Bristol Rovers 3 Nuneaton Town 1
Tuesday 16th September, 2014.
Match report courtesy of Nuneaton News;
Boro's mini-revival in form since the departure of manager Brian Reid came to a frustrating end at a buoyant Memorial Ground.
A victory over Forest Green Rovers and a draw with Aldershot raised hopes ahead of the lengthy midweek trip to their illustrious hosts.
But goals two minutes into both halves from Tom Parkes and Matty Taylor gave Rovers the upper-hand before Gaz Dean pulled a goal back for Boro.
Boro were spirited and industrious, and crucially – kept fashioning chances.
However, few would deny the Gas were worthy of all three points that were secured when Jake Gosling netted the third goal with 12 minutes to go.
Cheered on by a near 5,000 crowd, Rovers took the lead from a free-kick five yards out from the by-line.
Dave Martin crossed dangerously into a congested penalty area and Boro keeper Reice Charles-Cook flapped a clearance to the fortunately positioned Tom Parkes to nod home.
Only heroics from Dean prevented Bristol from doubling their lead with a brave sliding block to deny Stuart Sinclair with his low drive.
Filled with the confidence an early lead can give a side, Taylor slashed at a half-volley that skidded wide on 10 minutes.
Charles-Cook atoned for his error with a magnificent save to deny former Tamworth striker Adam Cunnington a minute later.
Rovers broke down Theo Streete’s right full-back channel through Martin, his low cross was half-cleared to Cunnington but Charles-Cook raced out bravely to block forcefully.
Boro’s first chance of the half arrived from Exodus Geohagan’s long throw from the left that found Anton Brown, but his stretching header drifted just wide.
Boro endured two nervy moments on the half-hour as Charles-Cook flapped at a cross then Dean made a wonderful slide tackle to make up for his own poor clearance.
Eight minutes before the break Cunnington held the ball up well inside the box before cutting back to Gosling to side foot wide from inside the area.
Andy Brown went agonisingly close to levelling when his improvised flick from Craig Curran’s left-wing cross just failed to hit the target.
Rovers had one more great chance before half time but Lee Brown failed to make a telling connection inside the box as Charles-Cook claimed at the second attempt.
The second-half started as dismally as the first when Taylor brought down Lee Mansell’s dinked ball to drill past a helpless Charles-Cook.
A minute later, Cunnington had a free header at the far post but his effort looped over.
Boro fashioned a good chance on 53 minutes when Lee Fowler’s angled pass to Craig Curran saw the forward work space in the box before firing goalwards.
Anton Brown deflected the ball but Steve Mildenhall was well-positioned to tip over the bar.
Sensing the need for more energy in midfield, Jorrin John entered proceedings in place of Anton Brown after 56 minutes, joining James Armson who arrived at half time in place of Streete.
It seemed to have the desired impact as Boro forced a corner on 68 minutes that Fowler delivered perfectly for Dean to power a header home.
Rovers sub Ellis Harrison brought the best out of Charles-Cook, diving low to palm a drive around the post.
Despite looking slick and comfortable in possession, Rovers still had vulnerabilities and nervously saw off a big penalty appeal when Ryan Smith appeared to be bundled over inside the box.
This non-award was punished further a minute later when Gosling showed a calm head to slot home after Boro were caught flat-footed.
Just 65 hardy Boro fans made the 200 mile round journey but, rest assured, this Boro team showed spirit and attacking potential during the 90 minutes.
They struggled to stem the tide of Bristol chances on goal and can have few complaints with the result.