In a fiercely contested West Country Derby between Rovers and Swindon, a 29th-minute worldie from the magician that is Billy Bodin against his former club was the difference and gave Rovers their 5th home win in a row.
Darrell Clarke made two changes to the side that lost 3-1 at Walsall last week, with Ellis Harrison replacing Rory Gaffney and Ryan Sweeney in for James Clarke to make his Rovers debut.
Rovers dominated the first half, with Sweeney having a header cleared off the line and Bodin having a shot saved from point blank range. Just before the half-hour mark, however, Rovers opened the scoring with a quality finish from forward Billy Bodin, netting on the volley from around 20 yards into the top corner of the left-hand post.
Rovers made a double substation on 63 minutes with Byron Moore and Rory Gaffney replacing Billy Bodin and Ellis Harrison respectively, as Bodin and Harrison hadn’t trained much in the week after nursing injuries. The last 25 minutes saw Rovers on the back foot a little bit, allowing Swindon to have the ball a lot but Sinclair was doing very well in the ‘No.10 role’ forcing Swindon to play it long rather than play out from the back like they usually do.
Luke James replaced talisman Matty Taylor with 10 minutes to go as Rovers had to hold on the last ten minutes to grind out the win but Joe Lumley was never really troubled throughout the afternoon. Rovers dealt comfortably with former loanee Charlie Colkett despite the occasional well-executed pass from the Chelsea loanee.
Rovers will be very happy with their solid defensive performance and what was only their 7th clean sheet (in all competitions) of the season and will be very happy with the performance of debutant Ryan Sweeney and captain Tom Lockyer in the heart of the defence. ‘Keeper Joe Lumley didn’t have a lot to do but what he did do, he did well. He caught everything and commanded his area well. Rovers best player, however, without a shadow of a doubt, was Ollie Clarke who rightly won the man of the match accolade. The midfielder once again put in a quality display and has come on leaps and bounds the last month or so. Long may it continue. Overall a good, albeit a nervy end performance from Rovers, who visit 6th placed Rochdale on Saturday, hopefully, another win! UTG.