Half-time: Bristol Rovers 2 Bradford City 1
On-loan defender Guy Branston scored a goal with his first touch for Bristol Rovers to help put Mark McGhee's side halfway towards a much needed victory at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
Branston, who was signed from Aldershot on Thursday to compensate for a deepening injury crisis, announced himself to supporters in the best way possible by rising highest to connect perfectly with a Jim Paterson corner to offer Rovers a lead inside the first 30 seconds.
The early setback, however, served to shake Phil Parkinson's Bradford side into life and they went on to dominate throughout the early stages. It was little surprise when striker Nahki Wells sprung the offside trap in the 28th minute to level matters.
Groans of discontent echoed around the Memorial Stadium – but those expecting McGhee's men to wilt under the pressure of their latest setback would have been pleasantly surprised when Rovers regained the initiative just four minutes later.
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Tom Eaves was the supplier of good fortune on this occasion when controlling a ball aimed in his direction on the edge of the penalty area before swivelling to arrow a shot that beat goalkeeper Matt Duke at his near-post.
Branston, meanwhile, was one of five changes McGhee had made to his side in response to a confidence-shattering defeat at Port Vale on Tuesday night.
The defender went straight into the side alongside Garry Kenneth, who returned from suspension, as a replacement for Tom Parkes, who had left Vale Park with an ankle injury that is expected to keep him out of the team for at least a fortnight.
Elsewhere, on-loan goalkeeper Sam Walker started after Fulham recalled Neil Etheridge on Wednesday, while Jim Paterson and Danny Woodards made up the remainder of the back four.
Michael Smith was moved into the centre of midfield to add some bite alongside Seanan Clucas after Matt Lund failed a late fitness test. Wayne Brown and Derek Riordan patrolled the flanks. Joe Anyinsah returned up front in place of Fabian Broghammer, who missed out because of illness.
Rovers (4-4-2): Walker; Woodards, Kenneth, Branston, Paterson; W Brown; Smith, Clucas, Riordan; Eaves, Anyinsah. Subs: Gough, Gill, L Brown, Norburn, Harding, Lockyer, Santos.
Bradford (4-4-2): Duke; Darby, McArdle, McHugh, Meredith; Thompson, G Jones, Doyle, Atkinson; Hanson, Wells. Subs: McLaughlin, Ravenhill, R Jones, Forsyth, Connell, Naylor, Turgott.