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12 March 2016

Bristol Rovers 1-0 Mansfield Town

Attendance: 7,847 (241)

Rovers recorded their fourth win in a row with a 1-0 win against Mansfield Town at the Memorial Stadium.

Matty Taylor's 20th goal of the season was enough to secure all three points for Rovers and give Darrell Clarke his 50th win at the club.

Darrell Clarke was celebrating his 100th game in charge of Rovers this afternoon and the Rovers boss made three changes to the side that beat AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night bringing Mark McChrystal, Billy Bodin and Cristian Montano into the starting 11 at the expense of Tom Parkes, Daniel Leadbitter and Ollie Clarke.

Rovers started the game confidently dominating possession for large spells of the opening 15 minutes but failed to test Scott Shearer in the Stags goal.

Cristian Montano was back in the starting 11 and it was him and Lee Brown who caused Mansfield right back Daniel Alfei all sorts of trouble in the initial exchanges as both players saw goal bound shots blocked in the opening  10 minutes.

Montano continued to influence the game and it was his pin-point pass that found the feet of Jermaine Easter inside the penalty area. The Welshman spun his man well but Ryan Tafozoli recovered before Easter could pull the trigger.

The home side enjoyed spells of possession for the entirety of the first half but failed to create a chance until the stroke of half time.

Matty Taylor whipped in a lovely cross from the Rovers right, Scott Shearer came out to punch the ball but failed to get it to safety. Lee Mansell recovered the ball inside the penalty area before squaring the ball to Billy Bodin who failed to hit the target with his shot.

Rovers looked much more of an attacking threat in the second half and had early opportunities to take the lead. Initially Cristian Montano fired a low shot into the hands of Scott Shearer before Lee Mansell thundered a volley wide of the goal.

After missing Tuesday's win against AFC Wimbledon will an illness, Billy Bodin was back in the side and forced the first save from either keeper five minutes into the second half. Tom Lockyer was able to pick out a good run from Jermaine Easter who took the ball well on his chest before finding Bodin who cut inside on his favoured left foot but Shearer was equal to the effort.

It took almost an hour for Mansfield to have their first effort at goal as Mitchell Rose was able to find Reggie Lambe in the penalty area but the former Rovers man lashed his shot well over Steve Mildenhall's crossbar.

However, moments later Matty Taylor scored his 20th goal of the season to give Rovers the lead.

Chris Lines fired a searching diagonal ball into the penalty area which found Cristian Montano who sprung the offside trap before drilling a low cross along the six-yard area where Matty Taylor was on hand to stroke the ball into an empty net.

Both sides exchanged spells of possession after the goal with Rovers looking promising down the left hand side but it was the Stags that had the better of the chances as Matt Green fired just wide of the Rovers goal.

Darrell Clarke opted to freshen things up bringing on Oliver McBurnie and Ollie Clarke as his side looked to close out the game and give the manager his 50th win in charge of the club.

Up next for Rovers is the trip across the severn to take on Newport County before hosting Cambridge United at the Memorial Stadium on Good Friday. 

Rovers: Mildenhall; J. Clarke, Lockyer, McChrystal (C), Brown; Bodin, Mansell, Lines (O. Clarke - 83), Montano; Taylor (Harrison - 87), Easter (McBurnie - 62). 

Unused Substitutes: Puddy (GK), Leadbitter, Parkes, Broom.

Mansfield: Shearer; Benning, Rose (Thomas - 88), Pearce, Collins (C), Clements, Green, Tafozoli, Blair (Daniel - 54), Lambe (Beardsley - 64), Alfei.

Unused Substitutes: Jenson (GK), Chapman, McGuire, Baxendale.

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