Bristol Rovers 2 Lincoln City 0

Last updated : 12 October 2002 By Footymad Previewer

Two defeats saw Bristol Rovers called in for training at 7.30 in the morning, an experience they were not anxious to repeat.

In an explosive start they could and should have been two up in the first two minutes.

Set up by the lively flank runner Mark McKeever, Paul Tait missed an open goal and Giuliano Grazioli was denied by Lincoln keeper Alan Marriott.

The keeper went on to make some great stops and his anticipation was spot on but when he was beaten in the 17th minute it was by one of his own side.

A stray shot from McKeever was flying well wide until Ben Futcher directed it back on target leaving Marriott wrong footed.

Minutes later Futcher was in more trouble, yellow carded for a reckless tackle on Tait. Paul Smith of Lincoln and Rovers' Lewis Hogg were also booked in a physical first half.

Lincoln's best effort came when Simon Yeo headed on to a post from Stuart Bimson's free kick on the right.

Bristol Rovers' 20-year-old keeper Ryan Clarke, starting a game for the first time, knew nothing of that one, but early in the second half pulled off a fine diving save from Peter Gain.

A penalty after 50 minutes put Rovers in control. As Wayne Carlisle's deep cross came in from the right Simon Weaver clearly tugged Tait's shirt.

Grazioli's kick to the bottom right corner had Marriott going the wrong way. Weaver was subbed soon after and the Red Imps boss Keith Alexander quickly used up his quota of subs.

For the first time Rovers were under pressure and Clarke distinguished himself with several fine saves.

Tait ended the match as he began it by missing an open goal but Bristol Rovers' Presidents club still made him their man of the match