Gas Gossip

Two wins and two clean sheets in the space of three days saw Bristol Rovers rise to the giddy heights of 16th in League One writes Steve Knowlson.

Last Saturday, a tough away trip to Scunthorpe United saw Rovers return to the West Country with a maximum points.

The Glanford Park outfit had a decent home record, unbeaten on their own turf since Boxing Day, but Rovers recent fine form on the road brought that run to an end with a performance built on a solid defence.

The first half was surprisingly open with both teams looking to open the scoring in the early stages of the game.

Adam Hammill twice went close for the hosts before Michael Kelly blasted over the bar from 25 yards and Liam Sercombe hit a post for the Gas.

On 35 minutes the deadlock was broken by Rovers in-form striker, Jonson Clarke-Harris.

A slick passing move down the right saw Tom Nichols cut the ball back to Clarke-Harris who controlled it before slotting into the corner of the Scunny goal.

It was a fifth goal in as many games for the big forward and a seventh assist of the season for his strike partner.

There was less attacking intent from the visitors in the second half as they sought to limit the Iron’s chances who had the lion’s share of possession without doing much with it.

A fruitless goalmouth scramble and a smart save by Jack Bonham from Kevin Van Veen was as close as they came.

Another Clarke-Harris goal secured another three points for Rovers on the road on Tuesday – and what a goal it was. Just before the hour mark, Clarke-Harris received the ball, drove forward and unleashed an absolute rocket from 25 yards into the top left corner of the Gillingham goal.

Again, a fine defensive performance complimented the big striker’s moment of brilliance with Ollie Clarke, Tony Craig and captain Tom Lockyer, who had received another Wales international call-up that day, all shining in the 1-0 victory at the Priestfield Stadium.

With only the top three sides in League One conceding fewer goals than Rovers and Clarke-Harris in such scintillating form, Gasheads have renewed cause for optimism as we fight to stay in the third tier.

That fight continues with the visit of high-flying Charlton Athletic on Saturday.