A stunning strike from Ellis Harrison with three minutes left gave Bristol Rovers a 1-0 victory in the West Country derby at Huish Park this afternoon.
Harrison’s shot into the top corner gave the Gasheads their first win of the season and condemned ten man Yeovil to their third successive defeat. The Glovers had been reduced to ten men on 64 minutes with the dismissal of Matt Dolan following a second booking but in truth, Rovers deserved all three points and would have won by more had it not been for a brilliant goalkeeping performance from Artur Krysiak. The Pole saved Yeovil on five or six occasions, including a save from Harrison late on that was the pick of the bunch.
Following Tuesday night’s 3-0 loss to QPR in the Capital One Cup, Yeovil boss Paul Sturrock made three changes to the side that lined up at 3pm. Marc Laird’s hamstring injury ruled him out while both Shaun Jeffers and Iffy Allen dropped to the bench. They were replaced by Wes Fogden, Ryan Bird and Mark Beck, the latter two forming a new duo up front.
The first half saw Rovers dominate possession and have the bulk of the chances as a result. The first of Krysiak’s string of fine saves came on 17 minutes when Ellis Harrison’s left foot shot was pushed away full length by the keeper. The next save was even better as he denied James Clarke’s long range pile driver on twenty minutes.
Alex Lacey headed Matt Dolan’s corner over on the half hour but it was a rare chance for a Glovers team and normal service resumed shortly after when Krysiak tipped a Chris Lines free kick over his bar. From the corner Tom Parkes headed wide as Rovers threatened to attack at will.
As the half closed, Clarke again went close from distance, Harrison fired a shot over the bar and Krysiak turned a Matty Taylor effort for a corner. From the flag kick, Lines swung in an excellent delivery that nearly crept over the line before being cleared.
As at the QPR game on Tuesday, Yeovil improved somewhat after the interval and new Rovers keeper Aaron Chapman saved superbly from Dolan’s shot. He then almost faltered a minute later when Mark Beck almost closed down a short back pass but the clearance rebounded off the big striker and away to safety.
On 64 minutes, Dolan was dismissed for a second yellow, tripping Danny Leadbitter on the flank. His first booking was soft but frustrating, standing in front of a free kick to prevalent it being taken. The indiscretion could have caused Yeovil problems but to be truthful,mother Glovers were struggling anyway.
Shaun Jeffers replaced the quiet Harry Cornick on 63 minutes and the sub provided more successful hold up play and even created a half chance for himself before pulling his left foot shot well wide of goal. But the majority of the action was taking place at the other end as Rovers pressed home their man advantage by stretching play across the pitch and also playing the long diagonal balls to good effect.
Parkes headed over from a Lines corner and as Gas manager Darrell Clarke introduced two fresh attackers in Cristian Montano and Jeffery Monakana , there was an increased likelihood of a decisive single goal settling the derby. The Glovers had fair warning of the power of Harrison when the young forward swivelled and shot, Krysiak producing his best save to push it over.
On 87 minutes, the winner finally came. The ball came in from the right and found Harrison who slammed the ball high into the net to secure all three points in front of the 2,038 travelling Rovers fans.