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MATCH PREVIEW | Bristol Rovers (H)

21 April 2023

Vale return to Vale Park on Saturday as they face Bristol Rovers in their penultimate game at Vale Park.

Gas currently sit 15th in League with 52 points on the board, whilst Vale are three places lower in 18th with 46 points.

It is sure to be an exciting clash in Burslem, here is some interesting pre-match reading before the two sides meet at the weekend.

The view from Andy Crosby:

Crosby said: “We have to approach this game in a different manner [to Ipswich]; we want to be positive, we want to be on the front foot, to energise the crowd, to energise our team and that’s what we will be looking to do.

“In terms of the crowd, they can absolutely play a massive part. I think that they can bring energy to the team. It is important that we start on the front foot, that we’re aggressive, and that they see that but 100% they need to get behind the team.

“The team are going to go out tomorrow and I can guarantee that they will give absolutely everything for 90 minutes, 95 minutes whatever it is. Whichever individual is representing our football club tomorrow, we’ll give it everything.”

Opposition Boss’ thoughts

Rovers Manager, Joey Barton, said to : “[Vale] had a tough game at Ipswich – took the lead – and unfortunately for them they didn’t manage to get maximum points.

“It was certainly a different type of performance, I expect it to be slightly different because they are at home and not playing top of the table away, so we expect them to have a little more attacking ambition.

“We know it will be a tough fixture and we will have to be at our best to take maximum points.”

Fixture Flashback:

Sky Bet League Two, Vale Park, Tuesday 20th November 2012: Port Vale 4-0 Bristol Rovers

A decade ago, Tom Pope was in the form of his life, and when the Gas came to town, he lit up Vale Park with a hattrick as the Valiants secured a 4-0 win.

The Vale legend’s goals meant he became the quickest Valiant ever to net 20 goals in a season when he netted twice in the first half and once in the second with Ben Williamson also grabbing a goal.

Pope opened the scoring for the Valiants after 20 minutes with a sublime strike from 18 yards after he took down a long ball.

It didn’t take long for the striker to add his and Vale’s second of the match as he finished Ashley Vincent’s venomous cross.

Vale got their third ten minutes before the break, but this time it wasn’t Pope with the finish, it was his strike partner Williamson on hand to finish a strong move.

However, Pope did secure his hattrick in the second half with just over 20 minutes to go, netting a spectacular header from 16 yards out.

The former Valiant carried on his form throughout that season as we secured promotion to League One during the 2012/13 campaign, a brilliant achievement.

Reverse Fixture:

Sky Bet League One, The Mem, Saturday 10th December 2022: Bristol Rovers 1-0 Port Vale

Back in December, an 87th-minute strike from Bristol Rovers forward Aaron Collins proved to be the difference as the Vale fell to defeat at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Following a hard-fought contest that could have gone either way, the Vale headed back up the M5 with no points, with the majority of Vale’s chances coming in the first half of the clash in Gloucestershire.

The winner came three minutes from time as Rovers cleared long and Collins battled to win possession before firing beyond Stevens from 22 yards.

The Vale started brightly and created a brilliant opportunity to open the scoring with just 90 seconds on the clock as Harrison judged the bounce of the ball well and played in Politic, who was denied by an excellent block from Rovers defender Bobby Thomas.

On just seven minutes, Clarke’s side created another chance as James Wilson won possession high up the pitch on the right and threaded a pass into the path of Harrison, who saw his low and curled effort excellently saved by James Belshaw in the Rovers goal.

Josh Coburn then fired a powerful effort wide of Jack Stevens’ left-hand post as the opening 15 minutes saw both sides go close in search of an early opener.

Nathan Smith then had to be alert to deny Lewis Gordon with a last-ditch challenge as the Rovers winger looked to break into the penalty area.

On the stroke of half-time, Harrison was presented with another chance as he met Conlon’s deep free kick at the back post but didn’t make a clean connection to test Belshaw in the Rovers goal.

The second half remained as close as the first and it took until the hour mark for either side to create a clear opportunity, with Vale thankful to keeper Stevens, who denied Coburn at his near post after a well-worked move from the hosts.

Just over ten minutes from time and the hosts created a further opening as Coburn broke on the left and crossed to the back post, where Stevens parried the ball away but into the path of Sinclair, who slid the ball wide.

Substitute Butterworth fired a late effort over for the Vale, who threw bodies forward in search of an equaliser but couldn’t find the leveller.


18/03/23: Bristol Rovers 0-2 Portsmouth, Sky Bet League One

07/04/23: Bristol Rovers 1-0 Charlton Athletic, Sky Bet League One

10/04/23: Fleetwood Town 1-2 Bristol Rovers, Sky Bet League One

15/04/23: Bristol Rovers 1-1 Derby County, Sky Bet League One

18/04/23: Bristol Rovers 1-2 Sheffield Wednesday, Sky Bet League One


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