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Match Previews

Match Preview | Bristol Rovers (A)

2 October 2023

Match Previews

Match Preview | Bristol Rovers (A)

2 October 2023

The Valiants are looking to bounce back from Saturday’s narrow defeat against Bolton Wanderers when we make the trip to Bristol Rovers' Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night!

The Valiants currently sit in 6th position in Skybet League One after picking up 17 points from our first ten games.

Last time out, The Vale were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Bolton Wanderers after Dion Charles scored the only goal of the game in the first half, but despite the result, there were once again plenty of positives to take from the performance.

Crosby’s Comments

Here’s what the Gaffer had to say following Saturday’s fixture:

“I think it was the proverbial game of two halves. They are a really good possession-based team and if you give them too much room to play they can do what they did in the first half which is control most of the game. They spent a lot of time in possession and we had to do a lot of running because the pitch was too big. We had to do a lot of chasing and then when you get the ball back you’re invariably more tired than you are normally. We turned possession over more times than we usually do”

“The response from the players second half; we got on the front foot, we were more assertive, we were more aggressive both with and without the ball and we penned them back for long periods of time, like they did to us in the first half. We just couldn’t create that clear opportunity to get ourselves back in the game”

When looking ahead to Tuesday night’s fixture, Andy Crosby said:

We’ll be prepared, we’ll be ready to go and win the game at Bristol Rovers, that’s what we try to do each game. We want to be a front-foot, aggressive, hard-working team. We are right at the start of the season, we’re going to have bumps in the road, and we’re going to have disappointing results when things don’t go quite as we want them to but then it’s about the response and this group as shown already that when we get a disappointing result, we show the response in the next game”

The Opposition

Bristol Rovers currently sit in 14th place in the table after picking up 12 points from their opening nine games of the season.

They come into Tuesday night's fixture off the back of a 2-0 away defeat at Peterborough United. Archie Collins and David Ajiboye scored the goals for the hosts. Prior to that defeat, The Gas were unbeaten in three league games after picking up a draw against Lincoln City and wins against Shrewsbury Town and then more recently Wigan Athletic who they emphatically beat 4-1 at the Memorial Stadium on Saturdau 23rd September.

Bristol Rovers got promoted with the Valiants in the 2021/22 season. Going into the final game of the season Bristol sat in the play-off spaces, one place below Northampton Town who occupied the final automatic promotion spot. However, after thrashing already relegated Scunthorpe United 7-0 on the final day. Bristol dramatically won promotion after leapfrogging Northampton on ‘Goals Scored’ to earn themselves a place in Sky Bet League One.

Bristol Rovers are managed by Joey Barton who has been at the club since February 2021. When he arrived at the Memorial Stadium he had a huge task on his hands to keep the club in League One which he was unable to do. Despite their relegation, the club stuck with Barton and reaped the rewards as they got promoted in their first season back in League Two. Barton guided Bristol Rovers to a third-place finish after that dramatic final-day victory over Scunthorpe United.

Player to Watch – Aaron Collins

The Welshman has been ever present for the Gas over the past three seasons. He has already picked up two goals and two assists so far in his nine league games this season.

Last season, Collins found the net 16 times and set up 11 goals in what was one of his most successful seasons to date. His productive season saw him pick up a handful of awards at the end of the season.

He was named as the Sky Bet League One Player of the Season at the EFL awards, beating Jonson Clark Harris and Barry Bannan to this award as well as being named in the Sky Bet League One Team Of The Season.

Collins also won the Bristol Rovers Golden Boot Award and picked up their Player of the Season award in consecutive seasons.

Last Time We Met

Port Vale 2-0 Bristol Rovers, Saturday 22nd April 2023

When the sides met last season, the hosts won the first game 1-0 at the Memorial Stadium but it was Vale who claimed all three points in the reverse fixture after winning the game 2-0 at Vale Park.

Ellis Harrison gave the Vale the lead when Tom Conlon’s corner was headed back across goal by Will Forrester into the path of Harrison who was able to readjust and acrobatically volleyed into the back of the net to open the scoring against his former club.

In the 29th minute, Harrison controlled David Worrall’s cross into the path of Tom Pett who finished well from inside the box to double Vale’s lead and round off a hectic seven minutes where Vale scored twice in quick to pick up a crucial three points.

Fixture Throwback

Bristol Rovers 1-2 Port Vale, Tuesday 7th December 2021.

When Vale travelled to Bristol Rovers on a wet and windy Tuesday night in 2021, the brave Vale fans were treated to a Ben Garrity brace and a superb defensive performance.

The first key incident in the game came after just fifteen minutes when Sam Finley was shown a straight red card after an off-the-ball altercation with Tom Conlon.

Just after the half-hour mark, Vale made their man advantage count when Ben Garrity diverted Tom Conlon’s freekick into the back of the net off the underside of the crossbar.

Two minutes later Vale’s lead was doubled. Conlon spotted the run of Dennis Politic down the right side, Politic got to the byline and crossed for Garrity who finished well from inside the box to get his second off the game.

In the second half, the hosts pulled a goal back when Aaron Collins fired home a deflected effort that wrongfooted Aidan Stone and nestled into the top right corner.

The hosts had the momentum and looked to push for a leveller but this was hindered when they were reduced to nine men in the 76th minute. Ben Garrity looked to snatch a loose ball off Cian Harries but the Bristol caught Garrity in the face with his boot and was shown a straight red card as he was the last man.

Vale managed to see out the game with their two-man advantage and picked up a vital three points in terrible conditions.


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