one of them myself.

“I appreciate it’s been tough but we know they’re sticking with us. I’m sure we’ll be bringing wins and good times again soon.”

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