'Bitterly frustrating' - Bristol Rovers boss rues after Bolton defeat creates club-record goalless run

Matt Taylor Matt Taylor
Matt Taylor | (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
The Gas’ winless and goalless run stretches to six matches after defeat at the Mem on Saturday afternoon.

Bristol Rovers boss Matt Taylor said that his side’s performance this afternoon was “bitterly frustrating” after the Gas lost 2-0 at home to Bolton Wanderers in League One.

Former player Aaron Collins scored the opener on his return to BS7, whilst substitute Aaron Morley fired home from the penalty spot deep into injury-time, which gave the Trotters all three points.

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On the first goal, Taylor said: “To concede a goal like that is just bitterly frustrating and another lesson learned for the players on the pitch, but also in terms of what the league is and then they (Bolton) just manned their way to the victory. We ended the first-half pretty well. It’s just not going for us at the moment, that final moment, but for a couple of saves, a couple of ricochets, a couple of nearly moments, we have got to force the issue a little bit more in relation to that, especially when our goalkeeper has not being worked all game.”

Saturday’s defeat means that Rovers have a new club-record, six matches without finding the back of the net, along with a winless run that stretches to as many games. “Harsh, but yet another lesson learned,” said Taylor. “In terms of the moment of the goal, it was just too poor from ourselves in terms of understanding of what's needed and young players involved and we know they make mistakes, but we are certainly learning the hard way at the moment.

“I have got to be careful because it is not expected, but that is what happens when the experience factor is there. Jed has come in and done fantastically well, but the understanding of what has made him do so well and the simplicity and the safety factor in that. Brandon then receives a ball that you don't want to receive in the middle of pitch. Just keep it away from the goal, keep it going in your direction. So no real critique of them as individuals, but just the expectation of the understanding of that moment as a young player and it is not just young ones, senior ones have done it as well. Too many times we have said we're defensively sound as a team and then we are behind and chasing the game,” he added.

Post-match, the 42-year-old was asked what he felt went wrong in relation to the result this afternoon, as the Gas proved that they can go toe-to-toe with the best sides in this league. “Recognition, awareness, understanding. I don't think anyone would have battered an eyelid if the ball had gone back towards their backline, or if Brandon had helped it on. That then took away all of our hard work and intent and good play we had up until that point. In fairness, against such a strong passing team, they worked our back line and the space in behind in the second-half quite well, but credit to the way we hurried them in first-half, as we put them under real pressure. But as the goal came, it then put real pressure on us in possession and our quality in the final third and we didn’t quite have that execution of the final action.

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“We have been a nearly team all year, nearly a good team, nearly a team that goes on a run, nearly a team that goes ahead in a game, that has been a constant throughout the season and probably a period of time at League One level. The players worked awfully hard today, I really liked our intent to get to the ball and put them under pressure. We changed their style a little bit by going after them, but we have to then make the most of our positivity with the score line, which then lifts the place a little bit more, because at the moment we go behind you can just feel it’s groundhog day a little bit, oh no not again and then the pressure of the game really told in terms of our attacking play.”

The victory for Bolton moved them within just one point of second place Derby County, as the race for automatic promotion continues. As for the Gas, defeat sees them move down to 15th in the division, 11 points above the relegation zone. Taylor will hope that his side can turn around their misfortunes, as they host Reading back at the Mem on Tuesday evening.

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