Mangotsfield United edged a 5 goal thriller to gain revenge for the defeat by the same score line at Winterfield Road back on Boxing Day.
Both sides began brightly aided by the rain which saw both sides lose their footing at times and made for some slick passing. In the 9th minute ex Rovers’ loan signing, Sean Seavil sent a free kick into the Rovers’ box which keeper, Kyle Phillips
, touched out for a corner from the right, which was taken short to Kyle Tooze, whose shot was well saved by Phillips and the follow up effort was blocked by a defender.
Rovers’ relief was short lived as defender Stuart Tovey, was adjudged to have clipped the heels of Karin Rendall in the box in the 12th minute and United skipper, Lee Marshall, made no mistake with the spot kick.
The home side doubled their lead in the 23rd minute as a hopeful ball forward saw Phillips leave his line and send his clearance straight to Noah Keats who calmly lobbed the ball over the retreating keeper and into the net from just inside the opposition half.
The visitors responded well as Adam Mahdi saw his volley blocked by a defender and then James Billing
failed to connect with an attempted volley from Mahdi’s cross before on 36 minutes the arrears were reduced. Ben Lacey
’s pass down the left wing saw Jack Allward race away and his ball across the box picked out Mahdi who took the ball past the home keeper, Chris Astley before firing home past two covering defenders on the line.
Rovers then spurned a chance to draw level as Lacey at the near post headed over from an Allward cross. It was to prove costly as in the 43rd minute the hosts restored their two goal advantage as Keats picked out Tooze with a great pass and although Phillips did well to save the initial shot, the follow up saw Alex Hoyle lash the ball home.
However Rovers pulled another goal back just before the interval as Marcus Mapstone
intercepted on the half way line and wide on the left before volleying a ball into the box which Billing did well to turn past Astley and into the net. Indeed Rovers were unfortunate not to go to the break level as a corner from the right in injury time saw Scott Brice
’s header cleared off the line and Dan Cleverley
’s follow up volley was blocked by some desperate defending.
The second half lacked goals but not excitement as Tooze was denied by Phillips and Astley claimed a Mahdi free kick at the second attempt and a weak effort from Lacey from the edge of the box. With Rovers pressing for an equaliser United always looked dangerous on the break, particularly through Rendall’s pace down the left and his run and cross on 62 deserved a better result than Keats’ sliced shot wide. Rendall then went clear again and this time opted to shoot but Phillips did well to turn it out for a corner.
Rovers huffed and puffed but rarely looked like getting the goal they desperately needed and in the end Mitchell Page spurned two great chances to made the victory secure as first he just failed to make contact with an attempted diving effort from Rendall’s cross and then he appeared to miss an easy tap in after great work down the right by Tooze.
Rovers: Kyle Phillips
, Stuart Tovey, Jack Allward, Ben Osman (Lee Bryant 66 mins), Marcus Mapstone
, Scott Brice
, Adam Mahdi (Ryan Gay 66 mins), Craig Loxton, James Billing
, Dan Cleverley
(C), Ben Lacey
Subs not used: Lee Davidson, Ben Bicknell, Tom Park.
Rovers' Star Man Jack Allward.
Referee: David Ricketts
Assts: Adrian Hunt / Shaun Tobin