Bristol Rovers player ratings: Freak display sees one player score 3/10 in leaky Lincoln loss

How the Rovers player fared in the ratings after suffering their fourth defeat in six League One matches

Bristol Rovers fell to their fourth defeat in six League One matches as they lost out to Lincoln City in a nine-goal thriller at the Memorial Stadium, which finished 3-6.

Jack Diamond's hat-trick including a first-half penalty, along with a brace from Ben House and a solo goal from Matty Virtue gave the Imps the win at the Memorial Stadium. Aaron Collins scored a brace for the Gas whilst Ryan Loft continued his scoring run but his effort was all in vain.

Their heavy defeat to Mark Kennedy's men sees Joey Barton's side drop in to the drop zone into 21st, level on points with Cheltenham Town and Forest Green on eight.

Tale of the match

Lincoln opened the scoring with their first opportunity as Jack Diamond’s pass went over the foot of Luca Hoole and Ben House expertly finished from close range.

Rovers’ frustrations then grew as Antony Evans then rushed in late on Matty Virtue from kick-off, before cheaply giving the ball away which earned a caution.

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Things got worse as goal scorer House was fouled in the box and referee Tom Nield pointed to the spot in which Diamond dispatched with a composed penalty, directing Belshaw the wrong way.

Rovers halved the deficit through a straight-forward goal as Belshaw’s ball sliced through Lincoln’s defence and Collins was able to pass the on-rushing Carl Rushworth and stroke home into an empty net.

In their search to get back in the game, Sam Finley’s pass was threaded through to Ryan Loft but the returning striker could only place his shot past the post.

Before the half-hour mark, Evans rattled the woodwork as his free-kick escaped the wall and the goalkeeper but not the post, much to his frustration as he punched the air.

Loft was next to cause Lincoln problems as he tried to round Rushworth and three defenders with Regan Poole clearing his shot off the line much to the frustration of the striker.

A third goal however came for the visitors with Diamond scoring his second as Hoole’s attempted pass cannoned off of the back of McCormick and the striker drove his low effort home.

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As the six minutes of additional time came to a close, Paudie O’Connor almost headed into his own net from Sam Finley’s lofted ball but breathed a sigh of relief as it sailed over.

Despite trailing two-goals at the break, Barton continued to give the 11 players a chance, but the two-goal margin became three early in the second-half. A poorly-taken short corner-kick resulted in Lincoln breaking and Tashan Oakley-Boothe’s run in the box eventually bobbled to Virtue to stroke home.

A selection of fans headed to the exits before 60 minutes had elapsed as Lincoln all too easily had space in the box and Diamond was on hand to thump home for his hat-trick.

After two quick successive goals, Rovers pegged one back as Loft hit a powerful effort low past Rushworth but that only prompted muted ceebrations whilst Lincoln delayed their restart.

Rovers’ defensive woes got worse as moments after scoring their second, they conceded their sixth. Diamond stayed onside and lifted a stupendous volley over Belshaw from an acute angle.

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After making three changes which included John Marquis, Paul Coutts and Harvey Saunders coming on, a third goal game for the home side. Collins was found in a pocket of space and similar to his first goal, he tucked it home.

His second goal put Rovers on top for the remainder of the match and he was denied by a good save by Rushworth after shooting centrally. A penalty appeal was then turned down after Sylvester Jasper had gone down in the box.

Player ratings

James Belshaw - 5

Belshaw racked up countless clean sheets last season but this was the most he had conceded in a match for Rovers. He didn’t make any saves of note and his job was to mainly pick the ball out of the net.

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Clarke showed some promise in his advanced role on the left-hand side in what was the most creative side in the first period.

Luca Hoole - 4

Hoole was pushed into the centre like he has done on a few occasions this season but this was a tricky day for the defender. The Lincoln strikers won every second ball and put pressure on Hoole when in possession.

Glenn Whelan - 3

Whelan was jostling with Ben House and was second best before being adjudged to have fouled him in the box for a penalty. The makeshift centre-back struggled in his partnership alongside Hoole in the centre.

Lewis Gordon - 4

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Gordon put himself and his teammates under pressure at times with a few wayward passes. He made a slight amends for the goals down his flank with an assist for Loft’s goal.

Antony Evans - 5

Evans’ punch of frustration after he hit the woodwork with a well-hit free-kick summed up his performance. He caused some problems but this was a game that got away from him. A yellow card for a rash challenge straight after their own kick-off was an example of Rovers’ lack of composure.

Sam Finley - 5

Rovers midfield failed to assert their dominance on to the first-half and Finley was lost at times. Picked up a yellow card after leading with his feet on Sorensen.

Luke McCormick - 5

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Started the game well and almost opened the scoring but spurned an opportunity from six-yards. McCormick is a talented player but was forced to go deeper to receive possession.

Harry Anderson - 5

Defensive errors happened down the right-side with more communication needed between the defence and wing-backs. Anderson struggled to do anything of note against his former club and was substituted.

Ryan Loft - 6

Loft showed the signs of a striker that could be a handful this season. He timed his runs well for the final pass and also used his stature to beat off defenders. He took his goal well and continued his scoring streak which is one positive.

Aaron Collins - 6

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Win, lose or draw, the likelihood is that Collins will come out as one of the better performing players. Scorer of two of their three goals, he was one of tow players that came out with any credit.

Harvey Saunders (subbed on, 61) - 5

Brought on to get Rovers forward but couldn’t get into a position to cause the full-backs any problems.

John Marquis (subbed on, 61) - 5

Received no service from his teammates to get any shots to cause any problems to his former side.

Paul Coutts (subbed on, 61) - 5

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Came on and provided an assist for Aaron Collins’ second but was loose with the ball when attempting a pass.

Sylvester Jasper (subbed on, 77) - 5

Went down under a challenge in the box but no penalty given.