Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson praised his promotion-chasing team’s defensive performance following their 2-0 victory over Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.

Ferguson spoke out after a first-half volley from Joel Randall and substitute Ricky Jade-Jones’s classy stoppage-time gave the Posh a morale-boosting victory as they get ready for the play-offs.

“I told the players that clean sheets will end up getting us promoted and it really is as simple as that,” Ferguson said.

“That’s why I enjoyed that win a lot and I’m really pleased with the players, especially in terms of what we did out of possession.

“I asked them to be more solid and compact and they did that really well and were really well organised. We limited them to next to no clear-cut chances.

“Keeping clean sheets is not simple to do and that’s why we had a good meeting before the game when we went through everything in detail.

“We looked back at some of the chances we’ve been giving up so and I asked them to be more connected and the players deserve lots of credit as they were outstanding.”

Ferguson was also pleased with his goal-scorers after Randall took his personal tally of goals to 11 while Jones now has 13 goals to his name.

“I still had one eye on if Derby slipped up and we were getting told about the Derby score but we just had to concentrate on our jobs here,” Ferguson added.

“After the first 10 minutes we got control and some of our football was outstanding.

“I was especially pleased with Joel because we’d been asking the team to team to get more bodies into the box to support our striker Jonson Clarke-Harris. And with Ricky we’d been asking him to get in front of his man more so it was really pleasing when he made the points safe.”

Rovers manager Matt Taylor said the result highlighted his team’s shortcomings.

“Their physicality was one thing that stood out for me,” Taylor said. “They were not only able to wriggle out of but drive out of certain situations and it showed there’s a real need for a added profile to this group.

“We have some fantastic ball players but speed, pace and power are other huge assets at this level and they had both the ball players and that today which is why they are such a good team.”

Taylor, who was without suspended striker Chris Martin, added: “We didn’t get close enough to man and ball often enough in the first half and we gave them too much respect certainly in the deeper layers of the pitch.

“They were able to go through the pitch on the back of it and it was a poor opening goal to concede. We forced more moments after the break but it didn’t materialise in the box.”

Shrewsbury head coach Paul Hurst admitted the over-riding emotion after securing League One safety with a 1-1 draw at Charlton was “relief”.

The Shrews ensured they will have a 10th successive campaign in England’s third tier.

The Shropshire club reappointed Hurst as head coach in January after predecessor Matt Taylor had suffered seven losses in eight matches.

Daniel Udoh’s confident finish put the visitors ahead at The Valley – his 10th goal in all competitions – in the 23rd minute.

But George Dobson, set to leave Charlton after signing a pre-contract agreement with Hungarian club Fehervar, equalised in the 46th minute.

Hurst said: “Relief is the first emotion and then enjoyment and togetherness. I have to say I’m really pleased for the chairman (Roland Wycherley) because it hasn’t been easy, I think he has gone on record saying how difficult the last couple of seasons have been – but this one in particular.

“He will be a very happy man tonight. But I feel like almost the job starts again.

“Credit to the players, staff and everyone involved that they managed to get over the line.

“I’ve enjoyed being back in work. It wasn’t the longest break but you have to respect and cherish the times when you are working.

“No doubt there have been some challenges in front of us – like hoping to bring more players in than we did (in the last transfer window) and we’ve had some big injuries.”

Charlton are undefeated in 14 matches – losing just once since Nathan Jones was appointed manager in February – but they are guaranteed their lowest finish since 1926.

Dobson did have a moment to savour in SE7 as he raced on to Connor Wickham’s through ball, going past Shrews keeper Marko Marosi to convert in what is set to be his last outing as an Addicks player on home turf.

Jones said: “I believe he has signed a pre-contract – I want him to be at this football club and playing for Charlton.

“I will do everything I can to keep George Dobson at this football club. I did it in January – to prolong his stay. And I would like to keep him.

“He has done very, very well for me. I’m very proud of him. Now we need to find some common ground.

“He epitomises what I want us to be – front-footed and belief in what we do.

“At half-time we said some choice words and laid some tactical things down and we implemented it straight away. If we had only started the first half like that it could’ve been a different story.

“First half we weren’t us. Second half we asked for a reaction and we got it and we were much better.

“First half we were too passive all over, moved the ball too slowly and became that possession-based boring football team. Second half we were more us.”

Rotherham have appointed Steve Evans for a second spell in charge after sacking Leam Richardson.

Richardson left the Millers on Wednesday morning after losing 18 of his 24 games in charge, overseeing relegation to Sky Bet League One, with Stevenage manager Evans swiftly named as his replacement a few hours later on a three-year deal.

Evans previously managed at the New York Stadium between 2012 and 2015, when he guided the club from League Two to Championship safety.

He leaves Stevenage having also taken them from the bottom of League Two to sitting just outside of the League One play-offs.

Evans’ returns sees a change in structure, with director of football Rob Scott reverting to head of recruitment and the Scot coming in as manager rather than head coach.

Chairman Tony Stewart said: “On behalf of everyone at Rotherham United, I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Steve Evans and Paul Raynor back to the football club.

“Leam and Rob’s (Kelly, assistant manager) departure was not something we took lightly, but following extensive conversations at board level, it was unanimously agreed that a change of direction was needed to give us the best possible chance of bouncing back to the Sky Bet Championship at the first time of asking.

“In Steve and Paul, we have two individuals that understand the Rotherham United ‘DNA’ and know what it takes to build a successful team. They have a proven track record of success at a plethora of clubs, including our own.

“Finally, I would like to place on record my thanks to Leam Richardson and Rob Kelly for their efforts and it goes without saying that they leave with the very best wishes of everyone here at Rotherham United.”

The former Wigan boss took over from Matt Taylor in December but endured a miserable time at the New York Stadium.

His appointment was with a view to rebuilding the club in the third tier but he has not made it until the end of the season, with his assistant Kelly also leaving with immediate effect.

Darrell Clarke was delighted to see his out-of-form Cheltenham side come from behind to take a 2-1 League One win from relegation rivals Burton.

“It’s a good comeback win,” Clarke said. “It’s a must comeback win in a real pressure game where I thought we had to win it and we’ve done that.”

Albion had edged ahead in a poor first half when substitute Steve Seddon fired home after a long throw into the Cheltenham box in first half added time.

But the visitors hit back after half-time through the experience of striker Matty Taylor, with the equaliser and a first goal for the club for 39-year-old Curtis Davies to seal the win with a header from Will Ferry’s corner.

“The response in the second half was very good,” Clarke added. “Matty Taylor does what he does with a great finish and it was about time Curtis got a goal. He is a proper guy and I have got a lot of time for him.

“He has really stood up and been counted over a consistent period this season and I am delighted for him to get the winner.”

Cheltenham now have their fate in their own hands and Clarke issued a “call to arms” to fans to get behind the side with two home games to come.

“Now we take it to the final week of the season in our own hands, so this is a call to arms,” he said.

“We are depleted with a lot of players out and I just want the fans to turn up in their numbers on Saturday and Tuesday and really get behind the boys because I think they deserve it.

“We need to turn the next two games into a fortress and see if we can get over the line.”

Burton boss Martin Paterson was left facing up to an eighth home loss in a row which keeps the Brewers firmly in the relegation dogfight and frustrated at how his side failed to build on a first-half lead.

“We didn’t come out for the second half,” he said. “I thought they started the game brighter than us then after 20 minutes, we started stepping towards the ball and looking dangerous and we got a goal to go in at half-time with everything in our own hands.

“Two set plays and goals in the second half and people not doing their jobs. Simple as that.”

Albion have one last chance on home soil against Reading on Saturday to grab a much-needed home win and the magnitude of the game was not lost on Paterson.

He added: “This was a huge game and Saturday is a huge game. We have just come off the back of a good performance at Stevenage so if the drop off can go one way, I am pretty sure it can go the other way as well.”

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.”

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.

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.”

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.”

Bristol Rovers manager Matt Taylor has warned his players to buck up their ideas or risk being sold after Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Northampton.

Rovers trailed as early as the third minute at Sixfields through Patrick Brough’s close-range finish, and he then turned provider to set up Mitch Pinnock for a second shortly before half-time.

The visitors did rally in the second half and Chris Martin briefly restored hope, but Marc Leonard’s sensational late goal rubber-stamped Northampton’s victory.

Rovers have now lost seven of their last 10 league games and drop to 12th in League One.

Taylor said: “I have to be careful what I say because I’m incredibly frustrated but I can’t stand here and keep saying the same things.

“The first half was poor and we couldn’t get any aggression in our running and we were second best too often, but goals are still so important and both are preventable.

“There’s a softness which has been apparent for a long time. We were brighter in the second half, we ran harder and we had more purpose.

“We got back in the game but then another poor goal from a set-piece has cost us again. All three goals are incredibly preventable and that’s a recurring theme.

“The fans are frustrated and rightly so because the way we run at the start of the game was poor.

“We don’t seem to value certain things as a team so I need to find a way to hammer that home on the training pitch or some players will struggle to stay at the football club.

“We need to change things because you can see how soft we are with the goals we concede and when we concede those goals, we’re having to chase games.

“Football is a simple game. Do your job first and foremost.”

The win was Northampton’s first in five games and it lifts them back above Rovers and into 11th.

“We’re really pleased,” said Cobblers assistant manager Ian Sampson. “It’s a great result after a couple of frustrating games and it gets us back on track.

“It was so disappointing to concede in the last minute on Tuesday but it’s testament to the lads and their character because every time we have a hiccup, they respond really well and they did that again today.

“We’ve had one or two problems in certain areas of the pitch but we managed that better today and obviously we’re delighted to win the game.

“It’s really pleasing to score three goals, and they were good goals as well, but we were also better defensively and that’s pleasing for the back four and the whole team.”

Darren Moore wants to improve his new side’s mentality after his Port Vale reign started with a 3-2 loss at League One relegation rivals Cheltenham.

Vale led twice through Nathan Smith’s header and an own goal from Curtis Davies, but Matt Taylor and Jack Shepherd cancelled each out before Will Ferry struck a 73rd-minute winner.

Former Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield boss Moore, who was appointed on Tuesday, saw his team slip to 22nd in the table and two points from safety.

And he called for more resilience from his players after a disappointing beginning to his tenure.

“It wasn’t the start I wanted,” Moore said. “Our mindset and mentality has to be stronger.

“We had a really good start to the game and at half-time I thought we deserved to be ahead.

“Their second goal was a corner when it should’ve been a throw-in.

“But there were positives. We scored two goals away from home. That’s a positive. And the subs had an impact. That’s a positive.

“What I want to see is a Vale team that are fully committed. The commitment and endeavour was there, but our mindset has to be stronger when we get in front.

“As far as I’m concerned the slate’s wiped clean with all of the players, but we have to learn from this today – and learn quickly.”

Cheltenham’s third straight league win moved them above Vale into 21st and they sit just a point from safety.

Darrell Clarke hailed the talent of Barnsley loanee Shepherd, who scored a stunning second-half volley to make it 2-2 and earn a big milestone in the 22-year-old defender’s career.

“It’s Shep’s first (English Football) League goal and he’s done brilliantly, the kid,” Clarke said.

“He’s come from a non-league background into Barnsley and he is a bit raw, but he’s a winner.

“I could see that in training on Friday because he was on the ‘young’ team in a small-sided game and he was going mad because they didn’t win, so he has that appetite to win.

“That non-league background for him has done that for him and it was a really pleasing strike.

“Barnsley have a decent talent there. We are pleased to have him and he’s reaping his rewards with competitive games.”

Bristol Rovers manager Matt Taylor saw a change in formation pay off spectacularly as his side came from two goals down to defeat play-off-chasing Stevenage 3-2 in a thriller at the Lamex Stadium.

The Pirates began the game playing 3-4-3 but found themselves in deep trouble before Taylor replaced defender Elkan Baggott with winger Scott Sinclair after 28 minutes.

With four at the back, Rovers came surging back against a side pushing for the play-offs in League One, with a wonderful strike from captain Antony Evans completing a memorable turnaround.

Taylor said: “It could have been [anyone to come off], but when you change from a back three to a back four you take off one of your centre-halves.

“James Wilson’s, similar to Scotty’s, experience shone as the game went on and Tristan [Crama] has got good legs as well.

“I hope he [Baggott] understands it, I don’t think he’ll like it – nobody likes being dragged – but it was very much needs must in that moment.

“We made changes, personnel and formation-wise, that seemed to settle them a little bit and gave us a better out in terms of the game, and then we started to play.

“Once we started to play, we needed a little bit more to believe in and LT’s [Luke Thomas] moment was a big moment for us because that gave us more belief and more feeling that we were in the game, and then two quality goals.”

Stevenage led 2-0 after 24 minutes through Kane Hemmings’ close-range finish and Jake Forster-Caskey, but Bristol Rovers had a lifeline when Thomas bent a superb effort into the bottom corner.

Evans then set up Chris Martin for the equaliser before smashing in what turned out to be the winner from 25 yards, before Kamil Conteh was sent off in stoppage time for the Pirates.

Stevenage boss Steve Evans said: “We just got a little bit complacent – well, a lot complacent.

“They get the goal completely against the run of play to bring themselves back into the game, we started on the front foot, I think we were very comfortable at half-time.

“I think we were comfortable at the start of the second half, there’s no issues in the game.

“I think there’s a big decision in the game – their boy Evans, who’s a really good player, scores a great goal and makes one, he should be off.

“He’s committed a number of fouls, but one in particular on the edge of their box.

“They get the [second] goal because we let a really good striker get across us and score a goal and the third goal was a great strike, but it’s fair to say in the second half we were way off the pace.”

Manchester United academy product Mark Helm was singled out for praise after Burton’s much-needed 2-1 win over Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.

Helm’s fifth goal of the season added to Ciaran Gilligan’s opener to help the Brewers move four points clear of the League One relegation zone.

And Albion manager Martin Paterson was thrilled with attacking midfielder Helm’s display.

“Mark is a really talented player and I’m really pleased with him because he had a really good game,” Paterson said.

“The most important thing is that even though he’s a flair player, he works very hard for the team.

“There were lots of good, positive actions from him in that final third but there’s so much more there.

“He works really well down that left side and shows just how intelligent he is by sneaking into great little pockets where we can find him during transitions.

“He has got really good qualities but my test for him now is to go and get more goals.”

Gilligan put the visitors ahead two minutes before half-time with his first senior goal.

Helm added a second when his low shot beat Jed Ward in the 57th minute.

Rovers skipper Antony Evans hit back on the hour to set up a tense finale, but Burton held on.

Paterson added: “It was a really well-deserved win and I say that with humility.

“It looked like nearly a complete performance but we shouldn’t have conceded a sloppy goal.

“We were structured and well organised but we always carried a threat going forward.

“It’s a good win but there’s no reason to start getting carried away. I’m programming the players’ minds that we’re trying to catch teams ahead of us.

“From that they come in knowing to climb up the table and that’s why I’m really pleased with this win.”

Rovers manager Matt Taylor had a case of deja vu after he experienced a home defeat against lowly opposition for a second time in a week.

“I feel the same as I’ve felt too often this season,” said Taylor, whose side lost 2-0 to Fleetwood last Tuesday.

“I can’t hide away from the fact that every time we come up against this type of challenge that we fall short and that’s a reflection on myself and the group, so it’s a painful one.

“More physicality is needed and we’re short in that department. When we attack and the ball goes out, 10 seconds later we’re defending our box and that happens every single time.

“Regardless of who I change it happens and I’m looking for different formations and solutions to search but I guarantee it won’t change.

“That’s due to the nature and DNA of the squad which is not to go towards the ball.

“We’ve got to find a way of protecting them but I can’t protect against a goal-kick.”

Bristol Rovers manager Matt Taylor bemoaned his side’s inconsistent form as the Pirates lost 2-0 at home to relegation-threatened Fleetwood.

Jayden Stockley and Ronan Coughlan both found the net to secure Fleetwood a second consecutive win, leaving them six points from safety in League One.

The defeat – Rovers’ fourth in their last five home matches in all competitions – ended a run of back-to-back league wins.

“We’re disappointed to lose the game,” said Taylor.

“We’ve fallen into the same pattern that we’ve done too often this season where we’ve had a boost of a couple of good performances and victories to boot and then not been able to follow it up physically and game wise.

“A bit of physicality against our back line and poor defending on two crosses has led to the opposition being ahead. We’ve had the two best chances of the first half and then we’ve had the sucker punch of a set-piece goal.

“As the pressure came onto the game we’ve not been able to handle that and execute in terms of our final third play from that moment on.”

Taylor also explained that defender Jack Hunt had been sick on the pitch before being substituted in the 25th minute with a suspected concussion.

Taylor felt that Chris Martin was harshly shown a second yellow card in the third minute of second half stoppage time as a late melee broke out between the two sides.

“If he’s sent off then several other players should have been too,” added Taylor.

Fleetwood boss Charlie Adam is refusing to get carried away with the upturn in his side’s results.

“We were pleased. To come away from home we knew what Bristol Rovers were going to give us, after their back-to-back wins,” he said.

“They’re in good form. We knew we had to defend the box well the whole night. We’re delighted but it’s just three points and we’ll look forward to Saturday.

“I’m delighted with the clean sheet and I believe our performances will get us the wins. I keep saying that. We’ve been in five or six games, but I’ve felt the performances were getting better and better. The last two-and-a-half games have been really, really good.

“If we keep clean sheets with what we have in the attacking part of the pitch then we’ll keep causing teams problems.”

Bristol Rovers manager Matt Taylor questioned referee Gavin Ward as his Pirates lost at home for only the second time in Sky Bet League One this season.

Blackpool came out of the blocks quickest to score twice in the first 20 minutes at the Memorial Stadium en route to a 2-1 victory.

Kyle Joseph twice crossed low, initially for CJ Hamilton to shoot into the top corner of the Rovers net in the fifth minute before midfielder Karamoko Dembele then converted from another Joseph cross 14 minutes later.

Rovers responded through Chris Martin’s deft flick, following a long throw, and Taylor argued that his side should have had a free-kick at least – if not a penalty – when Aaron Collins was brought down with just a minute of the game left to play.

“It’s definitely a foul,” said Taylor. “You’ll probably freeze frame it to see if it was in the box or not but it was definitely a foul.

“Just like the handball in the wall in the first half was definitely that.

“The biggest one for me is their second goal. I need to get clarity from the officials for that in relation to what I need to instruct Connor Taylor to do in that situation.

“Jordan Rhodes is in an offside position and Taylor is stretching and back-pedalling. He heads it into a dangerous area and their player picks it up.

“One pass and it’s in the back of the net. Does he leave it? For me it’s still offside.”

Taylor added that he didn’t think referee Ward had controlled the game, with eight yellow cards handed out in the match, explaining that he would be unlikely to be asked by the media about the referee if the official had produced a good performance.

The former Exeter boss did hint after the game that striker Martin is set to extend his contract through to the end of the season.

Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley dismissed talk that his team might have conceded a late penalty when Collins was caught by two Seasiders defenders as he burst into the penalty area in stoppage time.

“It’s outside the box,” he said. “He falls in the box but it’s outside the box.

“It could have been given but we could have been given one against Nottingham Forest the other night.

“These things happen. I’ve got a list to go through of penalties that we should have had this season. But yes, maybe it was a free-kick.

“We’ve had to do it in a different way today. Certain aspects of our game away have been questioned this season. I think that answers some of them today.

“It wasn’t a pretty game of football but I thought we battled and competed and we had to against a really good team at home.”

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