Full-time: Lee Brown and Eliot Richards on target for Bristol Rovers in 2-0 victory at Oxford United
Lee Brown and Eliot Richards scored second-half goals to ensure Bristol Rovers claimed a victory at Oxford United for the first time in a decade at the Kassam Stadium this afternoon.
Brown sent Oxford United goalkeeper Luke McCormick the wrong way at the second attempt after the referee ordered a retake in the 55th minute to ensure Rovers secured their first victory at the Kassam Stadium since a solitary Andy Rammell goal wrapped up a 1-0 success in April, 2003.
Eliot Richards then slotted past McCormick in injury-time to kill the game off and add further momentum to Rovers survival bid with a fifth win in eight games following the appointment of John Ward to succeed Mark McGhee – a run which has seen the team open up a five-point cushion between themselves and the bottom two.
There hadn't been much to choose between the sides in the opening 45 minutes – although Oxford were denied both times after carving out the best two openings of the half.
This week's delicious £5 5 O'CLOCKTAIL is a refreshing Tequila Sunrise. Available everyday from our Bar for only £5 between 5pm & 7pm.
Terms: £5 cocktail applies to the cocktail of the week.
Contact: 0117 2448281
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
Chris Wilder's side enjoyed some neat passages of possession and succession of corner kicks – but failed to ask any real questions of Rovers goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall until a 37th minute effort by James Constable from inside the penalty area had to be athletically repelled.
Skipper Tom Parkes was also forced into a goal-denying block at the far post to prevent substitute Alfie Potter from opening the scoring minutes before the end of a keenly-contested opening period.
Rovers, meanwhile, in keeping with recent performances, were dogged and pragmatic in their attempts to work their way into the game.
A couple of wayward John-Joe O'Toole shots from distance was the sum total of their attacking parts as their game-plan designed to frustrate their opponents ensured that the scoreline remained goalless as both sides headed down the tunnel for a break.
Sean Rigg created the first opening of the second-half when skipping around the area unchallenged before delivering a shot that crept inches wide of the post.
Minutes later, however, Rovers were in front; Ryan Brunt needlessly felled inside the outer reaches of the penalty area by Oxford skipper Jake Wright.
Brown sent Luke McCormick the wrong way with his spot-kick – but encroachment meant he had to do it again. The defender showed ice-cool nerve, however, to put the second kick in exactly the same place to offer Rovers a 55th minute lead.
Rovers were resigned to a period of pressure in the aftermath of the opener and Ward moved to change things up with the introduction David Clarkson for Joe Anyinsah.
A forced change followed in the 65th minute; Danny Woodards having to leave the field with a towel pressed to a nasty-looking head injury after high-footed challenge from Oxford midfielder Lewis Montrose.
Fabian Broghammer arrived in his place – but within seconds Oxford would have been level had Constable managed to keep his effort from close-range underneath the crossbar following an inviting cross off the boot of left-back Liam Davis.
Harry Worley also went close with a header seconds after McCormick came out on top in one-on-one duel with Broghammer in the 86th minute. The Oxford goalkeeper, however, was no match for Richards when he steamed through on goal seconds before the referee brought proceedings to an end.
Rovers (4-5-1): Mildenhall; Smith, Parkes, McChrystal, Brown; Anyinsah (Clarkson, 61) Norburn (Richards, 79), Clucas, O'Toole, Woodards (Broghammer, 67); Brunt. Subs: Harrison, Gough, McDonald, Hitchcock.
Oxford United (4-3-3): McCormick; Batt, Raynes (Worley, 87) Wright, Davis; Chapman, Montrose, Capaldi (Parker, 56); Rigg, Constable, Richards (Potter, 35). Subs: Smalley, Whing, O'Brien, Crocombe.