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14 October 2023 Venue The Eco-Power Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 4 Sutton United 1

14 October 2023

Rovers coasted to a 4-1 win over Sutton United for a third straight league triumph at the Eco-Power Stadium.

Joe Ironside scored twice with Zain Westbrooke and Mo Faal also on target in a comfortable victory that was only blighted with Harry Smith’s consolation for Sutton with the last act of the game.

Rovers were in control of proceedings for the vast majority of the game and fully deserving of the handsome scoreline, with dominance of possession and attacking play in a fine team performance.

Grant McCann named the same starting XI from the trip to Stockport County a week prior while youngsters Will Flint and Tavonga Kuleya came onto the bench.

The eventual comfort Rovers would feel could hardly have been telegraphed in the opening minutes as Sutton’s mid block ensured there was very little space for McCann’s side to operate in.

But the opening goal on 17 minutes would tip the balance of the game firmly in Rovers’ favour.

Faal darted towards a loose ball in the box and was brought down by Craig Clay, with referee Declan Bourne showing no hesitation in awarding the penalty. Ironside fired into the top corner from the spot to give Rovers the lead.

Luke Molyneux was millimetres away from doubling the advantage midway through the half when he cut inside off the right and curled narrowly wide of the far post.

Clear cut chances for the visitors were few and far between but Louis Jones was more than equal to their best effort of the first half. Smith chested down a superb long diagonal ball from Omar Suwunmi and tried to touch the ball past the Rovers keeper, only for Jones to make an excellent save on the stretch.

Ben Close slid a brilliant ball through for Tommy Rowe, who lashed in a shot on the angle, only to see the flag raised for offside.

Rovers continued to push and Molyneux drilled a brilliant ball across the face of the six yards box that was begging to be turned home but missed by all in red and white.

Aiden O’Brien hooked a shot wide on the turn in a rare moment of threat from Sutton before the break.

The visitors emerged with renewed energy and a stronger press in the the second half.

But Rovers continued to look the more dangerous and Tom Nixon drew a smart save from Dean Bouzanis with a curling effort from the edge of the box.

Rovers found the second on 53 minutes. Owen Bailey curled a dangerous ball into the box which Ironside flicked on with a header beyond Bouzanis.

Rowe was forced off with a shoulder injury after a collision, with Harrison Biggins returning to action off the bench.

And the advantage was stretched on 63 minutes. Westbrooke drilled a shot off the upright after running onto a lay-off from Ironside but reacted quickest to rifle home the follow-up from 15 yards.

Four minutes later the icing was put on the cake. Molyneux cut inside and fed a pass into Faal, whose touch at the near post caught Bouzanis off guard and took the ball into the back of the net.

Rovers were in full control following the fourth goal, and looked the more likely to add another, without peppering the Sutton goal.

But it would be the visitors who would have the final say in the game - coming deep into nine minutes of added time. Josh Coley flicked a header on from a cross with Smith nodding in.

Rovers: Jones, Olowu, Anderson, Bailey, Nixon, Close (Kuleya 85), Westbrooke (Broadbent 80), Rowe (Biggins 60), Molyneux, Faal (Goodman 81), Ironside. Subs not used: Lawlor, Sotona, Flint.

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