It’s a long journey south to Bournemouth this weekend for Rovers as we look to maintain top spot in League One.
Eddie Howe’s side just have the nod overall against us but this weekend could see us equal the overall head to head win record with victory at the Goldsands Stadium.
Our last trip to the home of the Cherries was a fruitful one as we walked away with victory to leave Bournemouth in second place in February 2008 on our way to eventual promotion at the expense of Leeds United in the Playoff final.
Heading into the match Rovers were full of confidence as they had just come off the back of three straight victories without conceding one goal and the game couldn’t have started any better as Jason Price put the visitors ahead after just 56 seconds of the game. Gareth Roberts made a purposeful run down the left flank and swung over a teasing cross and Price leapt to head powerfully home past Gareth Stewart.
Rovers’ lead was almost doubled with 20 minutes after a superb move between James O Connor and Price who back heeled the ball to Brian Stock but the former Cherries midfielder was unable to hit the net from inside the box. The home side were edgy and the game was certainly full blooded as home midfielder Shaun Cooper was booked for pushing James Coppinger. Marvin Bartley appealed for a penalty after being brought down in the box by Matt Mills but it fell on deaf ears and their frustration was no more evident when the previously cautioned Cooper was dismissed for getting involved in a 15 man fracas on the half way line with five minutes of the first half remaining.
The home side was forced into a reshuffle and it meant Sam Vokes playing up front on his own and being limited into trying to hit Rovers on the break but all their efforts were put to bed when Price doubled the visitors lead with twenty minutes left.
Richie Wellens played a lovely slide rule ball through to the striker who gave ‘keeper Stewart no chance, finishing into the bottom corner. As Rovers relaxed a little the home side had a couple of chances late in the day but Neil Sullivan saved well from Jo Kuffour before Vokes twice whistled efforts just wide of the mark but had the home side got anything from the game it would have been cruel on Rovers who more than deserved to take all three points.