Bristol Rovers player ratings: Two stars get 8/10s and plenty get 7/10s in Swindon victory
How the Bristol Rovers played in their 3-0 thrashing of Swindon Town at the Memorial Stadium
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Ciaran Brennan and Ricky Aguair were shown red cards in the first-half but Rovers could not break them down. In the second-half Ryan Loft came off the bench to open the scoring before Harry Anderson and Luke McCormick added to the tally.
The Gas finished second in their group after Plymouth Argyle topped it with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace’s Under-21’s at Home Park in the other game.
Tale of the match
Nothing-to-play for Swindon started with no fear and had the first meaningful opportunity. Tyrese Shade laid a pass to Louis Reed on the edge of the box which glazed the crossbar.
Another chance fell to Swindon as Ricky Aguiar threaded a pass into the feet of Morgan Roberts, forcing Anssi Jaakkola to block low down at his post after testing him from an acute angle.
Swindon’s positive start was undone as Ciaran Brennan was dismissed for a second bookable offence as he fouled Josh Coburn outside the box. Sylvester Jasper was unable to profit from the situation as his low free-kick fizzed wide. Scott Lindsey reacted to the red card by making a substitution as Ronan Darcy made way for Harrison Minturn.
Luca Hoole had Rovers’ first shot on target as Harry Anderson’s corner-kick landed on his head but it was a tame effort for Sol Brynn to claim.
A one-man advantage became two near the stroke of half-time as Aguiar was shown a straight red for a foul on Alfie Kilgour. The Gas didn’t have enough time to make enough of the numerical advantage before the break.
Academy midfielder Jerry Lawrence made his way off at the break for Ryan Loft as Barton tried to make the most of the two sending offs. Loft almost made an immediate impact as he headed over from Trevor Clarke’s cross.
The hosts continued to make chances as McCormick’s free-kick found Bobby Thomas for a header which was fumbled by Brynn but Swindon did enough to clear.
Around the hour mark, Rovers hit the woodwork in their best chance of the match. Jasper was played in and picking out Coburn from three-yards out, he slid his effort on to the crossbar.
The deadlock was broken moments later in an inspired change from the bench. Jasper played in Loft who dinked the ball over the on-rushing goalkeeper.
A triple change was made with Zain Westbrooke, Bobby Thomas and Josh Coburn making way for Sam Finley, Antony Evans and Aaron Collins. Collins almost made an immediate impact and flashed two tight-angled shots just past the post after his introduction.
Fifteen minutes from time, Rovers doubled their lead in fine fashion. Anderson rifled a shot just inside the box with Brynn helpless at his post.
The floodgates opened in the last ten minutes with Swindon fans heading for the exits. McCormick broke down the right-flank and squeezed an effort home.
No further goals came from the hosts but they would be content in how they were eventually able to break down a side that had men reduced.
Anssi Jaakkola - 7
The Finnish goalkeeper didn’t have much to do other than watch shots go over his bar. He made a good stop in the first-half to deny Morgan Roberts.
Luca Hoole - 7
Started as a right-back and eventually moved into the centre. His flexibility is a massive plus.
Alfie Kilgour - 7
A superb last-ditch tackle to deny Tomi Adeloyle after being well-picked out by Tyrese Shade.
Bobby Thomas - 7
Another assured performance from the centre-back who has enjoyed playing in multiple systems alongside different partners.
Trevor Clarke - 7
Clarke showed flashes during the game as he tries to put himself in contention. Clarke provided an assist for McCormick.
Zain Westbrooke - 7
Westbrooke put in a performance he can be content with.
Luke McCormick - 8
McCormick really put himself about tonight and was the creative spark for Rovers. He found Rovers players in good positions. McCormick scored his first goal of his second spell at the club, showing great composure, he dazzled this evening.
Jerry Lawrence - 6
Rovers didn’t have many changes in the first-half but he went closest. A shot was well blocked by Louis Reed as he pulled the trigger but credit to Lawrence for getting himself into the position.
Harry Anderson - 7
A real well-taken effort from Anderson who left the goalkeeper with no chance.
Josh Coburn - 7
No goal for Coburn this evening but he at least has more pitch time and is getting a feel for the team. The on-loan Boro man could have doubled his account for the Gas but hit the crossbar from close-range.
Sylvester Jasper - 7
An otherwise quiet first half but burst into life in the second half. The introduction of Loft allowed him to find more space when there were two strikers.
Ryan Loft, subbed on 46 - 8
An inspired substitution and a man on a mission. Loft came on and completely changed the outlook of Rovers attack.
Sam Finley, subbed on 66 - 7
Came on to allow more attacking players to go forward. He didn’t necessarily need to do much.
Antony Evans, subbed on 66 - 7
Others had more of an influence in the game but Evans did his defensive duties well.
Aaron Collins, subbed on 66 - 7
Came off the bench and really put himself about. The Rovers top scorer treated it as a league match and almost got on the score sheet.