Bristol Rovers most dramatic final day games - including being relegated by Mansfield in their own kit
Bristol Rovers are used to leaving things late when it comes to final day drama with mainly hits but also misses
After a difficult start to the season, Bristol Rovers have taken the League Two promotion race to the wire.
The Gas, who were 17th before the start of 2022 are in fourth place and behind Northampton Town on goal difference.
Rovers need to hope that the Cobblers slip up in their match against Barrow, whilst also doing the business against basement side Scunthorpe United.
There is the possibility that Joey Barton’s side will absolutely blow away the Irons and Northampton only win by the solitary goal, but scoring goals is easier said than done.
Rovers will be backed by another sold-out Memorial Stadium crowd with tickets sold out weeks ago, before the next batch were snapped up in just over a minute.
Final day drama is something that this club is used to having been involved in many dramatics, both positive and negative.
We take a look at some of the most thrilling final day fixtures for Rovers and whether they can take inspiration from.
Saturday 7th May 2016: Bristol Rovers 2-1 Dagenham & Redbridge
This is a day that Bristol Rovers are hoping to repeat again, as in 2016 Darrell Clarke’s team of mainly the play-off winners from the National League, won a second consecutive promotion. Rovers fell behind to a Matty Cash goal early on but an immediate response was sent by Billy Bodin.
The home side were eager to sway things in their favour and had 35 shots on goal but found themselves frustrated on many occasions. In the 92nd minute of stoppage time however Lee Brown popped up with a winner to send them into third-spot, finishing ahead of Accrington Stanley on goal difference, funnily enough by five goals, the same margin they needed to overturn from Northampton.
Saturday 5th May 1990: Blackpool 0-3 Bristol Rovers
In what was the penultimate game of the season, Rovers defeated their bitterest rivals City 3-0 in a game that would decide the fate of the Third Division.
Promotion to was secured that night with a brace from Devon White and a penalty from the legendary Ian Holloway. To make things even better, City who had been top all season had been leapfrogged by Rovers.
And that set up a crowning day for Rovers as in 1990, they won the league title. Paul Nixon, David Mehew and Phil Purnell were all on target with a strong contingent of supporters making their way onto the pitch to adore their title-winning heroes.
Saturday 3rd May 2014: Bristol Rovers 0-1 Mansfield Town
Fortunately Rovers are at the right end of the table for any final day drama here. But in 2014, Rovers’ 94-year stay in the Football League was brought to an end.
The Gas required a draw at the Mem to stay in the league but Mansfield, who were wearing a Rovers away shirt from season’s gone by having forgotten theirs, had other ideas. Colin Daniel in the 36th minute scored the only goal of the game with no response from the Mem in front of a crowd of 10,594.
The fate was in their own hands as they won 2-1 against Wycombe Wanderers, who were in the relegation zone that day. A win for the Chairboys along with a victory for other relegation rivals Northampton Town, meant Rovers’ relegation was confirmed.
John-Joe O’Toole was the top scorer for Rovers that season and now finds himself as an influential player for the Stags at centre-back, whilst Ollie Clarke is their centre-back.
Saturday 8th May 2010: Leeds United 2-1 Bristol Rovers
It may not have been as dramatic or circumstantial for Rovers as they had earned a mid-table finish under Paul Trollope for a second consecutive season but nevertheless there was some late action at Elland Road.
Rovers had hoped to spoil the White’s promotion party and they started off well with Darryl Duffy putting them in front. Goals through from Jonny Howson and and then a match-winner from Jermaine Beckford which sparked a pitch invasion just after the hour, made for an entertaining encounter.
Leeds have of course since gone on to win the Championship, thus returning to the Premier League following a long-exile.
Saturday 5th May 2007: Hartlepool United 1-2 Bristol Rovers
Rovers held the last spot but had Stockport County breathing down their necks whilst they could have also finished as high as fifth. Stockport had Darlington on the day and they won convincingly, scoring five past the Northern side.
Not too far across the region however, there was drama elsewhere as Rovers needed to do their bit of business.
Former Bristol City manager Danny Wilson was close to leading Hartlepool United to the League Two title but Rovers, who had play-off aspirations, had different plans. The Pools went 1-0 up with Joel Porter putting the home side ahead just after the half hour mark.
Rovers were granted a route back into the game as Craig Disley was fouled for a penalty and Richard Walker successfully converted the spot-kick. Non-league scoring sensation Michael Mackay then put the ball in the net for Hartlepool but he was adjudged to have been offside when the ball was played to him.
With four minutes on the clock, Ryan Green put a delicious ball into the box and Rickie Lambert got his head onto the cross to head home what would be the match-winning goal.
Rovers ended up in the play-offs and won 7-4 on aggregate, winning 2-1 in the home leg and 5-3 at Sincil Bank to reach the final, where they beat Shrewsbury Town at the newly opened Wembley Stadium.