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Match Reports

REPORT: Bristol Rovers 4 Stanley 1

Gas avenge 6-1 defeat in February as Reds drop to tenth

9 March 2021

Paul Smyth scored a goal but Accrington Stanley suffered a 4-1 defeat to Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.

The Reds had overcome Rovers, then managed by Paul Tisdale, 6-1 in early February but the Gas got their revenge under the leadership of Joey Barton.

John Coleman had to reshuffle his pack with Seamus Conneely and Colby Bishop out injured, giving David Morgan his first EFL start and Chelsea loanee Jon Russell was also in the starting XI. Toby Savin continued as goalkeeper for the injured Nathan Baxter.

Stanley pressed in the early stages without testing Joe Day, who was in goal at the Wham Stadium in February.

Rovers had the first real shot on 12 minutes from Sam Nicholson which was comfortable for Savin but two minutes later they took the lead.

A chipped ball over the top found Luke Leahy who, with Savin outrushing, managed to put the ball over him and it rolled over the line from a tight angle. It was his eighth goal of the season.

Stanley had an escape when a Zain Westbrooke free kick dropped for Alfie Kilgour with Michael Nottingham hooking the ball off the line.

The Reds though were unlucky not to equalise on 32 minutes when Sean McConville's long ball forward sent Smyth racing into the area but his shot crashed against the post.

Rovers continued to press and, with almost the last kick of the half, Alex Rodman got the ball on the right and ran into the area, curling the ball beyond Savin to take Rovers in 2-0 at the break.

Stanley started the second half well and Nottingham played a dangerous ball across the face of goal which no one could get on the end of.

But it was Rovers who came close to a third on 49 minutes when Jonah Ayunga drove forward and unleashed a fierce shot which Savin tipped onto the post.

Nottingham had a goalbound strike blocked by Nicholson while, at the other end, Nicholson caught Savin out of his goal but the Reds keeper got back to recover and did well to keep out an Ayunga fierce strike.

Adam Phillips came on for the Reds, replacing Dion Charles on 63 minutes, but then disaster struck for Stanley in a mad two minute spell.

Nicholson's persistence paid off when he got the ball on the edge of the area on 67 minutes and found space to curl home his eighth goal of the campaign.

From the kick off, Rovers won the ball back, Nicholson raced forward, found Luke McCormick who crossed it to the back post and Westbrooke fired home from close range to make it 4-0.

Stanley got one back on 77 minutes when, from a short corner, Smyth forced the ball home from a tight angle under Day.

Rovers went straight up the other end and Rodman hit the woodwork while a Phillips long range strike was pushed onto the post by Day as the game swung from end to end.

But Stanley left empty handed meaning they drop to tenth while Rovers moved away from the relegation places.


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