Pools Well Beaten By Bristol Rovers
Bristol Rovers were on top from the off this evening, full of energy and enthusiasm as Pools were second best for much of the first half.
Within the first five minutes, the confident visitors had won two corners and sent their first shot of the game from the lively Billy Bodin wide of the near post.
Jake Gosling sent a freekick in from the right which was caught by Adam Bartlett but the Pools keeper dropped the effort – fortunately into the path of Andrew Boyce who poked it wide for a corner.
Pools were spending most of the time defending and were beginning to look shaky as the visitors upped their pressure.
Gosling tested Pools again with another ball in from the right but Billy Paynter got in there first to head over the bar.
Boyce put Bartlett under pressure with a hasty back-pass but luckily the keeper’s clearance went far enough away from danger.
Pools had their best chance of the game on 28 minutes when Brad Walker curled a lovely freekick from 30 yards out towards the far corner. Rovers keeper Lee Nicholls reacted quickly to the effort though and tipped the ball over the bar to deny Walker.
Jake Carroll blocked well from Bodin again as the visitors were soon back in action at the other end, while Matthew Bates put in a perfectly-timed challenge to steal possession from Jermain Easter who was about to pull the trigger.
The visitors eventually got the goal their hard work deserved on 32 minutes; Bartlett had made a couple of great saves in the build-up but could do nothing as Matty Taylor met the second clearance to head the ball into the back of the net.
Gosling went close to making it 2-0 just after when he pushed in from the left to take it round Bartlett and shoot at goal. His effort hit the far post though and Bodin’s follow-up was blocked well by Carroll.
The final chance of the first half went to Lee Mansell but he sent a glancing header wide of the near post from close range.
Pools, who had failed to get going in the first half, left the pitch to boos from the crowd and needed much more in the second half if they were to break through against a strong Bristol Rovers side. .
There was an early break for the visitors early in the second half but with Pools caught out at the back, Brad Walker recovered to take the ball away from the path of Easter.
Pools did slowly find a way forward and there was a decent move down the right for Moore’s side; Rhys Oates finished it with a lovely cross into the box which picked out Fenwick but he sent his header wide of the far post.
With their next attack though, the visitors doubled their lead and it came through Billy Bodin. A ball over the top evaded the Pools back line and picked out the Rovers winger and showed a calm head to take it into the box and finish low past Bartlett to make it 2-0 on 64 minutes.
Carl Magnay came on with twenty minutes remaining and added a bit of bite in the middle for Pools and he tried his luck with two quick strikes from distance. Both went wide but gave Pools a relief from the pressure at the back.
But that relief didn’t last long and when the visitors were next on the attack, a Kudus Oyenuga back pass played in Jermaine Easter who picked up a loose ball and slotted it past Bartlett to make it 3-0.
It was a disappointing performance from Pools this evening who showed no real spark against a hard-working and bright Bristol Rovers side.
Ronnie Moore's side have chance to bounce back on Saturday as Luton Town visit The Vic.
Full Time: Pools 0 Bristol Rovers 3
Attendance: 3788 (190 Bristol Rovers)
Booked: Harrison (23), Boyce (81), Halliday (88)
Pools: Bartlett, Halliday, Harrison, Boyce, Carroll, Bates (Magnay 72), Featherstone, Walker (Oyenuga 63), Fenwick, Paynter, Oates.
Subs Not Used: Denton, Nearney, Jones, Hawkins, Smith.
Bristol Rovers: Nicholls, Brown, Lockyer, McChrystal (Parkes 82), J Clarke, Sinclair, Taylor, Bodin (O Clarke 84), Easter (Harrison 78), Mansell, Gosling.
Subs Not Used: Mildenhall, Lines , Montano, Lucas