CLARKE’S RE­FUS­ING TO RE­LAX JUST YET

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

DAR­RELL Clarke brushed aside plau­dits af­ter a sixth suc­ces­sive win and in­sisted: “It’s too early to pop open the cham­pagne.”

The Rovers boss is al­ways one for keep­ing his feet on the ground.

And he main­tained that mind­set de­spite two goals from Billy Bodin and one from Matt Tay­lor prov­ing enough to com­fort­ably see off dis­ap­point­ing Cam­bridge and keep the Gas in the top three with eight games to play.

“I never re­lax un­til the end of the sea­son,” said Clarke, hot favourite for the League Two man­ager of the month award for March.

“We have been on good runs be­fore and things can eas­ily turn the other way if you take your eye off the ball. We will keep work­ing to im­prove and see where it takes us.

“It was a good per­for­mance. Cam­bridge came to have a real go at us and the dif­fer­ence in the first half was two qual­ity fin­ishes.

“We could never re­lax be­cause it was end to end and Steve Milden­hall has made a fan­tas­tic save at 2-0, which was very im­por­tant.

“Six wins on the bounce is a ter­rific ef­fort by the lads. Billy Bodin has eight goals this sea­son, as well as a num­ber of as­sists, so all credit to him.

“Cris­tian Mon­tano was out­stand­ing and the play­ers con­tinue to give me ev­ery­thing.”

Rovers were ahead on nine min­utes when Bodin took aim with his right foot from 30 yards and saw the low ef­fort beat the dive of Will Nor­ris, who might have done bet­ter.

The ad­van­tage was dou­bled on 18 min­utes, Dan Lead­bit­ter de­liv­er­ing a cross with pace from the left and Bodin net­ting with a flash­ing header at the near post.

Tay­lor com­pleted the scor­ing on 73 min­utes,cutting inside Josh Coul­son to net his 22nd goal of the sea­son.

An open first half saw plenty of ac­tion for both goal­keep­ers, Nor­ris re­deem­ing him­self with saves from Ol­lie Clarke, Bodin, Rory Gaffney and Cris­tian Mon­tano.

At the other end Steve Milden­hall blocked ef­forts from Jimmy Spencer and Luke Berry, while Spencer was nar­rowly wide on 42 min­utes, shoot­ing with the out­side of his right foot from 20 yards.

Nor­ris made the best save of the game on 59 min­utes, tip­ping Tay­lor’s shot around a post af­ter a great ball from for­mer Cam­bridge player Gaffney.

But the visi­tors con­tin­ued to cre­ate open­ings and Leon Legge pow­ered a header wide from Zeli Is­mail’s cor­ner.

Milden­hall had to re­act smartly to keep out a close-range header from Coul­son and with bet­ter fin­ish­ing Cam­bridge would have run their op­po­nents close.

For all that, U’s boss Shaun Derry said: “It was a sad af­ter­noon for us. I am sad­dened by the per­for­mance be­cause we talked about what we needed to do and never reached it.

“We were not clin­i­cal enough in at­tack and the goals we con­ceded were aw­ful.

“Yet again it is the story of both boxes. We have to take our medicine, re­group and go again on Mon­day against Ox­ford.

“We had a short­age of play­ers, but there are no ex­cuses. I am now ex­pect­ing an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of bet­ter per­for­mances be­fore we even start talk­ing about the play-offs.”

PIC­TURES: JMP

STAR MAN BILLY BODIN

Rovers Bris­tol TAY­LORMADE: Bris­tol Rovers’ Matt Tay­lor cel­e­brates his goal that made it 3-0

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