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Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 2 Portsmouth 1

2 March 2021

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Andy Butler got off to a winning start as Rovers manager as goals from Reece James and Fejiri Okenabirhie secured a 2-1 win over Portsmouth.

Rovers Academy graduate Louis Jones made his League debut for the club with Ellery Balcombe dropping to the bench. James Coppinger and Jon Taylor returned to the team with Okenabirhie and Taylor Richards making way.  

Jones was called into action early on with Portsmouth having several attempts on the Rovers goal but no chances were on target to really challenge the 22-year-old.  

Down the opposite end of the pitch, Rovers were finding a lot of joy through Josh Sims with the winger working his way into great positions and setting up some good chances for Rovers, but Butler’s side were unable to convert their chances initially.   

That was until a mistake from Portsmouth at the back saw Reece James pounce at the opportunity to nudge the ball past Craig MacGillivray from close range, giving Rovers the lead.  

Both teams enjoyed good spells on the ball from that point, but there were limited chances to follow at either end for a while.  

Jon Taylor made a solo run goalward but collided with a Pompey defender as he broken into the 18-yard box which required him to received treatment from the physio. After a few minutes pause, Taylor replaced by Okenabirhie on the 28th minute.  

The forward was straight into the action and seemed to get through on goal five minutes later, but was narrowly deemed offside.  

With his eyes cemented on the bottom right corner of goal, John Bostock tried his luck from 25-yards out but MacGillivary was quick down to his corner to deny.  

Reece James pulled off an impressive block to stop Portsmouth equalising just before the first-half was drawn to a close.  

Two changes were made at the break by the visiting side with John Marquis making his return to the Keepmoat Stadium pitch alongside Andy Cannon with Ronan Curtis and Haji Mnoga exiting the pitch.  

Portsmouth looked more threatening in the second-half and Harvey White came close to scoring a stunning goal as the ball fizzed past the top left corner of Jones’ goal.  

A dangerous ball into the box was grabbed by Jones, but an eager Marquis clashed with the keeper pushing him into goal. Rovers were awarded a free kick.  

On the 63rd minute Josh Sims came off injured and was replaced by Jason Lokilo. Scott Robertson was also brought on at the same time for John Bostock.  

Marquis was constantly getting into tricky positions and asking questions of the Rovers defence whenever the visitors broke but Joe Wright and Tom Anderson did a good job at containing their former teammate. The ex-Rovers man was later shown a yellow card for fouling Bard Halliday.  

Rovers doubled their lead through Okenabirhie who scored an incredible goal from a narrow angle.  

With under 15 minutes left to go, Butler made a fourth change with Taylor Richards coming on in place of James Coppinger.  

Portsmouth pulled back a consolation goal deep into added time through Marquis. Consquently denying Jones his debut clean sheet. 


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