Bristol Rovers 1 Cheltenham Town 1

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 22 January 2005

Steven Gillespie knew he was in for a torrid time from the crowd as he ran out to lead Cheltenham's attack.

His crime: he was on loan to them from Bristol City and in an interview had said how much he was looking forward to scoring against Rovers.

Each time he touched the ball it was greeted by a chorus of "big head."

The chorus lost its voice though when the 19-year-old Scouser fired his temporary club into a 38th minute lead.

His sharp drive from the left side of the box wrong-footed keeper Ryan Clarke as it took a deflection off central defender Christian Edwards.

But there was no denying Gillespie his goal, his second in two games for John Ward.

After beating back Rovers' hopeful early raids, Cheltenham had gradually imposed themselves, and they were grateful to Robbie Ryan for his strong challenge after Brian Wilson had forged down the right.

Then their defence was slow to move out as Grant McCann sent in a right-wing cross which saw Shane Duff power in a header which Clarke collected easily enough, but the threat from Cheltenham was there as Martin Devaney and Jeremy Gill began to develop with runs down the flanks.

Rovers pulled themselves level just before the break with a bizarre goal.

In added-on time Cheltenham's keeper Shane Higgs decided to run outside his area for a clearance he should have left for his defence. Lee Thorpe beat him to the ball and raced in to slot a shot inside the near post.

Thorpe, warned and booked earlier by referee Paul Danson, had been close to being replaced, but his goal inspired Rovers.

In the second half Craig Disley was denied by a great one-handed save from Higgs, and when Rovers got the ball into the net the goal was ruled out for a foul on the keeper.

With 15 minutes to go, a touchline incident saw Cheltenham's McCann dismissed, accused of headbutting winger Stuart Campbell.

The two had squared up to each other, but the whole thing had looked rather minor.

The initiative was now with Rovers but they could not take advantage as they took their tally of draws to 14, seven of them in their last nine games.

Bristol Rovers Match Reports

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