Garry Monk was disappointed to not take anything from Cambridge’s trip to the Memorial Stadium on Tuesday evening but the U’s head coach was pleased with his side’s attitude.

Monk admitted luck was not on their side in the late 1-0 defeat, especially given that both sides had enjoyed good chances to score and a draw was very much on the cards.

Chris Martin netted the only goal of the game after 87 minutes – after missing a first-half penalty – but Cambridge’s Macauley Bonne and Paul Digby had squandered good opportunities from corners before that, while Mamadou Jobe had also headed against the post.

“So close and it would have been deserved (to get a point), I felt overall. Especially in that second half,” said Monk.

“There was a similar pattern that we need to address. First half, not that it was bad but just that there were a couple of things we weren’t getting to grips with, especially in our defensive actions but we still had a couple of glorious chances in that first half from our set plays. We should have had a goal.

“Second half, we looked so comfortable from a defensive point of view. Much more aggressive in the moments we needed to be and we sorted that out.

“I just couldn’t see them scoring. I was thinking more about, how can we do a little bit better with our attacks?

“But even then, we had the best chances in the second half. What we needed was for one of them to go in.

“But it wouldn’t quite go in for us. And the one real opportunity for them and it goes in – but that’s football sometimes.”

Bristol Rovers finally netted at home, as Martin’s late strike ended a run of four matches at the Memorial Stadium without a goal for the hosts.

The win also made it back-to-back League One victories following success at Cheltenham at the weekend, as the Gas aim to finish their campaign on a high.

“It’s been a while at the Mem, a very good goal to win and a clean sheet to boot,” said boss Matt Taylor. “I was really pleased with our first-half performance.

“I thought we deserved to be ahead in the game. Another missed penalty (after Antony Evans’ miss at the weekend) and enough opportunities to be in a more comfortable position than we were.

“As the second half went on, certainly how the opposition set up, it became more and more frustrating for us and we couldn’t quite get their centre-halves or goalkeeper to work. But you only need that one moment as long as you’ve got that clean sheet behind you.

“Thankfully it came in the shape of a late goal.”

Chris Martin scored his 16th League One goal of the season as Bristol Rovers claimed a late 1-0 victory over Cambridge at the Memorial Stadium.

The Rovers striker fired low into the goal after 87 minutes as he converted Luke Thomas’ cross, with the Pirates scoring at home for the first time in five games.

That goal made up for Martin’s earlier gilt-edged miss – the 35-year-old former Norwich and Derby forward was unable to convert a 33nd-minute penalty.

U’s goalkeeper Will Mannion dived to his left to stop the striker’s low, poorly-placed shot, after Paul Digby had been penalised for a foul on Scott Sinclair, as the Rovers winger attacked following Luke Thomas winning the ball just outside the Cambridge area.

The visitors threatened throughout via set-pieces, as Digby and Macauley Bonne both headed first-half corners over the crossbar.

And Mamadou Jobe went even closer when his 60th-minute header crashed off the woodwork as the defender met a Danny Andrew free-kick.

Luca Hoole cleared Liam Bennett’s shot off the line in the last minute of stoppage time to preserve Rovers’ result, after another Cambridge corner.

Boss Matt Taylor was delighted to see Bristol Rovers click into gear as they brushed Cheltenham aside with a comfortable 3-1 win to end their seven-game wait for a goal.

Scott Sinclair opened the scoring in the first half and Brandon Aguilera and Elkan Baggott added two more after the break before Liam Sercombe’s stoppage-time consolation for the relegation-threatened hosts.

Rovers skipper Antony Evans also saw a first-half penalty saved, with Rovers in total control.

“Everyone will talk about the goals, but I thought we looked solid as a team,” Taylor said.

“We looked like a proper team and we should’ve been more than one ahead at half-time and that’s no disrespect to Cheltenham.

“We know we look good as a team on paper, but we’ve never had everyone available, all of the time.

“We controlled things and started the game well, but needed something to show for it and Scotty was cool and calm for the opener.  His legs were a constant threat to their back line.”

Former Chelsea and Man City star Sinclair opened the scoring in the 12th minute, finishing neatly past Luke Southwood and inside the bottom left corner after being played in by Luke Thomas.

Evans was brought down in the box by Southwood 10 minutes before half-time, but the goalkeeper redeemed himself by diving to his left to keep out the spot-kick.

Cheltenham, managed by ex-Rovers boss Darrell Clarke, made two changes at half-time, but they were not able to find a way back into the game and it was 2-0 in the 56th minute.

Thomas found substitute Aguilera and he rolled a shot into the bottom right corner.

Former Cheltenham loanee Baggott headed the third from Harvey Vale’s corner in the 76th minute.

Sercombe was set up by fellow ex-Rovers player Matty Taylor in the 94th minute, but it was too little, too late for Cheltenham.

Clarke admitted his team are majorly struggling for confidence, with four games left to save their season, starting at one of the teams they can catch – Burton – on Tuesday night.

“I am searching for answers with the group and we have some walking wounded and players putting their bodies on the line,” he said.

“I get the frustration and disappointment from my supporters, who have been great. We just have to keep going.

“We have to make sure we don’t feel sorry for ourselves because unbelievably it’s still in our hands, with four games to go.

“We have to keep going and make sure we are ready to go Tuesday.

“While we still have a chance, we’ll go there and try to win the game.”

Bristol Rovers ended a seven-match scoring drought in style with a comfortable 3-1 win at relegation-threatened Cheltenham.

Scott Sinclair opened the scoring in the first half, with Brandon Aguilera and Elkan Baggott adding two more after the break before Liam Sercombe’s stoppage-time consolation for the hosts.

Rovers skipper Antony Evans also saw a first-half penalty saved, but Cheltenham offered very little as their survival chances suffered another major blow.

Sinclair opened the scoring in the 12th minute, finishing neatly past Luke Southwood and inside the bottom left corner after being played in by Luke Thomas.

Evans was brought down in the box by Southwood 10 minutes before half-time, but the goalkeeper redeemed himself by diving to his left to keep out the spot-kick.

Cheltenham, managed by ex-Rovers boss Darrell Clarke, made two changes at half-time, but they were not able to find a way back into the game and it was 2-0 in the 56th minute.

Thomas found substitute Aguilera and he rolled a shot into the bottom right corner.

Former Cheltenham loanee Baggott headed the third from Harvey Vale’s corner in the 76th minute.

Sercombe was set up by fellow ex-Rovers player Matty Taylor in the 94th minute, but it was too little, too late for Cheltenham.

Ruben Selles praised Reading’s character after they moved nine points clear of the League One relegation zone thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.

Selles was all smiles after striker Sam Smith put the visitors in command after eight minutes with a close-range header before Lewis Wing doubled the lead just before half-time with a stunning 25-yard free-kick.

“It takes a lot of character to win in the circumstances where we are fighting against relegation,” Selles said.

“We did a really good job to get the three points and we hope that with this result and the coming performances we will have done enough to stay in the league.

“But I think this season for Reading is never done until the final whistle – and maybe after that – but we can only control what happens on the pitch until then.

“We are just thinking about getting as many points as possible because we never know what might happen, but hopefully nothing else will happen with processes.”

Selles added: “We have been talking about how the team has been growing and maturing and today we did the job in the first half and then you could not expect us to dominate for the 100 minutes.

“They had good players to send on at half-time and they made it difficult for us over a period of 15-20 minutes but after that we regained control and we finished strongly.

“We enjoyed the victory and we enjoyed celebrating with our fans because we go all in and they enjoy that.

“Sometimes we don’t get what we want and sometimes we do but there is no doubt we go all in every single time we play.

“The way we do things is exciting for the fans and the way we play is good for the fans and the way we have connected is great.”

While Reading fans celebrated victory, Rovers fans booed their side at the final whistle following a record-extending seventh game without a goal

Manager Matt Taylor said he understood their frustration but asked for the poor run to be seen in context.

“It is understandable because they don’t like what they see at the moment but they are not alone in that,” Taylor said.

“As the manager I have to find a way to make the team function better than we did tonight.

“Moments in the game just dictate everything and certainly the weakness within us to concede that first goal in the manner we did is so frustrating.

“And then they were on top of us because they understand the situation and they don’t like what they see.

“But there is a deeper story. We all know the elephant in the room as regards where players are going to be towards next season.

“But there are still four games left this season so there is enough to play for to show their pride because the supporters want to see fight and endeavour.

“They probably saw that at the start of the second half, which is close to what I want to see out on the pitch, but they didn’t like the way it derailed towards the end.”

Bristol Rovers were booed off by their own fans as Reading eased their own relegation worries with a 2-0 win at the Memorial Stadium.

First-half goals from Sam Smith and Lewis Wing were enough to secure victory as Rovers stretched their record-breaking run of games without a goal to seven.

Smith put Reading on course for an ultimately comfortable victory in the eighth minute with his 13th goal of the season.

His close-range header beat Jed Ward’s despairing dive after Tyler Bindon flicked on Amadou Mbengue’s long throw.

Ward denied Harvey Knibbs with a fine save before Wing doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time when his 25-yard free-kick found the top left-hand corner.

Rovers boss Matt Taylor saw his team raise their game after the break as veteran striker Chris Martin and winger Scott Sinclair joined the fray.

Substitute Brandon Aguilera went close for the hosts but was denied by goalkeeper Joel Pereira as Reading banished any lingering relegation worries.

Bolton manager Ian Evatt praised Aaron Collins after the 2-0 win at Bristol Rovers.

Following a hat-trick against Reading on Easter Monday, Collins opened the scoring against Rovers, the club he left on February 1, with a 52nd-minute dinked finish.

Cameron Jerome won a penalty in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time to allow Aaron Morley to wrap up the victory and put Wanderers just a point off the League One automatic promotion spots.

“We lacked fluidity but we didn’t lack courage, desire and bravery – and it was a moment of real quality from Aaron which was exactly why we brought him in. A cool, calm finish,” explained Evatt.

“To be composed to lift it over the goalkeeper at that stage of the game with so much on the line for us was real quality and I’m pleased for him, with Cameron Jerome coming on in the final minutes to get us over the line.

“The most important thing was for us to win the game and we did that. We managed to be resolute. We dug in and did the hard yards at times. It was really difficult conditions out there, the wind really affected the game,” added Evatt, as Bolton won for the first time in seven away games.

Bristol Rovers were shut out for a sixth game in a row, having not scored since March 2.

However the Gas did play well and created enough chances to have taken something from the game, with Chris Martin’s stooping header clawed from off the goal-line, and Luke Thomas and Antony Evans both drawing good first-half saves from Nathan Baxter.

Rovers manager Matt Taylor pointed to his side’s inexperience, with no wins in Rovers’ last six games.

“It was harsh but yet another lesson learned in terms of the moment of the goals, it is just too poor from us in understanding what is needed at that moment,” he said.

“It’s young players involved and we know they make mistakes but we’re learning the hard way at the moment.

“I’ve got to be careful. That’s what happens when the inexperience factor is there.

“Too many times we’re defensively sound as a team and then suddenly we’re behind and chasing a game.”

Aaron Collins returned to haunt his former club Bristol Rovers as promotion hopefuls Bolton won 2-0 at the Memorial Stadium.

The 26-year-old striker scored in the 52nd minute as his right-footed chipped finish sailed over the onrushing Jed Ward and into the Pirates’ goal following a George Thomason pass.

Rovers had enjoyed their best spell of an even contest just before their nominated player of last season netted on a windy afternoon in Bristol.

Connor Taylor was adjudged to have fouled Cameron Jerome with a minute of stoppage time left to play, and substitute Aaron Morley sealed the win by converting the resulting spot-kick.

The Gas went close to scoring when Nathan Baxter clawed Chris Martin’s diving header from off his goal-line a minute after the restart.

Baxter also saved low at his near post to deny both Luke Thomas and Antony Evans in the first half, as Rovers made it six games without a goal, and the visitors won a first away game in seven matches.

Darren Moore called for Port Vale to keep the momentum going in their survival bid after they registered their first home victory since he took over.

Vale secured back-to-back Sky Bet League One wins for the first time since September with a 2-0 defeat of out-of-sorts Bristol Rovers.

Buoyed by their first win in 2024 in a relegation six-pointer with Burton last time out, Ben Garrity’s header and Baylee Dipepa’s controversial effort – which the visitors felt he handled in the build-up – secured Vale a vital three points.

Boss Moore, whose side are just a point shy of 20th-placed Burton, said: “It’s a tremendous day all round for us with three valuable points.

“It’s our first win [since I’ve come in] so I’m really pleased for everybody connected to the football club.

“It was a really committed performance from the team. The hard work and the desire to get those three points was incredible. We’re really pleased. It’s three points and a good couple of goals.

“All those stats bode well for us going forward and it gives us momentum. We’re really pleased to keep the momentum up from the Burton game.

“I thought our togetherness was really good. It allowed us to be on top of them.

“Even at the end of the game, we felt we could have got more goals. The most important thing was getting the two goals and keeping the clean sheet.

“We needed that performance and I’m pleased it came in front of the home fans.”

It was another disappointing display for Rovers, who have failed to score in their last four games.

Boss Matt Taylor said: “It was another difficult afternoon. It’s not an extreme scoreline.

“I’ve said it so many times but it’s such a poor moment for their goal. It’s another individual mistake which can’t happen – but it has.

“It was another goal with the same sort of principle. As much as the mistake is ours, it’s the officials’ as well. But we still have to defend the outcome of it a lot better than we did.

“On a difficult pitch it was difficult to chase the game and get the ball from A to B.

“It’s poor execution from us. It puts more pressure on being clean defensively. It’s another poor defensive moment and then they’re boosted by that and we’re low.

“There are excuses ‘someone else should be taking care of it’ as opposed to dealing with it.

“Whether he controls it with his hand or not a player should never be allowed to turn and run at your back line like that.

“It’s bitterly disappointing and we couldn’t find any way to force the issue.”

Lincoln boss Michael Skubala hailed his free-scoring side after they hammered Bristol Rovers 5-0.

The impressive Imps took their recent tally to 16 goals in three games with another fine display at Sincil Bank.

Luton loanee Joe Taylor will get the plaudits for a first professional hat-trick, sandwiched between captain Paudie O’Connor’s opener and Reeco Hackett’s late fifth.

Anthony Evans missed a penalty for the visitors, who had a man advantage for the last 15 minutes after Ethan Erhahon was sent off.

“We started well again,” said Skubala, whose side are two points off the play-off spots after a 13th game unbeaten.

“We talk about starting bright, starting fast, and we did that.

“I just said to the boys this is what we do. If you’re going to come and play us you have to be on it.

“Scoring five goals was fantastic. You saw us scoring goals, but we needed our keeper today. Big man Lukas was fantastic. Those are the things that don’t get mentioned when you score loads of goals.

“You saw his and Paudie’s quality today. As much as we talk about goals, we’re getting clean sheets as well. I thought those two were fantastic today.

“I don’t know how many Joe’s scored. I just like people scoring goals. Joe at the minute, his positioning in behind is fantastic.

“He’s improving all the time. That’s why he came here. He’s a real threat to anybody.”

Rovers boss Matt Taylor understandably cut a frustrated figure after his side were put to the sword.

He questioned his players’ desire with a number of them out of contract in the summer.

He said: “We started the game so poorly. There were some diabolical moments, defending for the goals.

“The script was set in terms of what to expect from them. It looked like some couldn’t match it and some looked like they didn’t have the mindset to match it.

“The first goal was embarrassing. Their goals are diabolical defending. They’re my responsibility.

“All I ask is they take more personal pride in their performance. That first half an hour was too poor a showing for me to accept.

“There’s a bigger picture which we all know about. Is that affecting some players on the pitch at the moment? You’re only damaging yourself if you play like that. You only damage yourself and damage your own futures.

“Clarity’s all I need going forward and that’s taught me a little bit more about some of the personality.

“It’s irrelevant about the chances we created. We’ve said so many times about being good about creating, but five goals against. It’s irrelevant.

“You can’t look like a good footballing side at times if you can’t do the basic fundamentals of defending a football game.”

Charlie Adam was pleased to watch Fleetwood cut the gap to six points from safety after a goalless draw with Bristol Rovers.

Fleetwood dominated spells across the game without finding a breakthrough, while Gavin Kilkenny came closest for the Cod Army when he smashed the crossbar from the edge of the box.

Jayden Stockley’s flicked effort got scooped off the line by Rovers’ Elkan Baggott when the ball looked to be trickling over.

Danny Mayor was denied a first-half goal after Promise Omochere showed his strength to square to his midfield partner, who was denied by a desperate block from Luca Hoole.

Speaking to BBC Radio Lancashire, the Fleetwood manager said: “I’m really disappointed from the first 45 minutes, in terms I felt that we never really got going in that first half.

“In reality I felt that we showed there was no real intensity for when we went to press the game and put pressure on Bristol Rovers.

“We felt like we were off it a little bit at stages. In the second half, the boys were much, much better. On another night I felt we could have nicked it and get all three points.

“Overall, I am really happy with a point at home. More importantly we’ve closed the gap. That’s what we’ll continue to do between now and the end of the season.”

For Rovers, all eyes fell on Antony Evans late on in the first half. He spun in behind the Fleetwood defence, but was denied one-on-one by Jay Lynch.

Scott Sinclair was smartly stopped by Lynch again, who got down well to his right to palm an effort wide.

In the closing stages, an Evans free-kick almost fortuitously rolled in, but flicked the outside of the post.

Rovers boss Matt Taylor said: “Chances at both ends tonight. We created the better chances, the cleaner chances against a Fleetwood team who are going well at home.

“I thought our keeper and our young backline stood up to the pressure they gave us too.

“Hopefully, we’re moving in the right direction. We’ve worked hard with our defensive units and our mindset to keep the ball out of our net and not be as leaky as we have been. I thought we showed that tonight.

“The clean sheet is massive tonight. I was so pleased how our defenders worked tonight. Very rarely have we failed to score in a game and very rarely have we not created chances.

“It wasn’t our night tonight. I can’t ask for much more. Post, blocks, saves. If the team’s going to be short of anything, let it be at the top end and not defensively at the other end.”

Fleetwood remain six points from safety after holding mid-table Bristol Rovers to a 0-0 draw at Highbury Stadium.

Danny Mayor should have put the hosts 1-0 up after Promise Omochere showed his strength to square to his midfield partner, who was denied by a desperate block from Luca Hoole.

With the best chance of the game, Antony Evans had a one-on-one opportunity to break the deadlock on the stroke of the break. The Gas midfielder could only hit straight at home goalkeeper Jay Lynch.

Scott Sinclair fired low three minutes into the second half, which was smartly stopped by Lynch as the away side pressed, while former Rovers man Ryan Broom acrobatically volleyed wide for Fleetwood.

Gavin Kilkenny rattled the woodwork on the hour when the ball fell kindly to the Bournemouth loanee from the edge of the box, with Jed Ward beaten all ends up.

Elkan Baggott scrambled a trickling effort off the line as Fleetwood dominated in second-half spells without breakthrough.

Rovers hit the post in the closing stages after a deflected Evans free-kick ricocheted wide.

Paul Warne brushed off his Derby side moving back into the top two of Sky Bet League One after a convincing 3-0 win at Bristol Rovers.

The Rams boss explained that if his team keep winning, following the club’s sixth victory in their last nine games, then they need not worry about what any of their promotion rivals are doing.

Dwight Gayle opened the scoring in the 55th minute, bundling in after Tom Barkhuizen’s shot had hit the crossbar and bounced on the goal-line.

Barkhuizen guided in a first-time effort from a Nathaniel Mendez-Laing pass to double their lead before substitute Martyn Waghorn made sure of the result when he poked in from close range in the 89th minute.

“We just keep saying to the lads ‘don’t look at the league table, just keep playing your best football for 10 games and see where we’re at’,” said Warne.

“Everything matters – I’ve said that from day one. I was talking to the lads today that it’s 250 days since we started this campaign and the pre-season, and everything matters, every tackle you make, every tackle you miss.”

Warne’s side have now won back-to-back league games 3-0 and his side may be finding form at the right time. The former Rotherham boss is eager for his side to find yet more consistency.

“You’ve just got to be bang on the money if you’re going to be successful and today this performance is already over,” he added.

“I want the lads to enjoy it for about half an hour, but then we’ve got to do it again Tuesday and then again Saturday. You’ve got to be relentless.

“My only slight criticism is that at times today we let them off the hook where we could have really finished them off. But I’m really pleased with the goals and the clean sheet.”

Bristol Rovers counterpart Matt Taylor recognised the quality of the opposition, hailing Derby as the best team in the division before the match.

Afterwards, the Rovers boss was particularly unhappy with how his side dealt with dead-ball situations.

“Set-pieces were frustrating as we’ve got a couple of first contacts on the long throw and the corner [that led to the opening goal] and got there first, but if we get there second then it’s more of a scramble. We have to be better.

“The next two [goals] come when we’re in possession of the ball and the third is when we’re really chasing the game. But that was a little bit of a reflection of us today. Our ball use wasn’t good enough today.

“In terms of the individual aspects they ‘manned’ the game today – they taught us a lesson in how to manage the game and how to manipulate certain situations.”

Dwight Gayle scored his second goal for Derby as the striker boosted the Rams’ drive for a Sky Bet League One automatic promotion place in a 3-0 win at Bristol Rovers.

The former Newcastle forward opened the scoring in the 55th minute before Tom Barkhuizen added a quick second three minutes later.

Martyn Waghorn wrapped up the three points late on, which saw them climb up to second in the table.

A poor clearance from Lewis Gordon fell to Barkhuizen, who swept against the crossbar, with 34-year-old Gayle reacting quickest to prod in from inches out as the ball bounced on the goal-line.

Derby doubled their lead when Nathaniel Mendez-Laing broke forward and played the ball across for Barkhuizen to put a powerful first-time strike into the top corner.

Antony Evans curled just over the bar with 25 minutes left to play and Eiran Cashin had to clear off the line as Scott Sinclair advanced on goal with Rovers pushing to come back into the game.

But the Rams stood firm, sealing the victory with a minute to play as substitute Waghorn tapped in Korey Smith’s low cross.

Boss Matt Taylor revealed he was left out of pocket after watching his Bristol Rovers side collect all three points with a 1-0 victory at play-off hopefuls Leyton Orient.

Chris Martin recorded his 15th goal of the season when a first-half set-piece from skipper Antony Evans eluded the home defence and the unmarked Martin claimed the faintest of touches before the ball nestled in the far corner of the net.

Rovers found themselves reduced to 10-men after 82 minutes when James Wilson was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident with Brandon Cooper, but they emerged with their goal intact after soaking up relentless second-half pressure.

“This game has cost me five hundred quid for the clean sheet and five hundred for the set-piece goal,” Taylor said.

“I’m having to bribe players as we’re going to Cheltenham races in a few weeks, so £1000 is a lot of money and you can buy a lot of nappies for that but it was more than worth it!

“I thought it was a high-quality game of football in the first half. Orient are a really strong team and we know they have a fluid rhythm about them but I liked our structure.

“They started the second half really brightly and we changed our shape and got more of a foothold in the game, and I didn’t think our goalkeeper was overworked. But the unexpected happened and we lost a player for the last 15 minutes of the game.

“We then had to withstand the pressure with backs against the wall defending and we rode our luck at times, but again Jed (Ward) has only really had to make a couple of saves.”

Orient boss Richie Wellens felt his side deserved more from the match.

“It was a smash and grab,” he said.

“We conceded three shots on our goal and they scored from one of them. It was a poor goal from us to give away. A sloppy free-kick and a cheap set play but the delivery was very good and (Chris) Martin does what he does best, which is to get across people in the box.

“Second half, I can’t even remember them being in our box or in our half at times. We had 18 corners and started the game OK with opportunities to take people on but just looked just a bit leggy.

“It was a disappointing day in terms of results this afternoon but another really solid performance. We’ve lost two games when we’ve played midweek and the opposition haven’t. It’s not an excuse but we did look tired and hence why I need to make changes.”

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