Derby County (Home)

Jul 11, 2023 | 2023 A Season in Review

Memorial Stadium Saturday 15th April 2023

Bristol Rovers 1

Evans (pen, 99 + 5)

Derby County 1

McGoldrick (4)

Referee: Ollie Yates Attendance: 9,388

Joe Barton made two changes for this clash against a Derby side sitting just outside of a play off place on goal difference, starting with Scott Sinclair and Harry Anderson in place of John Marquis and Antony Evans.

For the second game running Rovers faced a player named Rooney. At Fleetwood on Easter Monday it was Shaun, while on this occasion it was derby defender Jake.

Rovers made a slow start and had barely touched the ball when their visitors took a fourth minute lead. When Tom Barkhuizen’s cross came in from the left it reached the unmarked David McGoldrick and he calmly picked his spot and slotted the ball into the net from ten yards.

However, instead of attempting to build on that lead while they had Rovers on the ropes, Derby seemed content to sit back and invite Rovers to attack. Barton’s side, growing into the game by the minute, duly obliged and should have equalised in the 25th minute when Sinclair burst into the box and crossed to the back post, Harry Anderson contrived to hit the post with the goal at his mercy.

A half time change saw Ryan Loft replace Anderson and Rovers began the half purposefully with Grant Ward and Sinclair sending efforts over the bar. Goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith, who had begun his timewasting tactics far too early, was booked shortly afterwards, the second of six yellow cards collected by the visitors during the afternoon.

Ward curled another shot over the Derby crossbar, while Sinclair headed just over from a sublime Lewis Gordon cross before Loft also got in on the act of sending a shot over the bar.

James Belshaw made an excellent save from substitute Harvey White but, by and large, it was one way traffic out on the pitch as the visitors packed their defence and left the dangerous McGoldrick up front on his own.

The front man was a constant danger but lacked the support of his colleagues to cause any real damage and his side were made to pay for their negative tactics deep into stoppage time.

Evans, on as a 71st minute substitute, appeared to be brought down by Derby substitute White as he burst into the area and referee Ollie Yates pointed to the penalty spot. Derby were adamant that it wasn’t a spot kick and goalkeeper Wildsmith did all he could to get the decision reversed.

With Marquis, a late Rovers substitute, holding on to the ball, the keeper attempted to put him off, though the Rovers striker had the last laugh as he handed the ball to Evans as the keeper took his place in the centre of the goal.

Evans, no doubt incensed by Wildsmith’s taunts, lashed the ball high into the roof of the net for a deserved equaliser, while Marquis grabbed the ball and simulated a dive whilst clutching on to it, thus mimicking the keeper’s timewasting tactics. Justice was done and Derby were left ruing their negative tactics against a side that simply wouldn’t give up.

Why a side pushing for a play off place didn’t go all out for a win only they will know and it wouldn’t surprise me if they are visiting the Mem again next season!

Bristol Rovers: Belshaw, Hoole, Connolly, Gibson, Gordon (Evans, 72), Finley (Coburn, 72), Bogarde, Ward (G), (McCormick, 84), Collins, Anderson (Loft, 46), Sinclair (Marquis, 84).

Substitutes: Ward (J), Gibbons.

Derby County: Wildsmith, Rooney (Davies, 74), Cashin, Roberts, Mendez-Laing (Dobbin, 67), Smith, Hourihane (Bird, 67), Knight, Barkhuizen (Forsyth, 60), McGoldrick, Collins (White, 67).

Substitutes: Sibley, McGee.


There were no former Rovers players in the Derby County side

No yellow cards were issued

Sam Finley was skipper then Lewis Gibson when he was substituted

Five substitutes used

Ten added minutes

(photos courtesy of JMP)

Keith Brookman