Niall Ennis and Jon Taylor scored their first goals for Rovers to fire the club to victory over Lincoln City and extend the good start to life under new manager Darren Moore.
Moore made just one change to the side who beat Fleetwood Town on the previous weekend with Madger Gomes coming in for the Ben Sheaf. This change also meant there was space on the bench for centre back Shane Blaney.
Danny Cowley made no changes to his Lincoln side who were beaten by MK Dons in the mid-week fixtures.
The first shot of the game came from a free kick after Rovers conceded a foul just outside the box. George Grant tried his luck with a low shot straight at Ian Lawlor in the Rovers goal.
While Lincoln had looked the most dangerous in the opening exchanges it was Rovers who took the lead. Ian Lawlor’s launched ball forward was brought down fantastically by Ennis who shifted it onto his left foot and fired home from 20 yards.
The goal gave Rovers a boost of confidence and the home side started to look more and more threatening. Alfie May’s break down the left gave saw him fire the ball across the face of goal which was cut out by the visiting defence and Kieran Sadlier saw his shot from the edge of the box fly wide.
Lincoln were playing some good football and arguably had most of the possession, but Vickers was certainly the busiest of the two keepers and was called upon again to prevent May’s effort from the edge of the box from going in.
James Coppinger picked the ball up on the wide left after 26 minutes and drove down the wing before crossing towards Ennis. The Wolves loanee tried to guide the ball into the net, but Vickers did enough to push the ball wide for a Rovers corner. Tom Anderson headed just over from the resulting corner kick.
Rovers had to see out some sustained pressure toward the end of the second half with Lincoln pinning the home side in their box. They had a flurry of chances after winning a free kick just outside Rovers box for a foul which saw Gomes pick up the first yellow card of the game. The shot was blocked by the wall out for a corner. That was cleared by Tom Anderson as far as Joe Morrell who pulled his shot some distance left of Lawlor’s goal.
The Imps won corner after corner as Rovers defence blocked shot after shot – the best of which fell to Michael O’Connor in acres of space at the edge of the box but the midfielder pulled his effort wide.
Rovers hit Lincoln on the break with Niall Ennis doing brilliantly to win a corner – Cameron John got good contact on the ball and forced a superb save from Vickers. May would have the last say of the half as he picked up the ball on about halfway and drove toward the goal. A good touch took it away from the defender, but he lashed the ball wide.
Rovers started the second half well, May - who seemed to have a hand in most of Rovers’ attacks – was involved again a perfectly waited ball finding Coppinger. His cross was inviting but just out of the reach of May.
At the other end, a well-timed block from Reece James prevented Harry Anderson’s effort from reaching its target before Grant dragged the follow-up wide.
James was then involved at the other end. He fired a wicked cross into the Imps box which was close to finding the back of the net thanks to Michael Bostwick’s miskick.
Lincoln City got an equaliser just before the hour mark with Grant tapping home at the back post from a Tyler Walker cross.
The two sides continued to exchange chances – Sadlier saw his effort blocked by Jason Shackell and Rovers were able to clear their lines after Morrell won the visiting team a foul in a dangerous position outside the Rovers’ box. Lincoln probably came closest to finding the back of the next in this period with a carbon copy of their first but Brad Halliday recovered at the back post to head the ball for a corner.
The resulting corner kick resulted in pandemonium in the box with both Lincoln and Rovers players ending up on the floor. Referee Craig Hicks waived away the Imps penalty claims.
With twenty minutes remaining, Moore opted for a double change. Taylor and Kazaiah Sterling entered the field to replace May and Coppinger.
Time ticked on and the Imps began to register more and more chances. Morrell’s effort from distance was close and O’Connor’s header off a corner was closer. The best of the chances fell to substitute Bruno Andrade whose header from a free kick was narrowly wide.
Despite the pressure from the visitors – Rovers would be the team to take the lead through a well-taken volley by Taylor from close range. Sterling and Sadlier both had shots saved in the build-up but when the ball fell to Sterling a second time, he crossed to Taylor who fired Rovers into the lead.
Substitute John Akinde almost found an equaliser in stoppage time. He was virtually unmarked in the middle of the box but could only guide his headed effort over the bar and Rovers were able to see out the five minutes of added time.