Rovers come from behind twice but an injury time winner seals victory for Accrington Stanley on the opening day.
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Accrington- 3 (Boco 8’ , Pearson 29’, McConville 91')
Rovers- 2 (Rowe 12’ , Williams 82')
On a scorching first day of the new EFL season, Rovers kicked off their brand new campaign on with a trip to Accrington Stanley upon returning to the fourth tier for the first time since 2004.
It was the day we had all been waiting for following an extremely busy close season for Darren Ferguson. Despite an injury struck pre-season, a strong starting eleven was named with five debutants taking with field, with a further three on the bench.
It was straight into the action for Rovers at the Crown Ground as the hosts were awarded a penalty just 2 minutes into the game. Goalkeeper Aaron Chapman made a dreadful mistake as he clattered Matty Blair from behind in the area, the referee instantly pointed to the spot.
Andy Williams, who scored a penalty in pre-season against Newcastle, stepped up but saw his spot kick saved by Chapman low to his right. Tommy Rowe drilled the follow up at goal but it was blocked by the defender.
Just 5 minutes later the hosts took the lead through Rommy Boco. A lovely chipped ball over the top from Brown found Bocco who was through one on one and he finished well, slipping the ball through the legs of Etheridge.
It took just four minutes however for Rovers to equalise through a wonderful Tommy Rowe effort. Picking the ball up on the left, he played a lovely one-two with Marquis before beating two defenders and drilling the ball into the bottom corner.
Andy Butler went inches away just minutes later as Coppinger delivered a corner into the box, with Butler storming in his header was just over the bar.
On the half hour mark, despite Rovers dominance in possession, Accrington took the lead again. A freak goal, Matty Pearson picked up a loose ball and tried his luck from 30 yards. As the ball bobbled in front of Etheridge he couldn’t keep it out and the hosts were in front.
Williams went close on the stroke of half time as Rowe delivered a good cross into the area, Williams got his head on it but his effort was just wide.
HALF TIME: Accrington 2-1 Rovers
There was much less to talk about in the second half, or so we thought. Tommy Rowe had another excellent chance as Marquis beat his defenders before squaring the ball to our number 10. Side footing his effort at goal, it was saved by Chapman.
The visitors enjoyed plenty of possession but struggled when it got to the final third.
Accrington almost made it 3 as McConville got on the end of a good cross at the far post but his header into the ground bounced back off the woodwork.
With time running out Rovers pushed forward. Rowe again was at the heart of it, he set up Marquis but again his first time shot was saved by Chapman.
Despite making a couple of good saves, the Accrington goalkeeper had another shocker as he allowed Andy Williams to score on 82 minutes. Good work from Mandeville down the left allowed him to cross for Williams whose first time volley was initially saved by Chapman, however he fumbled the ball and it somehow crossed the line.
As momentum was with Darren Ferguson’s side the fourth official announced there would be a further 7 minutes of injury time to play. One minute into the 7, Accrington took the lead and sealed the victory.
Chris Eagles crossed the ball into the box and McConville placed a superb volley past Etheridge who stood no chance.
Accrington Starting XI: Chapman, Pearson, Hughes, Beckles, Clark (Eagles 74’), Brown, Gornell, McConville, Boco (McCartan 71’), Conneely, Donacien (Jones 79’)
Accrington Unused Subs: Davies, Hery, Hewitt, Parish
CAUTIONS: Brown 25’, Donacien 51’
Rovers Starting XI: Etheridge, Butler, Mason, Lund, Blair, Coppinger © (Middleton 66’), Rowe, Houghton (Mandeville 74'), Calder (Evina 66’), Williams, Marquis
Rovers Unused Subs: Marosi, Wright, Garratt, Beestin
CAUTION: Calder 43’, Mandeville 84’)
Attendance: 2,647 (1240)