Paulton Rovers 0 - 1 North Leigh
Rovers rue missed chances as North Leigh take all 3 points home.
On a night where Paulton dominated possession & created chance after chance, Rovers missed the opportunity to earn 3 valuable points when arguably on another day this game could have been over at half-time.
John Rendell made several changes from Saturday's narrow defeat to Swindon Supermarine with Josh Morgan-Williams making his first start for 6 games whilst there were also returns to the starting line-up for Liam Monelle, Dale Evans & captain Josh Ford. An injury to Alexis Andre meant a debut for Bristol Rovers Academy keeper Liam Armstrong who signed a work experience contract earlier that day.
In what looked to be a 4-2-3-1 formation, Paulton were on the front foot from the start playing some free flowing football that was pleasing on the eye with the wide men of Gould & Monelle getting down the flanks & creating chances at will. The first of those coming as early as the 4th minute after a cute reverse pass from Byrne set Monelle through down the right-hand side only to have his low cross turned behind for a corner. From the resulting corner the ball somehow evaded the head of Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis just as it looked he would open his account for Rovers.
Chances were coming thick and fast for Rovers with Kailan Gould wreaking havoc down the left hand side when firstly he fired inches past the post after a lovely flick inside by Monelle and then minutes later Gould danced around 3 North Leigh players only for his shot to land in the keepers gloves. Disappointingly for Gould & Rovers (and probably to the relief to the North Leigh full-back), Gould was forced off with an injury in the 28th minute, replaced by Dave Sims.
With North Leigh struggling to get out of their own half, they did provide a rare moment of attacking intent in the 18th minute as striker George Seacole latched onto a through ball but he could not get the better of youngster Armstrong who blocked his shot.
The pressure continued thereafter from Paulton and it looked to be only a matter of time before the first goal would arrive but a catalogue of good saves from the impressive Manny Agboola along with some off-target shooting, Rovers could not find the all important breakthrough that no-one would have begrudged them.
The pattern continued in the early stages of the second half when in the 49th minute Dave Sims was put through on goal by Byrne only for his shot to be fired straight at Agboola. 7 minutes later, it was starting to look like "one of those nights" after Monelle played in CTG down the left, who cut in on his right foot and thundered a low shot towards goal. Agboola pulled off a great save with the ball then rebounding into the North Leigh defender and agonisingly rolling past the wrong side of the post.
The killer blow then came for Paulton in the 61st minute when North Leigh took the lead against the run of play when sub Matt Grabe all too easily ran onto a loose ball and fired a "cross come shot" across the goal which cruelly deflected into the net off the unlucky Jo Guest.
Rovers went in search of the equaliser and on a night where Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis could have had a hat-trick, again he was denied by the flying Agboola after firing another rocket towards goal following some good work by Knott down the left hand side. As Paulton looked to push more players forward they were always going to be left open to the counter-attack which North Leigh almost took advantage of if not for a great save of his own from debutant Armstrong.
Using a more direct method in the latter stages, Paulton couldn't find the equalising goal they richly deserved and North Leigh hung on for all 3 points.
Rovers have a chance to put the disappointment of this result behind them on Saturday when they face Cinderford Town at home, kick-off 3pm.
|PAULTON ROVERS||NORTH LEIGH|
|17||ATTEMPTS ON GOAL||9|
|6||SHOTS ON TARGET||4|