Martin nets late to secure Cambridge win

Bristol Rovers 1-0 Cambridge United
Sky Bet League One, The Memorial Stadium, Tuesday 16 April 


Chris Martin struck a late winner as Bristol Rovers battled to a hard-fought 1-0 over Cambridge United.

The No18 was in the right place to tuck home goal number 16 of the season from around ten yards on 87 minutes, confidently slotting in from Luke Thomas’ brilliant cross. 

Such a finish was just as much a relief for Martin as much as anything, who had seen Cambridge goalkeeper Will Mannion save his first-half penalty after Scott Sinclair was fouled in the box. 

Cambridge, meanwhile, hit the woodwork via a wicked deflection in the second half, but saw their opportunities largely limited at The Mem.

The Memorial Stadium played host to a beautiful spring evening and it was nearly a beautiful finish for the Gas inside three minutes; Antony Evans’ effort from the edge of the area was narrowly wide. 

Rovers football was free-flowing at times, with a superb team move on 13 minutes almost seeing the opener. Scott Sinclair burst down the left flank and pulled back for Luke Thomas, who skewed his shot just wide. 

Cambridge’s best efforts came from set-pieces, with the visitors twice troubling the hosts from corners. Captain Paul Digby’s header was expertly denied on the line by the returning Jed Ward, before Macaulay Bonne sent his own header over from close range. 

More trickery from Sinclair was met with a foul inside the area, leading to referee Daniel Middleton pointing to the spot. Penalty to the home side. 

Up stepped leading goalscorer Martin from 12 yards, and the striker tried to find the bottom right corner. But goalkeeper Will Mannion read the forward’s efforts, getting down low to deny Rovers the opener.

Level at the interval, the Gas came out for the second half looking to put pressure on the visitors. Another good move forward put Thomas in space, but the No11’s effort was scuffed into the ground.

On the hour mark, Cambridge once again threatened from a set-piece; this time a deep free-kick. The ball into the area caused havoc, striking a Cambridge attacker and ricocheting onto the cross-bar. A let off for the hosts. 

Manager Matt Taylor introduced fresh legs into his side in the form of Kamil Conteh, Harry Vaughan, James Connolly and Jevani Brown, and the latter went close late on. His narrow effort was almost squeezed in at the near post, forcing a smart save.

But there was still time for a winning goal, with the team’s leading goalscorer finding redemption for his missed penalty with a well-taken finish late on.

Evans found Thomas with a sensational ball, who put it back into the box for the experienced Martin to strike.


Bristol Rovers: Ward, Hoole, Taylor, Baggott (Connolly 64), Vale, Rossiter (Conteh 50), Evans ©, Aguilera (Brown 73), Sinclair (Vaughan 64), Thomas, Martin

Subs not used: Cox, Gordon, McCormick

Goal: Martin 87


Cambridge United: Wannion, Bennett, Andrew, Digby ©, Brophy, Kaikai (Lankester 75), Ibsen Rossi, May (Hoddle 81), Kachunga, Bonne (Ahadme 63), Jobe

Subs not used: Chadwick, Bennett, Okenabirhie, Okedina


Referee: Daniel Middleton
Attendance: 6,526

Read Time: 3 mins