EASTER TIME COMES EARLY FOR ROVERS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Richard Latham

Dar­rell Clarke reck­ons League Two is about to see the best of jour­ney­man striker Jer­maine Easter.

The for­mer Wales in­ter­na­tional has been plagued by in­juries since join­ing Rovers last Jan­uary and has been grad­u­ally build­ing match fit­ness af­ter miss­ing much of the build-up to the new cam­paign.

But af­ter see­ing Easter hit a post and then net the sec­ond goal in a con­vinc­ing win over the club who pipped his side to the Con­fer­ence ti­tle last sea­son, man­ager Clarke was un­der­stand­ably de­lighted.

He said: “I knew what I was get­ting when I signed Jer­maine. The other play­ers look up to him and there has never been any doubt about his abil­ity.

“He has had his prob­lems since sign­ing for us, but now he is off the mark for the sea­son, which is good for the con­fi­dence of any striker, I’m sure we will see the best of him.

“We have had a great week, with nine points from three games. The per­for­mance wasn’t out­stand­ing and there was a heated dis­cus­sion in the dress­ing room at half time.

“Los­ing Dan Lead­bit­ter with a ham­string in­jury in the first half meant we had to re­or­gan­ise. But we are adapt­able as a side be­cause the play­ers are pre­pared to lis­ten.

“The first goal was some­thing we worked on in train­ing and when they come off it is al­ways sat­is­fy­ing.

“Bar­net played their part in an en­ter­tain­ing game and I hope our fans went home happy.” Rovers were ahead in­side three min­utes when Chris Lines played a right-wing cor­ner into the path of Lee Brown 30 yards from goal and the wing-back’s low drive flew through a crowded box to beat Graham Stack.

Easter made it 2-0 on 77 min­utes. Hav­ing struck the wood­work ear­lier in the sec­ond half, he fired con­fi­dently home af­ter a Matt Tay­lor ef­fort had been blocked. Skip­per Curtis We­ston gave Bar­net hope on 85 min­utes with a close-range fin­ish af­ter be­ing put through by Sam Mug­gle­ton de­flect­ing a shot into his path.

It was a rare mo­ment to cheer for vis­it­ing fans though and sub­sti­tute Tay­lor clinched the points mo­ments later with a low shot from ten yards af­ter be­ing set up by Lines.

Rovers had dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion in the first half, but Bar­net went close too.

Bondz N’Gala was just wide with a header a quar­ter of an hour in and John Akinde’s 40th-minute shot was saved by the out­stretched leg of Rovers keeper Aaron Chap­man.

In the sec­ond half the visi­tors might have lev­elled just be­fore Easter’s goal: Bira Dem­bele pro­duc­ing an air shot with the goal at his mercy.

Bar­net boss Martin Allen had few com­plaints.

“Rovers thor­oughly de­served to win and were the best side we have played so far this sea­son,” he said.

“I felt we might have had a penalty when a shot was blocked by one of their play­ers.

“The ref­eree told me the ball has struck an arm, but didn’t feel it was wor­thy of a spot kick.

“We were a bit down on pre­vi­ous dis­plays and I have to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for that. Per­haps I should have made more changes.

“Most coaches would be happy to see a cor­ner played back to a player 30 yards from goal. But it was a good strike so fair play to Rovers for that one.

“My lads never give up and it was just a shame we con­ceded so quickly af­ter get­ting the score back to 2-1.

“But we had set­backs last sea­son and will again dust our­selves down and go again.”

OPENER: Lee Brown scores the first goal for Bristol Rovers

STAR MAN STUAR

T SINCLA

IR Bristol

Rovers

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