Bristol Rovers suffer back-to-back defeats as Portsmouth win thanks to Colby Bishop

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Bristol Rovers are trailing to Portsmouth - but some think Bishop’s opener shouldn’t have stood

Despite entertaining the idea that talisman Aaron Collins could be dropped to the bench, Joey Barton named him in the starting XI but gave the captains armband to on-loan Everton defender Lewis Gibson. Sam Finley made the bench for the first time in two matches after a bout of sickness.

Rovers had the chance to open the scoring as Josh Coburn thread the ball through to Collins but Matt Macey - returning to Mem after a spell as a youth player - was able to smack the ball away. Another chance followed for the hosts as Jarell Quansah went near to scoring with a header, but Joe Rafferty's shirt pull on him would have put him off from getting a clean effort at goal.

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Pompey made Rovers rue not taking their chances as they took the lead through the in-form Colby Bishop, who is now ahead of Collins in the race for the Golden Boot. In controversial circumstances, bome supporters believed the goal scorer was offside but he was able to make a run in behind Gibson and Quansah from Ryan Tunnicliffe’s pass, and his low shot cannoned off both posts before beating James Belshaw.

Before half-time Lamare Bogarde was able to the carry the ball to Collins and he picked out former Portsmouth striker John Marquis but he blasted the ball over the bar. At half-time, Barton brought off Marquis and Lewis Gordon, replacing them with Calum Macdonald and Scott Sinclair.

Portsmouth nearly doubled their advantage immediately after the restart though as Antony Evans touched the ball round the post after Bishop sought a second for himself and his team. Evans defended his goal well and then nearly got his side back on level terms but Collins’ cross missed a Rovers head. Former Bristol City defender Ryley Towler then denied Grant Ward from scoring with a block on Ward’s shot on the edge of the box.

Despite all their efforts for the next goal, Rovers fell further behind after Macdonald dragged down Paddy Lane in the box with a penalty awarded to the visitors. Bishop stepped up and tucked it past Belshaw to make it six-goals in six matches.

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Rovers battled hard to at least get one goal back but Matt Macey denied Collins’ close-ranged header as he tried to keep his clean sheet intact. Macey was in inspired form as he later tipped Sinclair’s free-kick over the bar.

To make matters worse, Jarell Quansah was red carded for a foul on Joe Morrell, which will at least make him miss their next scheduled match against Charlton Athletic on Friday, April 7. They could not find a goal to reduce the deficit and had to accept a second 2-0 defeat of the week.

Bristol Rovers (4-3-3): James Belshaw, Luca Hoole, Jarell Quansah, Lewis Gibson (C), Lewis Gordon (Calum Macdonald, 46), Lamare Bogarde, Grant Ward (Sam Finley, 73), Antony Evans (Ryan Loft, 73), Aaron Collins, Josh Coburn, John Marquis (Scott Sinclair, 46)

Substitutes: Ellery Balcombe, James Connolly, Glenn Whelan

Yelllow Card: Grant Ward 35, Calum Macdonald 67’

Red Card: Jarell Quansah 88’

Portsmouth: Matt Macey, Joe Rafferty, Sean Raggett, Ryley Towler, Connor Ogilvie, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Louis Thompson (Michael Jacobs, 65), Joe Morrell, Paddy Lane, Colby Bishop, Reeco Hackett (Owen Dale, 59).

Goals: Colby Bishop 18, p 69’

Yellow Cards: Ryan Tunnicliffe 77’

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