Elliot Anderson scoring early in the second half was enough to move the Gas into the playoff places with a fantastic curling effort which left the Colchester keeper Shamal George with no chance at all.
The Gas were once again unchanged with boss Joey Barton naming the same starting XI from Saturday’s win against Harrogate Town at The Mem.
A cagey first 10 minutes saw Rovers give away a couple of early free kicks putting pressure on the defence that came to nothing for the visitors. The first real chance of the game fell at the feet of Harry Anderson who showed quick feet but got crowded out by the Colchester defence.
Antony Evans brought a great save from George with a fierce free-kick which was pushed out into the box with no Rovers players being able to take the chance on the rebound. The U’s broke through the Rovers defence on a handful of occasions with Noah Chilvers forcing James Belshaw into a comfortable save, keeping his 13th clean sheet of the season in the process.
Colchester had the first opportunity to go in front in the second half with consecutive corners, the first being cleared off the line by Connolly. The stage was set for Man of the Match Elliot Anderson, who impressed on the left-hand side for the Gas again forcing his way into the box and sliding a ball into Evans’ feet. As the tackle came in, Anderson picked up the loose ball, took one touch and sublimely curled the ball into the top corner sending the home fans wild.
The goal sparked Rovers into life and they created more chances with Finley putting a brilliant ball behind the Essex club’s defence, with Elliot Anderson being outmuscled as he tried going through on goal. The link-up play between Evans, Aaron Collins and Finley was pulling the Colchester midfield all over the pitch, making space for the Gas to take advantage of.
Colchester threatened a couple of times with Luke Hannant and Chilvers the main threat to the Rovers defence. Hannant providing a tough opponent for Luca Hoole cut into the box and forced Belshaw into a save low down to his left which popped out into the penalty area with Taylor able to clear. Hoole was in the thick of the action again with a clearance from a dangerous freekick, the following corner being cleared by the solid Rovers defence.
Harry and Elliot Anderson both left the field to standing ovations, with Harvey Saunders and Ryan Loft coming on respectively.
Rovers are back at The Mem for our next game in the league when we take on Mark Hughe’s Bradford City on Saturday, 2nd April at 3pm.
Bristol Rovers: Belshaw, Connolly, Finley (79), Collins, E Anderson (84), Coutts (c), Anderton, Taylor, H Anderson (68), Evans, Hoole.
Subs: Ward, Thomas, T Clarke, Saunders (68), Harries, Whelan (79), Loft (84)
Colchester United: George, Chambers (c), Sarpong-Wiredu, Hannant (76), Skuse (85), Sears, Edwards, Chilvers, Kenlock, Eastman, Coxe.
Subs: Hornby, Welch-Hayes, Andrews (85), Tchamadeu, Akinde (76), Marshall, Wright.
Referee – Sam Allison
Attendance – 7314 (214 away)