Bristol Rovers pull off miracle to win automatic promotion: Player ratings, heroes & villains
The Gas secured promotion to League One in the most dramatic of circumstances
Bristol Rovers secured promotion in the most dramatic fashion as a 7-0 win over Scunthorpe United overturned a five goal swing.
Northampton Town’s 3-1 win over Barrow meant Rovers had to overturn a seven goal deficit which they did, where they were promoted on goal difference.
Braces from Antony Evans and Aaron Collins in the second-half along with goals from Connor Taylor and an own goal from Oliver Lobley gave Rovers a resounding victory.
A delay of 15-minutes and a threat of abandonment brought a slight damper on the day but the game was able to play to a conclusion and
Tale of the match
Rovers started with an early feeling about them but had a penalty appeal turned down in the opening minute. Collins dispossessed Ryan Delaney on the far side and ran into the box but went down before trying to cut in.
As news filtered through of a Northampton opener at Barrow, Rovers began shooting on sight with Sam Finley and Trevor Clarke hitting shots just wide of the post.
In the same moment that another goal at Holker Street came through Cameron Wilson almost squared a killer pass to Joe Nuttall but Connor Taylor made a telling block to deny the visitors an unlikely lead.
Frustration then continued for Rovers as Elliot Anderson went down in the box but the referee, despite pressure from the fans, deemed it not a foul.
A spot kick wasn’t needed however as the hosts went through in fortuitous fashion with a cross coming in and Lobley turning into his own net.
The atmosphere then improved a slight bit as a cross into the box from Elliot Anderson was headed home by Connor Taylor.
But as Luke Thomas’ shot deflected wide of the goal, a third Northampton goal came through with Hoskins netting his second goal in Cumbria.
Scunthorpe with nothing to play for began running down the clock and frustrating Rovers with no effort to retrieve possession quickly which infuriated Rovers going into the break.
After multiple attempts on goal, Rovers had their third with Aaron Collins calmy placing his shot for his 15th league goal of the campaign.
Antony Evans then added his bit to the cause by scoring with a lowly placed shot underneath the goalkeeper.
The talisman then added another goal as with less than 15 minutes remaining, his centrally placed free-kick flew into the net.
The Mem then had reason to be optimistic as Harry Anderson’s simple pass to Collins brought them to within one.
There was then a moment of delirium but also fury as a cross was floated in to Elliot Anderson and the on loan Newcastle United man headed home. His goal overturned the deficit but fans entered the pitch, causing a delay.
The game resumed after a lengthy period with Rovers knowing exactly what to do after Northampton’s game had finished before them and they ran down the clock to then hear the full-time whistle.
Antony Evans: His brace may have just secured the terms of a new contract. Signed on a one-year deal, the talisman duly delivered over the course of the season.
Aaron Collins: What a story for the Gas man. From failing to get a goal in 18 games to ending the season as top scorer with a brace to see out the season.
Elliot Anderson: Not even the first choice deadline day signing but the teenager will go down in history as perhaps the greatest loanee in the clubs history. What an impact, he’s destined for big things.
Fans who entered the pitch: As much as the feeling of what was an amazing moment, the fans who spilled onto the pitch could have proved costly to the club.
Scunthorpe United’s game plan: A few players didn’t want to chase throw-ins or corner kicks as they tried their part to spoil the party.
Bristol Rovers (4-1-4-1): James Belshaw 7 Harry Anderson 8, James Connolly, Connor Taylor 8, Trevor Clarke 7, (Sam Nicholson, 70), Glenn Whelan 7, Elliot Anderson 9, Sam Finley 7, Antony Evans 9, (Leon Clarke, 90), Luke Thomas 7, (Josh Grant, 90), Aaron Collins 9.
Scunthorpe United (4-2-3-1): Owen Foster 5, Luke Matheson 4, Jai Rowe 4, Ryan Delaney 4, Ethan Young 5, Finley Shrimpton 4, (Anthony Grant, 4;70), Oliver Lobley 4 (Mason O’Malley, 26), Cameron Wilson 4, Jack Moore-Billam 5, (Liam Feeney, 53), Alfie Beestin 5, Joe Nuttall 6
Man of the Match: Antony Evans.