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Jul 5, 2023 | 2023 A Season in Review

The Memorial Stadium Saturday 4th March 2023

Bristol Rovers 0

Barnsley 0

Referee: Thomas Parsons Attendance: 8,816

In form and in sixth place in the League One table, Barnsley visited the Memorial Stadium with a couple of familiar faces in their squad, namely the Thomas twins.

Bobby and Luke, of course, are both former Rovers loanees and while Bobby started the match and was booed throughout because of the manner of his departure from the Mem, Luke was afforded a generous round of applause when he was introduced to proceedings as a second half substitute.

The visitors also had an H Kane in their starting XI though fortunately for Rovers it wasn’t England striker Harry but former Liverpool midfielder Herbie!

Rovers were close to fielding an unchanged side, but skipper Paul Coutts missed out with a knee injury which prevented him from even taking a pre match fitness test. In his absence Grant Ward returned to the starting XI while Luke McCormick was afforded a place on the bench.

It was a fairly even start to the game for both sides though Liam Kitching headed wide from Nicky Cadden’s free kick when being left unmarked in the area. At the other end Jarell Quansah should have put Rovers ahead with 23 minutes on the clock but his close range header was comfortably saved by Harry Isted.

Three minutes later Scott Sinclair wasted a golden opportunity of giving Rovers the lead when he took, in his stride, a wonderful crossfield ball from Sam Finley. However as he bore down on goal and pulled the trigger he skewed his shot horribly wide of the target.

James Belshaw was called into action as half time approached and the keeper did well to save from the aforementioned Kane who had been teed up by James Norwood.

Three minutes into the second half and the first goalscoring opportunity fell to Quansah, who must be wondering what he has to do to score his first ever league goal. On this occasion his close range volley produced an excellent save from Isted.

At the other end Belshaw produced a fine save to deny Nicky Cadden, palming the ball away for a corner, though Barnsley felt that they should have been awarded a penalty for a foul on Devante Cole, by Lewis Gibson, in the build up.

Barnsley boss Michael Duff made a quadruple change in the 74th minute and the newly introduced players certainly livened their side’s performance as they went in search of three points.

Shortly afterwards Finley headed against his own crossbar from Slobodan Tedic’s ball into the box, while Belshaw saved well from Adam Phillips.

There were eight minutes remaining when Joe Barton sent on his first substitute of the afternoon, with Josh Coburn replacing John Marquis.

Barnsley continued to lay siege to the Rovers goal, though, and both Gibson and Ward managed to get in important blocks while Phillips hit a shot straight at Belshaw.

Rovers were able to hold out, though, and record a third clean sheet in their last four games. Two of those matches , this one and the home game against Ipswich have both ended goalless and yet, arguably, they have been two of the best home performances of the season.

Bristol Rovers: Belshaw, Hoole, Quansah, Gibson, Gordon, Ward, Finley, Bogarde, Sinclair (Gibbons, 87), Collins (Loft, 87), Marquis (Coburn, 82).

Substitutes: Balcombe, Connolly, Evans, McCormick.

Barnsley: Isted, Anderson, Kitching, Thomas (B), Russell (Benson, 74), Williams, Phillips, Kane (Thomas (L), 74), Cadden, Cole (Watters, 74), Norwood (Tedic, 74).

Substitutes: Cotter, Searle, Larkeche.


Former Rovers loanees Bobby and Luke Thomas were in the Barnsley squad. Bobby Started, Luke was used as a second half substitute

Yellow cards were issued to Sam Finley, John Marquis and Josh Coburn

Finley was skipper

Three substitutes used

Seven added minutes

(photos courtesy of JMP)

Keith Brookman