Rovers earn superb Cheltenham Town win

Cheltenham Town 1-3 Bristol Rovers
Sky Bet League One, The Completely-Suzuki Stadium, Saturday 13 April 

Bristol Rovers returned to goalscoring form and winning ways in emphatic style, securing a fantastic 3-0 win away to Cheltenham Town. 

Scott Sinclair’s composed finish gave the Gas an early advantage at The Completely-Suzuki Stadium, and Rovers could have been two goals up at the interval only for Antony Evans to see his penalty saved by Luke Southwood. 

Substitute Brandon Aguilera would double the lead early in the second half with a well-taken strike before Elkan Baggott deservingly grabbed a third with a brilliant header from a Harvey Vale corner, meaning Liam Sercombe's finish for the hosts late on was merely a consolation.

Manager Matt Taylor made eight changes to his starting XI for Saturday’s fixture and one of them, the returning Baggott, was not far away from giving the Gas a seventh-minute lead, going close to meeting Antony Evans’ whipped free-kick for a simple finish. 

Having gone seven games without a goal, it was Rovers No7 that broke the deadlock at the end of a swift counter-attacking move. Chris Martin’s brilliant hold up play found Thomas, who played an excellent ball into the sprinting Sinclair. The experienced attacker maintained his composure to slot in at the near post.

Both teams were forced into first-half substitutions, with Brandon Aguilera coming on for Grant Ward for the away side, before Cheltenham went close with a smart free-kick routine. George Lloyd was on the end of the move but could only turn his close-ranged shot wide.




Sinclair went close to a second, almost scrambling in from a corner, before the Gas had a huge opportunity to double their advantage. Midfielder Evans was brought down in the box by goalkeeper Luke Southwaood, resulting in a penalty.

Evans himself stepped up, sending his shot low to his left, but Southwood read the effort and made a good save to deny the No21.

Eight minutes of added time were put at the end of the first half, and Cheltenham went close to levelling the game right before the interval. Gas goalkeeper Matt Cox did superbly well to hold George Lloyd’s header from six yards out.

Buoyed by their brilliant showing in the first half, the Gas set out to maintain the pressure in the second. Sinclair went close for his second, firing just over the bar from inside the area on 53 minutes. 

But Rovers would keep pushing  and, shooting towards the travelling Gasheads, found the second on 56 minutes. Thomas was involved again, pulling a ball back for Aguilera to stride onto, with the Costa Rican confidently finishing with his left foot into the bottom corner. 




Centre-back Baggott had impressed throughout the fixture and almost added a third not long after, seeing a header strike the woodwork, but the defender would not be denied. 

With 13 minutes to play, the Indonesian international got his deserved goal, superbly heading home Harvey Vale’s corner to extend the Gas’ lead to three goals. 

Cheltenham would find a consolation finish as substitute Sercombe slotted in after four minutes of added time at the end of the second half, but Rovers had done more than enough to merit all three points. 

Cheltenham Town: Southwood, Long ©, Smith (Sercombe 62), KInsella, Keena (Thomas 62), Shepherd, Ferry, Lloyd (Nuttall 46), Bonds, Davies, Pett (Harrop 18) (Taylor 46)
Subs not used: Pardington (GK), Olayinka
Goals: Sercombe 90+4
Booked: Smith, Pett


Bristol Rovers: Cox, Hunt, Wilson (Taylor 83), Baggott, Vale, Ward (Aguilera 22), Evans ©, Rossiter (Conteh 51), Sinclair, Thomas, Martin
Subs not used: Ward (GK), Hoole, Gordon, McCormick
Goals: Sinclair 12, Aguilera 56, Baggott 77
Booked: Hunt

Referee: Paul Howard

Read Time: 3 mins