Bristol Rovers player ratings: Gillingham linked star scores 9/10 against Chesterfield
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John Marquis - linked on social media with a move to ambitious League Two outfit Gillingham - scored a brace in the second-half to give the Gas the victory over the National League outfit. Rovers named a strong team, but Josh Grant, Jordan Rossiter, Ryan Loft, Luke McCormick, James Gibbons and George Friend were all absent. James Wilson, Matt Cox and Tristan Crama all made their home debuts and gave a good account of themselves.
Rovers started on the front foot and had two opportunities to open the scoring. John Marquis tested the Chesterfield goalkeeper who had to tip his effort over the bar and then Antony Evans’ ball was cleared off the line.
Chesterfield looked to threaten down the right-hand side and Tristan Crama made a good block to stop Branden Horton’s cross. The hosts forced a good save out of goalkeeper Harry Tyrer from Luke Thomas. John Marquis picked him out well and Thomas left-footed shot was saved well by the Everton loanee.
Scott Sinclair nearly gifted the visitors the lead as he lost possession in the box, but Matt Cox did enough to stop him rounding him. Up the other end, Thomas continued to pressure Tryer’s goal, and after Chesterfield cheaply threw away the ball, he curled a shot just over the bar.
As the first-half drew to a close, Marquis hit the crossbar. He was outside the box and saw the keeper off his line but his dinked effort cannoned off the crossbar and away from him.
Five minutes into the second-half and Rovers took the lead. They quickly went from defence to attack with Ward finding Evans, and then he picked out Marquis for a one-on-one and he kept his composure to slot his effort underneath the goalkeeper.
Marquis was a man with a strong desire to put his impact on the game, and he was given another opportunity but was unable to take it after the keeper made himself big as he aimed to shoot. Matt Cox meanwhile had to be alert as a wind-swept free-kick nearly caught him out.
Rovers doubled their advantage and it was Marquis on the scoresheet again. Aaron Collins played a side-splitting pass to Evans, who was fouled by the goalkeeper and then Marquis was able to tap into an empty net from an advantage.
Matt Cox - 7
A few nervy moments in possession but he looked comfortable and made a few good saves. Played the entire 90, so does that mean Joey Barton’s mind is made up?
Luca Hoole (subbed off, 46) - 7
Chesterfield’s first-half game came down the right flank, and Hoole did well making some well-timed tackles inside the box.
James Wilson - 7
Almost gave Chesterfield the lead right towards the end of the first-half with an underhit back pass to Cox. Improved in the second-half however.
Tristan Crama (subbed off, 82) - 7
Chesterfield looked to be in but he and Wilson did well to communicate to intercept the low cross.
Lewis Gordon (subbed off, 62) - 7
Most of the attacks from Chesterfield came down the opposite flank, but when called upon Gordon did what was needed of him.
Grant Ward (subbed off, 76) - 7
With Rossiter and Grant still being injured, it means Ward’s presence is important. He put in a good shift.
Antony Evans - 8
In an ideal world we’d see Evans further forward but for the time being he’s a deep midfielder. He had a good passing range, but also made a good few tackles. Nice assist for Marquis’ first goal, and unlucky not to get his own after being fouled by the goalkeeper for his second.
Scott Sinclair (subbed off, 46) - 6
Sinclair’s been one of the better performers in pre-season, but he didn’t impose himself on this match.
Jevani Brown (subbed off, 46) - 6
A quiet first-half for Brown, who didn’t get many shooting opportunities. He was fouled for a free-kick when he tried to pull the trigger, but that’s the only note of attacking threat.
Luke Thomas (subbed off, 82) - 7
Started brightly in the first-half and had Rovers’ best chances but faded in the second-half.
John Marquis - 9
Marquis sent a firm message to those linking him with Gillingham. Unlucky not to score in the first-half and got a deserved brace in the second.
Aaron Collins (subbed on, 46) - 7
Lovely side-splitting pass to Antony Evans, who was fouled in the build-up to Marquis goal.
James Connolly (subbed on, 46) - 6
Came on and looked sound in defence. Dealt well when Chesterfield’s pressured and got comfortable in possession.
Sam Finey (subbed on, 46) - 6
Ward was the midfielder who was in most control in this game. Finley didn’t need to do much.
Ryan Jones (subbed on, 62) - 6
Decent cross played in to Evans, just for him to header over.
Teo Kurturan (subbed on, 76) - N/A
Harvey Greenslade (subbed on, 82) - N/A
Will Larvin (subbed on, 82) - N/A