Nuneaton Town 0 Bristol Rovers 2
Sunday 4th January, 2015
Match report courtesy of Nuneaton News
The Boro were unable to make it four games unbeaten as title-chasing Bristol Rovers continued their relentless pursuit of leaders Barnet at the James Parnell Stadium.
Liam Daish and his Nuneaton side had enjoyed a steady – if not spectacular – Christmas period as they picked up five points out of a possible nine over the three games.
Making it eight out of twelve was always going to be a tough ask, what with Bristol Rovers only losing 1 in their last 21 league outings.
The Boro did look up to that challenge at times, but overall Rovers superiority did shine through, the former Football League side being one of the toughest opponents Nuneaton will have to face at the James Parnell Stadium this year.
It is how they do against the other, not so illustrious, clubs that will determine if the Boro can stay up or not this year.
They certainly do have the fight in them, as they showed in the opening 40 minutes.
Boro more than matched their former Football League visitors in the first 20 minutes, but not for the first time this season, they were indebted to an on-loan keeper to keep the scores level.
This time it was the returning Christian Dibble, brought in from Barnsley, who shone, the stopper diving full length to tip a Matty Taylor header from six yards onto the post.
It was the only save of note either keeper had to make – that was until Dibble was called into action again in the 40th minute – when the Gas took the lead.
A cross from the left-hand side was slid goalwards by Nathan Blissett, Dibble did well to get a hand to it, but Taylor was on hand to poke home the rebound from centimetres out.
The goal was not exactly against the run of play, but it was harsh on a Boro side that had coped so well with an in-form Rovers side for most of the opening half.
It was key for Liam Daish and his struggling side to put the disappointment of the goal behind them and come out fighting in the second half – they did the opposite, though.
The half was just three minutes old when the away side managed to double their lead, Blissett finishing the job on his own this time as the Rovers frontman rose unchallenged to meet a corner from the left, slamming his header past Dibble to leave the keeper with no chance.
Blissett was proving to be the danger man for Rovers and he should have added to his tally in the 68th minute when Andy Monkhouse sent a fizzing cross in low and hard, but the striker was unable to steer the ball goalwards from close range, tapping it just wide of a diving Dibble and his far post.
The Gas took their foot off the gas after that as the Boro, void of any real attacking changes to bring on, were unable to threaten a comeback in the dying stages of the game.
The closest they came saw Michael Gash have his shot blocked before it could threaten Will Puddy in the visitor’s goal.
Boro now have a nine-day break before their next game against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Birmingham Senior Cup.
BORO: Dibble, Streete, Cowan, Dean, Franklin, Smith, Anton Brown (Fowler 60), Walker (Quinn 80) Armson, Sodje (Baker-Richardson 60), Gash.
Subs not used: Starosta, Charles.
BRISTOL: Puddy, Brown, Lockyer, McChrystal, Parkes, Mansell (Clarke 90), Taylor (Goldberg 79) Gosling, Monkhouse, Sinclair, Blissett (Harrison 86).
Subs not used: Leadbitter, Balanta.