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Club News


24 February 2015

Bristol Rovers 2-1 Braintree Town

Rovers made it four wins in a row after beating Braintree Town 2-1 at the Memorial Stadium.

Ellis Harrison's last gasp winner secured all three points through Darrell Clarke's men after Simeon Akinola leveled the game following Matty Taylor's first half penalty.

Darrell Clarke made his first change to the starting 11 in three games bringing in Jake Gosling at he expense of on loan winger Adam Dawson for "purely tactical reasons".

It was a slow start under the lights at the Mem and it took quick feet from Nathan Blissett to earn Rovers their first corner of the game. Jake Gosling fired the corner in from the right hand side across the six-yard box but no-one could provide that vital touch to put the ball in the back of the net.

Tonight's visitors were restricted to rare long efforts and Bernard Mensah tried his luck from 30-yards but his thunderbolt sailed over the crossbar with Steve Mildenhall rooted to the spot.

Braintree grew into the game and crafted a superb opportunity for Dan Sparkes on the edge of the Rovers penalty area but the Iron wide man was denied by a fantastic save from Steve Mildenhall.

Rovers were awarded a penalty on the half hour mark as Matty Taylor was pulled down in the penalty area by Matt Paine. Referee Dean Treleaven had no choice but to show Paine a straight red card.

Matty Taylor dusted himself off and struck the penalty with power towards the bottom right corner of the goal, Nick Hamann managed to get a hand to it but the power of the strike sent the ball past him.

Braintree drew level with five minutes of the half to go as Rovers carelessly gave the ball away on the edge of their own penalty area and Simeon Akinola made them pay by striking a fantastic volley past Mildenhall.

The home side went into the break level and at half time Darrell opted for a change in shape bringing on Angelo Balanta to play in the hole in a 3-5-2 formation.

Rovers change in shape allowed Lee Brown some more space down the left hand side and it was his cross deep to the far post that found Nathan Blissett who guided a header goalward before Alan Massey cleared the ball off the line.

Moments later at the other end of the field Simeon Akinola raced onto a long through ball but Steve Mildenhall was equal to his chipped effort pushing it just wide of the post.

With 20 minutes remaining Darrell tried to freshen up the attack bringing on Adam Dawson for Tom Lockyer.

The change almost sparked a Rovers goal as the Leicester City wide man skilled his man and got himself down to the byline and put in a decent cross across the face of the goal. Matty Taylor appeared to be pushed in the centre of the goal but the ball reached Ellis Harrison on the far post but the young Welshman couldn't guide the ball into the net.

Rovers continued to pressure the 10-men of Braintree and a foul on Adam Dawson by Sam Habergham gifted Rovers a free kick. Dawson took the free kick which was met in the penalty area by Tom Parkes who forced a smart save from Nick Hamann behind for a corner. From the resulting corner, Dawson swung the ball to the near post and Mansell this time got his head on the ball but his stooping header didn't hit the target.

Pressure was mounting on the Iron and with just over 5 minutes of the 90 remaining superb link-up play from Harrison and Taylor crafted an opportunity for Harrison and the substitute made no mistake casually sliding the ball between the legs of Hamann.

This evenings win sends Rovers to the top of the Vanarama Conference table, sitting two points above long standing leaders Barnet and up next for Rovers is the long trip to Gateshead before entertaining Play-Off hopefuls Eastleigh at the Memorial Stadium in early March.

Rovers: Mildenhall, Leadbitter, McChrystal (C), Parkes, Brown, Gosling (Balanta - 45), Lockyer (Dawson - 71),  Mansell, Monkhouse, Taylor, Blissett (Harrison - 60).

Unused Substitutes: Puddy (GK), Wakefield.

Braintree: Hamann, Brundle, Habergham, Isaac, Paine, Massey, Davis (C), Markes, Sparkes, Akinola (Maybanks - 90), Mensah (Mulley - 81).

Unused Substitutes: Pentney (GK), Pullen, Moore.

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