ROVERS climbed out of the League One relegation places with a deserved win at Southend last Saturday, writes Steve Knowlson.

The 2-1 victory was a just reward for an excellent display away from home that saw Rovers dominate the first half and see out the second with an assured performance.

The Gas made a fast start at Roots Hall looking to get in behind the Shrimpers defence at every opportunity. The much-maligned Nichols was causing their backline problems with his willingness to chase down lost causes and on the 19th minute he nicked the ball off the advancing keeper and fed Sercombe who slotted in to give Rovers the lead.

Ten minutes later the forward played a lovely ball in behind sending strike partner Gavin Reilly racing through to calmly finish under the keeper. The Gas were good value for their two-goal cushion but were brought back down to earth was Bonham parried a save into the path of Southend striker Simon Cox which the Welshman buried in the back of the Rovers net.

After an excellent first half the Pirates eased off in the second period, but still had arguably the better of the chances. Reilly smashed a shot against the crossbar whilst at the other end Cox had a goal correctly chalked off for offside.

Southend never truly troubled Bonham further as the Rovers defence held firm with skipper Tom Lockyer in imperious form in the heart of it and the three points safely heading back to the West Country.

Travelling Gasheads had a look at the club’s transfer deadline day signings, with former Coventry and Shrewsbury player Abu Ogogo adding impressive grit to the central midfield and new striker Jonson Clarke-Harris giving a 30 minute cameo full of bustling endeavour.

We haven’t had a proper big man up front for years and he certainly put himself about at Roots Hall. Hopefully he’ll give us a different option up front in our battle to beat the drop. Deadline day also saw a number of departures with Kyle Bennett and Stefan Payne departing to Swindon and Shrewsbury respectively.

A massive game awaits on Saturday when fellow strugglers Shrewsbury visit the Mem – it’s essential that we put daylight between us and 21st place by taking all three points.