Rovers stop the winning run of Oxford United while extending their own run to nine wins in 10 league games.
There were two changes from last weekends victory over Lincoln City with Joe Wright and Elliot Simeos making way for Jon Taylor and Madger Gomes – with the latter starting his first game since returning from injury.
John Bostock was named on the Rovers bench for the first time since signing for the club in January while Omar Bogle continues his period of isolation after testing positive Covid-19 before he met up with his new teammates.
Both sides started the game in a lively manner with Rovers receiving two tight offside calls when in a dangerous position. Down the opposite end of the pitch Tom Anderson headed away a threatening free kick.
Oxford possessed a good turn pace, perfectly showcased by Brandon Barker on their left wing who managed to wriggle his way round three Rovers men and continued to cause problems throughout the first half.
A piercing attack from Robert Atkinson left Rovers with no choice but to stop him in his tracks having to settle for the free kick. Matt Smith excellently blocked the kick from close-range as it was taken, which was sure to sting.
On the counter, Rovers won a free kick which Jon Taylor swung into the box, but Jack Stevens commanded his area well to come out and claim.
Rovers took the lead after a brilliant break saw Matt Smith with a pass which covered about 30-yards of grass before unleashing Taylor who confidently tucked it past Stevens.
Oxford equalised five minutes before half time with Balcombe saving Ruffles’ initial shot, but the follow up from Sam Long beat the Rovers keeper.
The last of attack of the half saw Cameron John try his luck on goal – only to watch his effort spin wide. Meaning the game remained at 1-1 heading into the break.
In the second-half Rovers came out all guns blazing with Fejiri Okenabirhie putting his side back in front. Moments later and Rovers would have a third after a sensational goal came from Richards who got his third in as many games.
Unfortunately for the Brighton loanee his game was cut short due to injury but it meant Scott Robertson was able to make his debut for the club after joining on loan from Celtic.
On the 70th minute substitute Olaminde Shoipo got one back for the visitors with it taking a deflection enroute to goal as the weather conditions worsened.
A double change would follow for Darren Moore’s side with Madger Gomes and Jon Taylor coming off with Joe Wright and Jason Lokilo introduced to the game.
Oxford were in decent with their tails up as they could scent a potential upset. Rovers had to keep their wits about them and remain tight in defence.
With two minutes of normal time to go Bostock made his first appearance in red and white, replacing Okenabirhie.