After a three-week break, Bristol Rovers returned to league action with an absolute thriller at Shrewsbury, writes Steve Knowlson.

Rovers fans were disappointed to learn that star striker Jonson Clarke-Harris had picked up a knock so wouldn’t be travelling up to Shropshire but the 831 Gasheads who made the trip to the New Meadow were treated to a roller-coaster seven-goal spectacle.

The manager opted to play Victor Adeboyejo up front with Liam Sercombe in support and Ollie Clarke playing a more attacking midfield role.

The match couldn’t have started much better for Rovers when Tony Craig’s powerful header from Sercombe’s excellent corner gave Murphy in the Shrewsbury goal no chance after just nine minutes.

Town thought they should have had a penalty when Thompson was felled by Kilgour in the box and the resulting melee saw the referee dish out six yellow cards as the already feisty encounter threatened to boil over.

Minutes later we went two up when Ollie Clarke toe-poked home Mark Little’s mishit shot, but in a breathless first half our two-goal lead didn’t last as Shrewsbury halved the arrears with Josh Laurent’s well-hit strike on 37 minutes.

It didn’t take long for Rovers to restore the two goal lead – when just two minutes into the second half Murphy took an ill-advised stroll outside his area, weakly cleared to Sercombe who then deliciously chipped the stranded keeper from 30 yards.

The two-goal cushion was wiped out in just five minutes after the hour mark when the Shrews hit us with two quick goals, the first from former Rovers midfielder Ollie Norburn’s low free kick and a second goal headed in by Laurent.

Neither team was prepared to settle for a point in this full-blooded encounter but it was the Gas who triumphed. Abu Ogogo was the Shrewsbury captain when they came close to promotion two years ago, but he popped up to condemn his former employers to a home defeat with a neat finish four minutes from time to send the Gas faithful home in fine spirits.

The victory keeps us just a point off the playoffs in ninth. This Saturday sees the visit of Plymouth Argyle in the second round of the FA Cup.