Bristol Rovers 0-0 Mansfield Town: player ratings, MOTM, heroes & villains as Gas held to draw

It was a day for the defenders as Bristol Rovers and Mansfield Town both drew a blank at the Memorial Stadium.

<p>Luca Hoole was one of the key performers against Mansfield Town. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)</p>

Luca Hoole was one of the key performers against Mansfield Town. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

Bristol Rovers and Mansfield Town played to a goalless draw at the Memorial Stadium as the Gas’ League Two push for a play-off spot suffered another roadblock.

Neither side could find the breakthrough and there weren’t many chances to shout about though Rovers did shade the second-half after a drab first performance.

Mansfield will have been the happier of the two sides as their run has been extended to 11 games and they remain in the play-off spots though they did drop a place today.

Below we take a look at who came out of today’s match with the credit and those who didn’t have the best of afternoons.

Another strong showing from on-loan defender Connor Taylor. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

The heroes

Connor Taylor: It was a welcome return to the side for Tayor this afternoon after he was withdrawn at the last minute against Oldham.

Taylor, alongside James Connolly, continued to build on their partnership that started back in January.

Clean sheets are a good indicator of a good defence and this is the second one they’ve picked up when playing together.

Taylor’s individual performance saw him make a number of good blocks as well as some well-timed tackles in the box.

He put himself in the way of multiple Mansfield shots came at him and once again showed how he already has a good understanding of the game at his age.

Taylor successfully won all the tackles completed, as well as making four clearances, three interceptions and five recoveries.

You can see why he was named in the EFL’s best team under the age of 21-years-old, earlier this week.

Luca Hoole: Earlier this week, Hoole was handed a new two-year contract with the club, which highlighted how the club believes in him. He rewarded them today with a composed performance at right-back.

Joey Barton has spoken about managing Josh Grant’s load because he doesn’t want to risk him getting injured, so on this showing, Rovers know they have a good option in that area.

Hoole had a number of opponents that he had to deal with, all with a good amount of experience in senior football. He coped well though with the challenge of both Jamie Murphy and Jordan Bowery.

A joint rating on FotMob with Connor Taylor, Hoole registered a 7.3 with the football data website. He was composed in possession and according to the stats, 70% of his 23 passes were successful. His balls down the line caused some problems in the second-half with the wind on their side.

He may not have gone in for any tackles but he won 80% of his ground duels, as well as 75% of his aerial duels.

The villains

John Bushby: The referee missed an obvious penalty shout at around the 63rd minute with Aaron Collins going down under the challenge.

He was adamant that Collins had gone down too easy in the box and quickly brandished the yellow card for diving.

Admittedly Bushby and his linesmen have lines of communication but there wasn’t a pause to assess the situation. It can be seen that the referee and officials are confident in their decision but this was a match point they could have assessed with a bit more time.

“I think he’s the only man in the stadium who doesn’t think that’s a penalty,” said Joey Barton in his post-match presser.

“I think even every person involved with Mansfield knows that’s a penalty.

“It’s disappointing because it would have been a really good three points, three points I felt we deserved on the balance of play in the second half.”

The weather: Sorry, but it was that kind of game that you have to blame the weather for the lack of entertainment on offer today. In the first-half, Rovers’ were playing against the wind so they weren’t able to play a smooth passing game, they saw their passes go out of play.

It got better in the second-half with it being bitterly cold rather than the torrential rain we saw in the first period. Neither team though grabbed the game by the scruff though.

Player ratings

Bristol Rovers (4-2-3-1): James Belshaw 7, James Connolly 7, Sam Finley, Aaron Collins, Sam Nicholson 7, Elliot Anderson 7,  Paul Coutts 7, Nick Anderton 6, Connor Taylor 8, Harry Anderson 6, (Harvey Saunders, N/A, 87), Luca Hoole 8.

Mansfield Town (3-4-3): Nathan Bishop 6, Elliott Hewitt 6, John-Joe O’Toole 6, Oliver Hawkins 7, Jordan Bowery 6, Matty Longstaff 7, Ollie Clarke 6, Stephen Quinn 6 (George Maris 6, 66), Jamie Murphy 7 (Ryan Stirk, 91), Rhys Oates 6, (Danny Johnson, 6, 71), Lucas Akins 7.

Man of the Match

Another solid showing from centre-back Connor Taylor earned him the sponsors man-of-the-match award. No complaints here as the Stoke City defender picked up a clean sheet. 

What’s next?

Another home game follows after this match with Sutton United making the visit to the Mem on Tuesday (February 15).

For Mansfield, they aren’t in action in midweek and instead play next Saturday away at Newport County.