Bristol Rovers player ratings: ‘Outstanding’ attacker scores 8/10 in Fleetwood draw
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Bristol Rovers conceded a goal at the death as Fleetwood Town earned a point in a 2-2 draw at the Memorial Stadium. Shaun Rooney scored twice in either half in between Josh Coburn equalising for the Gas and Aaron Collins putting the home team in front.
Fleetwood’s early pressure paid dividends with Shaun Rooney opening the scoring. Rovers failed to clear their lines and Rooney let fly with his strike. Rovers did not react positively and had to contend with Danny Andrew curling a free-kick at Belshaw before Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu flashed wide a chance.
Jordan Rossiter carved the hosts best chance as Aaron Collins laid the ball to him on the edge and his curled effort was palmed away by Jay Lynch. Five minutes before the break, Lewis Gibson missed a free-header.
The hosts changed shape in the second-half, reverting to a back three with James Connolly replacing James Gibbons. It created a space for Coburn to thread the ball through to Collins but the Welshman squandered his chance in a one-on-one.
Rovers got themselves level before the hour-mark as Collins laid it into the middle for Coburn to hit it in off the underside of the bar. Coburn’s equaliser changed the momentum of the game with Collins and Coburn going close. Collins lifted his chip on to the bar whilst Coburn dragged his shot wide. With fifteen minutes remaining Rovers’ top scorer went down under a challenge but was booked for simulation.
The complexion of the game changed when Rovers went in front through their dependable forward. Sam Finley’s cross was floated in and Collins was able to out-muscle the defender and head home.
Several scuffles ensued throughout the latter stages of the match with several players yellow carded. It was topped off with Robert Madden sending off Joey Barton after Luca Hoole’s tackle on Josh Vela. Rovers’ were unable to hold on however as in the 99th-minute, Rooney headed home with a last-gasp goal.
Bristol Rovers player ratings
James Belshaw - 6
Beaten by Rooney’s first strike which was more at the fault of the defence. Faced some other shots but other than that, didn’t need to make any saves.
James Gibbons - 5
Replaced at half-time for James Connolly with Barton reverting to a back three. He faced some trouble down his flank.
Bobby Thomas - 7
The defence had a difficult time in the first half but in the second they improved, other than conceding that gut-wrenching goal.
Lewis Gibson - 6
Failed to clear his lines which allowed Fleetwood in for their goal. Conceded a few cheap fouls in areas that the opposition could have caused problems from. Missed a free-header. Improved in the second-half.
Lewis Gordon - 6
Fleetwood’s danger and their first goal came from the left-hand side. Gordon was beaten too easily for the cross for Rooney’s first goal. Improved in the second-half when he was pushed out to wing-back.
Sam Finley - 7
Battler. The box-to-box midfielder ground out a good performance over the ninety. Set up Collins for his goal.
Jordan Rossiter - 7
A few opportunities to score in either half, going relatively close. Did okay as Rovers’ midfield enforcer.
Antony Evans - 7
Difficult first period where he struggled to get in the game. Improved in the second-half and got forward more.
Aaron Collins - 8
Rovers’ best player in the first-half in what was a quiet period. Spurned a chance to score first but set up Coburn. Showed he could mix up by scoring a header which he looked to be second best for before Finley’s cross.
Josh Coburn - 7
A difficult first-half, losing several duels. An improved performance in the second. He almost set Collins up for a goal, but scored his own thanks to a relationship he’s building up with him.
Scott Sinclair - 6
Started off as a winger and later was moved to a wing-back. A few flash pieces of dribbling but all Rovers’ joy came down the left.
James Connolly (subbed on, 46) - 6
Fleetwood didn’t cause the defence much problems but Connolly coming on gave Rovers some space in attack.
Luca Hoole (subbed on, 85) - 5
Unfortunately Fleetwood’s second goal came down from the right-hand side.
John Marquis (subbed on, 89) - N/A
Harvey Saunders (subbed on, 93) - N/A