Half-time: Bristol Rovers 1 Burton Albion 0
Bristol Rovers striker Ryan Brunt has marked his return to the starting line-up with a goal that has offered John Ward’s side a deserving half-time lead.
Brunt, who has missed the last two games with a knee injury, took just five minutes to register what was his third goal since arriving from Stoke City in January when tapping in from close-range to open the scoring.
The lead is the least Rovers deserved after starting the game with high intensity before going on to dominate proceedings throughout an opening period during which Tom Parkes was only prevented from doubling the advantage by the heroics of Burton goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson on two separate occasions.
John-Joe O’Toole also had a fierce shot from the edge of the box headed away when it looked certain to end up in the back of the net, while, at the other end, promotion-chasing Burton, who had scored 11 goals in their last three games, failed to unduly trouble Rovers goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall at all.
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The loss of Joe Anyinsah, who played an important part in the inception of the opening goal with a direct run and cross to set up the inviting chance, to injury in the 25th minute, has been the only concern for Ward in an otherwise positive first-half display from his side.
The manager, meanwhile, handed exciting youngster Ellis Harrison his first start at the Memorial Stadium in a side that showed two changes.
Harrison, 19, has showed no sign of nerves during 45 minutes in which he has generally been tidy in possession and has been willing to test Burton full-back Anthony O’Connor with some direct and penetrating runs down the left flank.
New signing Oumare Tounkara, who hasn’t played a competitive game since last season, started on the bench.
Bristol Rovers (4-4-2): Mildenhall; Smith, Parkes, McChrystal, Brown; Anyinsah (Norburn, 25), O’Toole, Woodards, Harrison; Richards, Brunt. Subs: Gough, Paterson, Virgo, McDonald, Hitchcock, Tounkara.
Burton Albion (4-4-2): Tomlinson, O’Connor, Holness, Sharps, McCrory; MacDonald, Weir, Bell, Magahoma; Kee, Symes. Subs: Lyness, Corbett, Diamond, Zola, Phillips, Paterson, Dyer.