3pm, Saturday 2nd April 2022
The Memorial Stadium
Bristol Rovers overcame a resilient Bradford City side to keep their automatic playoff hopes alive for another week. Goals from Sam Finley and Connor Taylor won the game for The Gas. Rovers are 5th in the league table, level on points with third placed Port Vale.
The game started at a cracking pace, with Rovers making all the early action. Lots of possession in dangerous areas but with no end product.
As the half wore on, Bradford City got back into the game and were starting to exert some pressure of their own, but never looked likely to score.
Sam Finley had an excellent game, full of energy and creativity. He was at the heart of everything going forward an quite rightly earned the man of the match award. He was excellent.
Trevor Clarke struggled all game at left back, but this was not surprising given the lack of match time. He was solid enough and make some positive contributions. Hopefully the match time will do him good.
Sam Nicholson chased everything as always, and linked up with Sam Finley well but was fairly quiet overall today.
Elliot Anderson had a quiet first half, but was his usual excellent self in the second half, unlucky not to get on the scoresheet when he was fouled whilst through on goal. Despite being held, he got his shot away was was off balance.
The defence were solid all game, Hoole looks assured, Taylor and Connolly were rocks as always. Belshaw had very little to do all game.
Collins led the line well, and was unlucky not to score today. His best chance came in the second half when clear on goal but was then taken out in a classic professional foul. We were all surprised when the Bradford player got away with a yellow. Looked a clear red from where I was. Collins also missed a couple of half chances which would have put this game to bed. On another day we would have won this game 3-0.
Rovers were much better in the second half, and once Bradford got their freak goal right on kickoff, it was mostly all Rovers. I think most people in the stadium missed the goal. I only saw it after the net had bulged. That was not the start to the second half that we wanted. Luckily, this Rovers team has character and fights right to the final whistle.
Luke Thomas made a really good impact off the bench, he caused lots of problems down the right.
Lovely goal by Sam Finley, excellent finish. I can’t wait to see that one again! We certainly have been blessed with some quality goals this season!
The winner came from a scrambled goal by Connor Taylor from a set piece on the left side, really pleased for him getting his second goal for The Gas. Worrying few minutes for him with his chest problem afterwards. Glad to see he could continue. I hope he is ok.
The game was fairly comfortable in the end, we managed to see the game out with no late drama. We deserved to win. Dominated possession and chances. It was a professional performance and exactly what was needed.
Three points gained, we are still in the hunt for playoffs / automatic promotion. On to Tranmere and another cup final.