CLARKE’S PRIDE AT FIGHT­BACK

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Nick Sellers

BRIS­TOL Rovers boss Dar­rell Clarke couldn’t hide his de­light af­ter his side high­lighed their pro­mo­tion cre­den­tials with a stun­ning win in the Sev­ern­side derby at New­port County.

Rovers were beaten 4-1 at home by near neigh­bours New­port in Oc­to­ber and must have feared the worst when Alex Rod­man fired in off a post from the edge of the area in only the se­cond minute to give the hosts the lead.

But they were hauled back into the con­test by a man who only found out he was play­ing min­utes be­fore kick-off.

Lee Mansell was named in the vis­i­tors’ start­ing XI but suf­fered a calf in­jury in the warm-up on the sand-cov­ered sur­face at Rod­ney Pa­rade.

Ol­lie Clarke was swiftly drafted in as a last-minute re­place­ment and he didn’t waste his chance to im­press.The mid­fielder was given too much time and space on the edge of the New­port area af­ter 15 min­utes and promptly found the top cor­ner of Joe Day’s net with a stun­ning strike right in front of the 1,000 trav­el­ling fans.

And se­cond-half goals from Cris­tian Mon­tano, shoot­ing through a for­est of legs, Matty Tay­lor, cap­i­tal­is­ing on a de­fen­sive er­ror to find the bot­tom cor­ner, and New­port-born sub­sti­tute El­lis Har­ri­son, with a neat fin­ish five min­utes from time, com­pleted the come­back and sealed a fifth straight win for Rovers.

“It’s an ex­cel­lent three points and a re­ally good, strong per­for­mance,” said boss Dar­rell Clarke.

“We had an early set back but the group re­sponded ter­rif­i­cally. It was a great strike by Ol­lie, who I thought was out­stand­ing on the day, but I thought the whole per­for­mance was strong on a very dif­fi­cult sur­face.

“We stuck to our prin­ci­ples of try­ing to play foot­ball and we were clin­i­cal in front of goal.

“There’s a to­geth­er­ness about us now and to win five games on the spin at any level is ab­so­lutely mag­nif­i­cent.

“But we won’t get car­ried away. We’ve got a tough Easter pe­riod now and we’ll keep go­ing and try­ing to put pres­sure on the teams above us.”

New­port man­ager War­ren Feeney knows his side should be safe from the drop af­ter last week’s 3-0 win at Portsmouth, and he felt the mar­gin of vic­tory flat­tered the Pi­rates af­ter an evenly con­tested first half.

“We are very dis­ap­pointed with the man­ner of the goals we con­ceded,” he said.

“We got off to a very good start and I didn’t think there was much in the game.

“But the first goal we didn’t close the ball down, se­cond goal was a set-play, the third goal was a hope­ful ball into the box and the fourth goal is a mis­take.

“I didn’t think there was much in the game but you can see why they are where they are in the ta­ble.

“It’s been a big month and the play­ers have been fan­tas­tic. I hate get­ting beat but I’m not go­ing to dwell on it be­cause we’ve got ev­ery chance of get­ting a re­sult at Northamp­ton.”

PIC­TURES: JMP

WHAT A HIT: Matt Tay­lor of Bris­tol Rovers scores GIVE ME A HUG: Matt Tay­lor of Bris­tol Rovers cel­e­brates with Cris­tian Mon­tano

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