REPORT FROM BRISTOL ROVERS SITE
GAS ON FIRE AT AGOGO STAG PARTY
Rovers got their 2004/05 League Two season off to a flying start today, with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over Mansfield Town at Field Mill.
Junior Agogo was the hero of the hour scoring a goal either side of half-time to ensure the three points would be going back to Bristol, and that the Stags would be beginning their campaign with nothing.
The first half was an open and end-to-end affair, with both sides enjoying spells of time on the ball and decent chances in front of the opposition goal.
Robbie Ryan conjured up the Pirates' best early opportunity of the match, the former Millwall man delivering a square ball across the park that Stuart Campbell struck towards goal, only to see Kevin Pilkington save well.
Mansfield had a goal disallowed a few moments later after Derek Asamoah poked home an Alex Neil pass before seeing the offside flag raised, and then after some more sustained pressure from the home side, Asamoah beat Christian Edwards for pace before unleashing a drive that John Anderson needed to put behind for a corner.
The lively Asamoah forced Kevin Miller to make a save midway through the half as his shot saw the Rovers goalkeeper at full stretch, before at the other end a Junior Agogo free-kick found its way to Campbell who could only curl the ball over the crossbar.
Three minutes later Jamie Forrester found himself in space inside the Mansfield penalty area, although after taking an extra touch to control the ball, saw Scott McNiven block his effort and Campbell wasn't able to take advantage of the rebound.
Rovers took the lead on 31 minutes after a breakaway move that began from one end and finished at the other. Anderson played a pass to Campbell who in turn played in Agogo. The Pirates striker then strode forward before playing in Ali Gibb on the right side, and after finding space on the edge of the Mansfield six-yard box, was able to receive the return ball from the Stockport County man, and steer a shot home.
Mansfield came back with an Asamoah drive that crept just wide of Miller's right, and then Colin Larkin ended the first half with a low effort that appeared to touch the Rovers upright on its way out.
The second half was a far more one-sided contest than the first, as Rovers dominated for long spells and created chance after chance as they pinned their hosts back.
Mansfield tired their luck with a 25-yard Larkin effort minutes after the restart that went wide, before Rovers doubled their advantage on 52 minutes. The goal came after Campbell made a superb run from defence, riding two challenges and then finding Gibb out wide on the right flank. Gibb looked up and then delivered a trademark pin-point cross into the penalty area, where Agogo was on hand to stick the ball home from close range.
Agogo could have made it 3-0 within a minute of scoring his second, only for an attempted lob to creep an inch over the Mansfield crossbar, and then an attempt from Campbell was deflected wide for a corner by Alex Baptise.
Anderson headed over from a Rovers corner, Gibb shot wide of the post, and then Mansfield came back with a rare attempt from Larkin, which was well wide of the target.
The on-fire Agogo then produced another terrific moment from nothing, as he ran from the middle of the park before striking a thunderous effort towards Pilkington, which the Mansfield goalkeeper had to adjust quickly to in order to tip over.
A Campbell ball into the box saw Edwards try his luck on goal with a shot that struck the Mansfield woodwork, and then another counter-attack from Mansfield saw Asamoah strike the Rovers upright with a powerful effort that looked to have Miller beaten.
There was more great football from Rovers a couple of minutes later as the impressive Gibb whipped in an awesome cross towards Agogo which the forward headed against the post, and then Paul Trollope was forced to hold his head in his hands as he struck the rebound against the crossbar from three yards out.
Dave Artell thought he'd pulled a goal back for Mansfield as the game entered its final ten minutes - the Mansfield man rising high to head the ball home inside the Rovers penalty area only for the referee to disallow it for alleged pushing.
At the other end, Agogo was causing havoc in the Mansfield defence again, this time beating two players before drilling a low effort towards the corner of Pilkington's goal, which the goalkeeper had to dive low to his left to save.
The final whistle was greeted by a chorus of 'Goodnight Irene' and warm applause from the travelling army of 1,325 Gasheads, who had witnessed their side kick-off the new season in perfect style.
MANSFIELD TOWN 0-2 BRISTOL ROVERS
Agogo 31, 52
REPORTED BY: Ian Cole
Latest | August 2004