Despite not playing last Saturday, the weekend’s results were kind to Bristol Rovers who stayed out of the relegation places on goal difference and with a game in hand against fellow strugglers in the lower reaches of League One, writes Stephen Knowlson.

But Tuesday night’s fixture at Portsmouth looked like a stern test of Graham Coughlan’s improving team, with the Fratton Park outfit challenging for an automatic promotion berth.

Deadline day signing Jonson Clarke-Harris was handed his first start alongside Jakubiak as Coughlan went with physicality up front against Pompey.

The strategy worked as Rovers were the better side in the first half, testing MacGillivray in the host’s goal after seven minutes and then deservedly taking the lead eight minutes before the break. Clarke-Harris drew a foul in the penalty area and then confidently dispatched the spot kick to open his Rovers account.

Portsmouth barely troubled Bonham in the Rovers goal for the rest of the half as the away defence stood firm.

The second half followed a similar pattern until a combination of James Clarke and Omar Bogle bundled the ball over the line on 58 minutes – although the head of the Rovers defender appeared to get the final touch. Just five minutes later Rovers had a golden opportunity to retake the lead when Clarke was fouled in the box and referee Neil Hair pointed to the spot.

This time Clarke-Harris got it horribly wrong and blazed over the bar from 12 yards. The miss was tough on the Gas who were the better team for large parts of the game. Neither side threatened much for the final 25 minutes as the match ended 1-1 and Rovers took a deserved point back home.

We could have and should have had more, but a point away to a top-four team is a decent result. The game showcased Rovers’ defensive prowess with Bonham only having to make a couple of comfortable saves with the men in front of him putting in an excellent shift. Lockyer and Craig in particular were highly effective.

Rovers move up to 19th, a point above the bottom four and still with a game in hand over most teams around them. The tricky fixtures keep coming with another big game at home to Sunderland this Saturday.