On this day

May 7, 2021 | News

On this day in 2016 Rovers were 2-1 winners against already relegated Dagenham & Redbridge at the Memorial Stadium, in front of a crowd of 11,130.
Rovers knew they had to win and that one of the two clubs above them, Oxford United and Accrington Stanley, had to drop points if they were to gain automatic promotion. Darrell Clarke’s side were bidding to win a ninth consecutive home game for the first time since 1983/84 (they had already won 11 away games) and it was also the manager’s 100th league game in charge.
Things didn’t start well for Rovers, though, as Dagenham were the first to score. There were only 12 minutes on the clock when Matty Cash took advantage of the time and space afforded him by Rovers defence and rifled a low shot past Steve Mildenhall.
Clarke’s side were behind for only three minutes and were level thanks to Billy Bodin who slalomed his way around three challenges inside the area before hitting a shot past goalkeeper Cousins.
Nine minutes into the second half the news filtered through that Oxford were a goal ahead against Wycombe Wanderers. Rovers, though, were struggling to score a second. News of a second Oxford goal came through with 72 minutes on the clock, though Accrington were still drawing in their game against Stevenage. As the clock drew ever closer to 90 minutes it seemed that the play offs were beckoning. As the board showing extra time was raised Oxford scored again and were, therefore, promoted automatically.
Two minutes into the four that had been added on Matty Taylor saw his shot come back into play off the post and up popped Lee Brown to slot home the rebound with his right foot.
At the final whistle crowds poured on to the pitch, but there was an agonising wait for news of the Accrington result. And then it came…a goalless draw, meaning Rovers had leapfrogged them into third place to clinch an automatic promotion place on goal difference.
Dagenham’s boss was former Rovers assistant manager John Still and former Gas striker Jamie Cureton was sent on from the Dagenham bench in the 74th minute.
After the game Clarke said; ‘We left it late to score the winning goal and then had to wait a few minutes to see how Accrington had fared in their match against Stevenage. A late goal for them would have meant us contesting the play offs again, so when news of their goalless draw filtered through we knew we were up.
Rovers: Mildenhall. Leadbitter, Lockyer, McChrystal, Brown, Bodin, Mansell (Easter, 80), Lines, Montano (Gosling, 55), Gaffney (Harrison, 66), Taylor.
Substitutes: Parkes, Clarke (O), Puddy, McBurnie
Keith Brookman