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1 April 2017

Bristol Rovers 2-0 Shrewsbury Town

Attendance: 9,498 (497 away)

Billy Bodin scored two second-half goals to help Rovers overcome a stubborn Shrewsbury Town at the Mem. The winger scored from the spot just ten minutes after the break, with Bodin firing home his 11th goal of the season with a fine individual goal inside the final ten minutes to secure the victory for the home side.

Heading into the game Rovers made three changes to the side that were defeated at Coventry City last weekend, with the trio of Daniel Leadbitter, Cristian Montano and Ryan Sweeney returning to the starting eleven for the visit of Shrewsbury Town to the Memorial Stadium.

The visitors made two changes for the fixture, with Alex Rodman and Ryan Yates being brought into the starting line-up by manager Paul Hurst, as the in-form Tyler Roberts was given the task of leading the line for the Shrews.

Rovers were quick to show their attacking intent inside the opening minutes at the Mem, and after a spell of early possession, a teasing ball into the far-post by Chris Lines pinballed around the area before dropping for Tom Lockyer, with the  defender firing an effort on goal that required goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler to be alert to push Lockyer's effort away from close range.

Although Rovers looked comfortable in possession in the final third, they also had to be alert in defence, with youngster Tyler Roberts latching onto a long ball forward and was able to knock the ball past the advancing Joe Lumley before picking out Louis Dodds, who side-footed the ball towards goal, but his effort was cleared off the line by the covering Ryan Sweeney, who had recovered to get himself in perfect position to protect the unattended Rovers goal.

After a demonstration of some neat footwork by Billy Bodin on the edge of the Shrewsbury area, the winger was able to lay-off a pass to Ollie Clarke, who had a clear path to goal from twenty yards. The midfielder connected sweetly with his left-footed attempt, but Leutwiler was able to get his body behind the ball to take the sting out of Clarke's effort and was able to gather the ball comfortably.

In the remaining fifteen minutes of the first-half chances were few and far between, with Rovers losing Ollie Clarke to injury in the ten minutes leading up to the break, as the midfielder took a series of heavy knocks during the opening forty-five minutes. The visitors were reduced to ten men just minutes before half-time, as Ryan Yates was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on goalkeeper Joe Lumley, who had beaten the Shrewsbury winger to claiming a loose ball inside the Rovers area. 

In the interval, Shrewsbury made a double change in reaction to Yates' dismissal, with Dodds and Roberts making way for the introduction of Stephen Humphrys and Bryn Morris.

Rovers managed to find a way through the stubborn Shrewsbury defence nine minutes into the second half, as a chipped ball into the area from Cristian Montano ran through to Billy Bodin, with the winger being bundled down inside the box by Aristote Nsiala. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and the winger calmly dispatched the penalty, sending a powerful effort into the bottom left corner of the goal, which was well out of the reach of the diving Leutwiler, who had guessed the right way but was unable to get a hand to Bodin's attempt.

Following the goal, the visitors still looked to frustrate Rovers by deploying men behind the ball in order to make themselves difficult to break down. Billy Bodin managed to create an opening for himself, with his trademark stepovers creating an opening to get a shot away from inside the area, but the winger's effort took a deflection that carried it past the left-hand post. 

Rovers tested Leutwiler again moments after Bodin's effort, as Lee Brown took advantage of space inside the Shrewsbury area to direct a powerful volley on goal with his right foot that had to be pushed away from danger by the Shrewsbury 'keeper.

With just under ten minutes left in the game, a driven cross from Daniel Leadbitter picked out Stuart Sinclair, with the midfielder taking a touch before shooting on goal, but his effort was at a comfortable height for Leutwiler to claim. 

Rovers secured the victory when Billy Bodin produced a fine piece of individual skill inside the box, as the winger used a neat turn of direction to evade the challenges of two defenders before calmly slotting the ball side-footed into the far corner, to confirm the three points for the home side.

Next up for Rovers is a trip to face AFC Wimbledon next Saturday in SkyBet League One.

Rovers: Joe Lumley (G), Daniel Leadbitter, Ryan Sweeney, Tom Lockyer (C), Cristian Montano (70' Byron Moore), Billy Bodin, Chris Lines, Ollie Clarke (35' Stuart Sinclair), Luke James (83' Jermaine Easter), Rory Gaffney

Subs: Steve Mildenhall (G), Ellis Harrison, James Clarke, Jermaine Easter,  Jake Clarke-Salter.

Shrewsbury Town: Jayson Leutwiler (G), Joe Riley, Mat Sadler (C), Shaun Whalley (77' Stefan Payne), Louis Dodds (45' Stephen Humphrys), Ryan Yates, Gary Deegan, Aristote Nsiala, Alex Rodman, Tyler Roberts (45' Byrn Morris).

Subs: Mark Halstead (G), Dom Smith, Freddie Ladapo, Adam El-Abd.

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