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Club News

Bristol R 0 Rovers 1

23 December 2017

Niall Mason’s confident penalty finish gave Rovers a festive boost with three points at Bristol Rovers.

Mason’s penalty, combined with some good second-half stops from Ian Lawlor, were enough to seal 1-0 victory.

Rovers switched to a back three, with Mathieu Baudry coming back into the line-up alongside Andy Butler and Joe Wright.

Rovers probed in the opening moments, with Tyler Garratt and Tommy Rowe enjoying some early success down the right.

But the first chance came when Rovers switched the ball quickly to the right, with Marquis finding Niall Mason before getting on the head of his cross - just glancing his header over the bar.

The home side were content to wait and look to pick their chances to attack, with an Ellis Harrison header after 12 minutes their first chance - though he had no direction on his final effort.

It was a really scrappy affair, though Rovers enjoyed plenty of possession, Alfie Beestin and Tommy Rowe caused some consternation as they tried to fashion a chance in the area through brute force - with referee Dean Whitestone eventually penalising the visitors for a foul.

The home side should have managed a shot on goal just after 20 minutes when Billy Bodin snatched the ball on the left and got into the area - Jordan Houghton was on hand to cut out the pull-back.

Bodin was the Pirates’ main threat, with Ian Lawlor called upon to acrobatically turn the ball over from him after he got on the end of a corner - Bristol Rovers forced several corner kicks in quick succession on the 25-minute mark.

Rovers took the lead just after the hour mark, when Rowe forced his way into the area and was brought down by Ryan Sweeney.

Mason was the surprise choice to take the spot-kick, which he calmly converted with a high central finish.

There were no changes at the break, with Rovers looking to press early on - Beestin and Marquis were particularly effective at causing panic in the home defence.

But Lawlor was needed to maintain Rovers’ advantage, stopping two Rory Gaffney drives and getting his hands to a shot from Brown.

Darren Ferguson made a couple of changes as the game entered the final 20 minutes, with Ben Whiteman and Alfie May coming off the bench in place of Kongolo and Beestin.

And, as the game became stretched in the closing stages, Rovers looked the most likely to extend their lead.

Whiteman had a low shot saved - and well held - by Smith, while May had an effort deflected wide for a corner.

The home side had a great chance to draw level when they won a central free-kick just outside the area.
Bodin stepped up to try and curl an effort into the far corner, but Lawlor was equal to it with a great diving save.

The ball was pulled back into play for Harrison to force it home, but the home side were left frustrated that the ball had gone over the byline for a corner.

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