'Quality' - Bristol Rovers boss reflects on vital win at Cheltenham Town as Gas end seven game goal drought

Matt Taylor Matt Taylor
Matt Taylor | Getty Images
Matt Taylor offers his verdict after Rovers defeated Cheltenham 3-1 on Saturday afternoon.

Bristol Rovers’ seven game goal drought came to an end on Saturday as the Gas saw off relegation threatened Cheltenham Town at the Completely Suzuki Stadium.

Scott Sinclair opened the scoring inside the opening quarter of an hour, before substitute Brandon Aguilera doubled the Gas’ lead early in the second-half.

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Elkan Baggott wrapped up proceedings 10 minutes from time, with an empathic header from a corner, topping off a man of the match performance. However, Darrell Clarke’s men found a consolation goal deep into stoppage time, as substitute Liam Sercombe found his 10th goal of the season.

“Everyone will speak about the goals and then the quality moments, the skill moments in the game, but I just thought we looked solid as a team,” said Taylor.

“Very rarely was a ball delivered at any of our players, our backline especially and it went through the team. It was almost a brick wall, a wall there to repel it and some and that starts with goalkeeper, centre-halves, full backs and Jordan Rossiter in the middle of the park and then that feeds through the team. I just felt we controlled where we were on the pitch and then if we can do that for longer in games like that then a space will open up and we will take more attacking opportunities, but you still need that first one to go in, to get the confidence and the blood flowing in terms of an attack sense and just in terms of the belief.”

Today marks the Gas’ first goal and victory since the start of March, and it’s fair to say Taylor’s side put in a performance to be proud of. “Everyone sensed it, we almost smelt blood a little bit in terms of this is proper, we looked like a proper team today. We were doing the right things, each player in each position did what their job needed to be today and then the quality we have at times when going forward has to still result in goals. Scott Sinclair’s in the first-half should have led to more then one ahead at half-time,” said the 42-year-old. “Whether it was a penalty or the other chances and you're always thinking in the back of your mind, if we just give them anything to hold on to, but then we started the second-half so well and we finally scored a set piece goal.”

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Gasheads were absolutely delighted to witness Rossiter back on the pitch, as the midfielder has been out injured for almost 16 months. “Infectious,” said Taylor. “Everything that you want as manager in a player. Regardless of his performance and where he plays, it is what he stands for, we need more of them and we need more of him and it has been such a shame that he has been unavailable for so long for the club. Not for me as obviously I have come in later, you can probably see how this team and this group have missed him and I just hope that this is a start of him getting back to playing football again, because it has been too long out of the game and unfortunately on the treatment table.”

The former Liverpool player was replaced early in the second-half, which left some Gasheads worried whether he has re-injured himself. “We thought we would just give it until half-time,” said Taylor. “We sort of said 10 more minutes and then he made another, well there was so many tackles in the middle park, which he meant and he won and he just put his hand up, but what a guy, what he stands for, as much as what he is as a player.”

Victory moved the Gas to 15th in the League One table. Meanwhile the hosts remain firmly in the relegation zone fighting for their lives.

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