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Point from Rovers

22 September 2012

Fleetwood Town and Bristol Rovers played out a goalless draw, and while Scott Davies will be happy with a clean sheet, it was a rather off-colour Town side who left the Memorial Stadium with a point.

By Liz Owen

Fleetwood Town and Bristol Rovers played out a goalless draw, and while Scott Davies will be happy with a clean sheet, it was a rather off-colour Town side who left the Memorial Stadium with a point.

Rovers, who started the game in 23rd, were allowed to enjoy a good deal of possession and ventures forward as Town offered little up front, Tuesday’s heavy defeat perhaps weighing on their minds.The first half was relatively quiet as both sides tentatively began to test their opposite numbers. Bristol were naturally low on confidence after a poor start to the season from which they had taken just two points from five games, and manager Mark McGhee had handed starts to goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, Michael Smith and Joe Anyinsah, both outfield players having appeared as substitutes in the Gas’ draw at Plymouth.Town, meanwhile, were not looking quite as threatening in front of goal as they had been on Tuesday. Steven Gillespie, making his first start of the season in place of Jon Parkin, found himself under pressure from Rovers every time he had the ball, while Mangan worked hard to pick up possession from the middle of the park.The visitors, backed by 110 members of the travelling Cod Army at the Memorial Stadium, looked unusually panicky at the back and several sliced clearances were made, although Steve McNulty and Youl Mawene, who reclaimed his place in the side ahead of Ashley Eastham, matched any aerial threat posed by Rovers.Tom Barkhuizen and Barry Nicholson were introduced at half-time in place of Junior Brown and Lee Fowler respectively as Micky Mellon searched for more creativity from his side, while Damien Johnson made way for Alex Marrow later on, but it was Rovers who were quicker off the mark after the interval. The home side had the best chance of the game on the 64th minute after Fabian Broghammer pushed forwards and found David Clarkson lurking in space, but Scott Davies reacted well to save strongly from the Pirates striker.Meanwhile, Barkhuizen was dispossessed as he tried to create Fleetwood’s first strong assault on their opponents of the second half on the hour mark, and while Nicholson was on hand to collect the ball, his attempted pass across to Mangan was hit far too heavily.Not long after the interval, players from both sides had surrounded referee Stephen Martin as he approached his assistant following an incident in Rovers’ penalty area, as Mangan strolled towards the spot clutching the ball, but it was a mere throw-in which was eventually awarded to Town, while Jamie McGuire managed a header on target from the resulting corner.Town’s first attempt on goal came from Mangan inside the first five minutes, whose 25-yard effort sailed just over the crossbar, and the striker made frequent bursts forward attempting to carve out opportunities for his side. Later on in the first half, he managed to pick out Gillespie, who won a corner as a result, and subsequently two scrappy, close-range attempts on goal from both him and McGuire were blocked as Town continued to search for a goal.Although Bristol were often seen to venture forward, Davies, particularly in the first half, had few significant saves to make, dealing with Rovers’ growing confidence as the game progressed. Wayne Brown created the Town ‘keeper’s first real test shortly after the interval after forcing him to dive to his right and save the midfielder’s low strike from inside the area, after good work from Joe Anyinsah. Oliver Norburn followed it up with another close-range effort after Clarkson played him in, following a smooth Rovers ball from the left flank.Mangan managed to set up Gillespie late on, whose first touch let him down as Rovers managed to scramble the ball away, while Barkhuizen’s strike from outside the area flew just over the crossbarm but it was the home side who ended the game the strongest and indeed the ones who had worked the hardest for the point.

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