Bristol Rovers were made to settle for a point as they scrapped out to a 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury Town at the Memorial Stadium.
Ryan Loft’s first home goal at the Mem wasn’t enough as Ryan Bowman clawed back a point for the travelling Salop, who’s winless run is now extended to four matches.
The draw has the Gas positioned in 15th in the League One standings, as they hope to end their three-game winless run with an EFL Trophy clash with Plymouth Argyle.
The match was stop-start in the early stages with both teams seeing their players go down for an injury, though both remained on the pitch. Neither side however could get a footing on to the match.
Rovers were the side with the early pressure and John Marquis forced a save out of the away defence as he twisted and turned before directing his shot at goal.
The hosts rattled the woodwork as Harry Anderson met Antony Evans’ cross but he could only header against the post in a positive start.
Shrewsbury who hadn’t troubled James Belshaw for the opening half-hour nearly got gifted the lead as Kilgour’s back-pass was dangerously close to the goal-line with Shrews players pressuring the goalkeeper.
Before additional time was indicated, the visitors were made into an enforced substitution as Daniel Udoh, unable to shake off a previous knock, was replaced by Rekeil Pyke.
As the seven minutes of stoppage time was shown, Tom Flanagan forced Belshaw into an instinctive save but the linesman’s flag was later shown to let Rovers off.
There was an element of frustration from the home supporters who were displeased by the apparent play-acting of the opposition. An example being that Cheyenne Dunkley miraculously picking himself up from the floor and sprinting to the touch lie after receiving treatment.
Marquis - Roverss’ most creative player at goal - went near once more as his header slowly went past the post in a congested six-yard box.
On-loan Bristol City midfielder Taylor Moore then drove an effort for Belshaw to save before Pyke acrobatically shot wide in a good spell of late pressure from the visitors. To close out the first period, Jordan Shipley then sliced a shot onto the side netting in another missed opportunity.
Shrewsbury continued their attacking threat into the second period with Bayliss sending a shot just past the post after Rovers failed to clear a corner properly.
In an attempt to thwart Shrewsbury’s pressure, Barton went on the offensive by bringing Sam Finley on for Paul Coutts, whilst left-back Lewis Gordon made way for striker Ryan Loft.
They were still able to get shots away though and Belshaw was forced into action once more as he saved Bayliss’ header.
Belshaw’s save proved important as from the next attacking phase the deadlock was broken with the hosts going in front. Loft was found in acres of space to curl past Marko Marosi.
Rovers’ could not hold on to their lead however as their rearguard was eventually broken from failing to clear from a corner-kick. Ryan Bowman came off the bench to lace home from close-range.
In stoppage time, Tom Bloxham was almost red-faced as the Shrewsbury sub almost shot the ball into his own net. A penalty appeal then was turned down as Evans’ cross hit the body of Cheyenne Dunkley.
Shrewsbury further threatened in stoppage time but Rovers were able to battle with them for the remaining minutes, earning a draw.
Bristol Rovers (4-2-3-1): James Belshaw; Luca Hoole, Lewis Gibson, Alfie Kilgour, Lewis Gordon (Ryan Loft, 60), Jordan Rossiter, Paul Coutts (Sam Finley, 60), Harry Anderson, Antony Evans, Aaron Collins; John Marquis (Harvey Saunders, 76)
Yellow Cards: John Marquis 57’
Shrewsbury Town (3-5-1-1): Marko Marosi, Tom Flanagan, Cheyenne Dunkley, Matthew Pennington; George Nurse, Luke Leahy, Taylor Moore, Tom Bayliss (Tom Bloxham, 72), Julien Dacosta (Ryan Bowman, 54), Jordan Shipley, Daniel Udoh (Rekeil Pyke, 41).
Goals: Ryan Bowman, 79’
Yellow Cards: Ryan Bowman 64’