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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 May 2007, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
Bristol Rovers 2-1 Lincoln City
Lincoln City's Lee Beevers and Craig Disley of Bristol Rovers
This is Lincoln's fifth successive play-off appearance
Bristol Rovers secured a narrow lead over Lincoln in this League Two semi-final first-leg play-off.

Rovers were ahead inside the opening 10 minutes when Craig Disley powered a header past goalkeeper Alan Marriott.

But Lincoln pulled level when Jeff Hughes' free-kick from the side of the pitch curled over Steve Phillips.

A free-kick provided the avenue for Rovers to regain their lead, Richard Walker volleying in Steve Elliott's set piece with an accomplished finish.

This was Lincoln's fifth successive appearance in the League Two play-offs and the visitors got off to the worst possible start.

Rickie Lambert's cross from the right was met by Disley, who steered a header past Marriott, to the delight of the Rovers fans who had packed the Memorial Stadum.

606: DEBATE

The Lincoln goalkeeper was soon under pressure again when he had to react quickly to save Lambert's free-kick.

Hughes was outstanding for Lincoln in the first-half, making a series of well-timed runs to trouble the Rovers defence, notably when he went clear only to send a lob narrowly wide.

Fittingly Hughes scored Lincoln's equaliser, his inswinging free-kick swirling its way past a posse of players in the penalty area and into the top right-hand corner of Steve Phillips' goal.

Rovers regained some of their earlier momentum towards the end of the first half and Disley's surging run allowed him to get in the box and test Marriott, only for the Lincoln keeper palmed the ball away for a corner.

Soon after Marriott made the save of the match when he tipped past the post a volleyed effort from Lewis Haldane.

Rovers' replicated their bright start to the game after the restart and were rewarded for their efforts as Lambert restored their lead.

Elliott's quick free-kick surprised the Lincoln defence and Lambert steered his shot past Marriott with a precise volley.

On 70 minutes Lambert had a chance to further extend Rovers' lead but his header went well wide.

Disley's ability to get forward and support his fowards remained a feature of the game and with five minutes left he almost got a connection to Sean Rigg's cross.


  • Bristol Rovers manager Paul Trollope:

  • "We're happy to be ahead, but it is only half-time in the tie and we were expected to be in this position having played at home.

    "There is a still a lot of work to and Lincoln will fancy themselves.

    "It will be a tight affair in the return at Sincil Bank. They showed that they have got a threat about them."

  • Lincoln Town manager John Schofield:

  • "Obviously we're disappointed not to have got a positive result from this game.

    "But I think we can take enough out of this game to believe we're still very much in this tie.

    "We just have to make sure we are switched on and ready for the fight at Sincil Bank for the second leg."


    Bristol Rovers: Phillips, Ryan Green, Anthony, Elliott, Carruthers, Haldane (Igoe 85), Campbell, Disley, Jacobson, Lambert (Rigg 80), Walker.
    Subs Not Used: Mike Green, Lines, Lescott.

    Goals: Disley 10, Walker 54.

    Lincoln City: Marriott, Eaden, Morgan, Brown, Beevers, Green, Frecklington, Kerr, Hughes, Stallard (Gritton 62), Forrester (Mendes 74).
    Subs Not Used: Rayner, Mayo, Amoo.

    Booked: Brown.

    Goals: Hughes 31.

    Att: 10,654.

    Ref: R Beeby (Northamptonshire).



    SEE ALSO
    League Two play-off lowdown
    10 May 07 |  League Two
    Trollope keeps focus on promotion
    11 May 07 |  Bristol Rovers
    Play-off photos
    12 May 07 |  Football
    Play-off Player Rater
    18 Jan 07 |  Live Text


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