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Bristol Rovers 0 Rovers 4

8 December 2018

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Rovers moved into the play-off positions after an impressive victory at Bristol Rovers.

Two goals from Mallik Wilks, along with efforts from John Marquis and Tom Anderson secured what was a comfortable victory at the Memorial Stadium.

Manager Grant McCann handed a first league start to Shaun Cummings, who replaced the injured Niall Mason, while Wilks and Ali Crawford also came into the side.

With heavy rain and strong wind the conditions did not make life easy for the players, but it was an open start to the game.

A Wilks cross was just too far ahead of James Coppinger, while Stefan Payne's cross was also too high for Tom Nicholls for the home side.

Rovers went ahead after nine minutes through a Marquis stunner. With the win behind their back there was a clear tactic from Rovers to shoot from distance,

That paid off when Rovers' No.9 cut inside form the left, before unleashing a right-footed effort which looked destined for the top far corner from the moment it left his boot.

The Pirates did not roll over, with Clarke smashing an effort off a post three minutes later and Ian Lawlor turning away efforts from Liam Sercombe and Payne.

But the visitors created the best chances, with Marquis firing an effort straight at the home keeper Jack Bonham and Herbie Kane and Coppinger both seeing shots from distance go over.

Bonham pulled off good stats from Ben Whiteman and Wilks on the half-hour mark before the second goal came just ahead of the interval.

Marquis' headed effort looped back off the underside of the crossbar, and on-loan man Wilks reacted quickest to ensure the ball ended in the back of the net.

The Pirates needed an early goal in the second period to have any chance of getting back into the game, but the decisive third strike of the match went the way of the visitors after 54 minutes.

A free-kick out on the left was played short by Coppinger to Kane, who twisted and turned to create the space to cross for Anderson who head in his first goal of the season.

It was 4-0 six minutes later when Rovers countered with incision. Crawford brought the ball out from his own area and fed Coppinger, who timed his pass for Wilks to perfection - and the forward took on his man before finishing smartly through the legs of Bonham.

The home side knew the game was up at this point, and although they looked inventive in the middle of the field did not force Lawlor into too much work before the match was up.

Rovers captain Tommy Rowe, afforded the luxury of watching most of the match off the bench as he continues his return from a hamstring injury, was introduced for the final 20 minutes.

Alfie May and Paul Taylor also came on as manager McCann pushed for more goals, and took the opportunity to rest those who had put in a good shift and will be needed over the busy festive period.

Rowe and Marquis both threatened to make it 5-0, but the visitors' dominant start to the second period had ruled out any chance of a home fightback and ensured it would be a more enjoyable trip back up the M1.

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