Bristol Rovers will be dreaming of promotion after their 2-1 win against Crawley Town on Tuesday night. This is a result that leaves them in ninth place, two points off the playoff spots and just three away from the automatic promotion spots.
Goals from former Crawley youth product Harry Anderson and Aaron Collins helped the visitors claim all three points. This also ensured Rovers did the double over their opponents, after their 1-0 win earlier in the campaign.
The top of the league is very tight, and Rovers are right in the mix. Their fans did not expect to be saying this earlier in the season. They were just four points from safety in October, but excellent form has seen them win eight of their last 14 games.
Substitute Jake Hessenthaler’s goal, was not enough for Crawley, with their hopes of making the playoff spots taking a big hit.
Rovers’ manager Joey Barton spoke after the win. He said: “We are delighted to get out of here with three points. We probably could have made it easier for ourselves but credit to Crawley, they kept testing us and kept probing and pushing us right to the end.
“We had to hang on and do things properly. We probably should have put the game beyond them with a couple of the chances we had, but I’m not going to complain (about) three points and an away victory that gets us looking back up the table.”
The game was not without controversy, as Anderson’s goal was deemed not to be offside. Crawley manager John Yems, who was serving a touchline ban, made his feelings clear on the matter post-match. He said: “Honestly, I thought it was a blatant offside. The FA have to come to assess these people.”
Yems praised his team during Monday’s press conference and did so again post-match. He said: “I thought we deserved a draw out of it. Of course, there’s positives to take. We never gave in. Once again, two bad goals from us to give away.
“It’s just a mad season. I can’t wait for it to finish. They’re one of the best teams we’ve faced, they’ve improved so much. Anyone who comes away and thinks we don’t deserve something must be on the brandy.”
Goalscorer Hessenthaler, who played his first game since mid-December, spoke with Crawley’s YouTube channel after making his return from injury He said: “It’s been frustrating but good to back out there with the boys. To not get anything out of the game is hard to take. The boys have been on a great run, and I just wanted to be a part of it. Unfortunately, tonight we came away with nothing.”