After last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Sunderland Bristol Rovers manager, Ben Garner, complained bitterly about the refereeing performance, writes Steve Knowlson.

It’s true that Ben Toner, the man in the middle, made some questionable decisions but this defeat was not one born out of poor refereeing, it was simply that Rovers were not good enough.

From the outset Sunderland were utterly dominant and penned Rovers back for virtually the entire first half. Some last ditch tackles, blocks and clearances off the line kept the Black Cats out but we offered no offensive threat or attacking outlet whatsoever, so the ball kept coming back at our defence time after time.

Parking the bus for an entire 90 minutes rarely works but with almost an hour gone and with Sunderland no nearer to putting the ball in the net, perhaps Rovers started to think that they could hold out. That was until Abu Ogogo had a rush of blood and lashed out at Chris Maguire after the pair tangled just before the hour mark. Toner had no hesitation in showing the Gas midfielder a straight red and it didn’t take long for the 10 men in blue and white quarters to crumble in the face of the subsequent Sunderland onslaught.

Gooch finished off a good move to put the home side 1-0 up on 71 minutes before Charlie Wyke beat Jamal Blackman in the Rovers goal just two minutes later to double their lead. Luke O’Nien completed the scoring to make it three Sunderland goals in 11 second half minutes, with the home side running out comfortable and comprehensive winners.

After the home victory against Blackpool Garner now needs to go back to the drawing board because this toothless performance was very disappointing. Almost a thousand loyal Gasheads made the 600 mile round trip to the North East and sung their hearts out for the team, but were given very little back by the men on the pitch.

Hard work on the training pitch - especially for our misfiring midfield and blunt attack – is needed before we entertain Shrewsbury Town at the Mem this Saturday.