Bristol Rovers 0 Fleetwood Town 0: Joey Barton’s players grateful to keeper for late penalty save

Fleetwood Town and Bristol Rovers drew
Fleetwood Town and Bristol Rovers drew

Alex Cairns ensured Fleetwood Town left Bristol Rovers with a point after a dramatic late penalty save.

Joey Barton’s side should probably have secured all three points but were ultimately lucky to escape with a point.

Fleetwood hit the woodwork and had plenty of other opportunities, but had Cairns to thank for keeping the score level after saving Jonson Clarke-Harris’ late spot-kick.

It was a meeting of two teams desperately seeking a win with Fleetwood having now won just once in nine League One matches.

Fleetwood had the better of the first half and arguably should have taken the lead through at least one of their chances.

Paddy Madden looked lively and tested goalkeeper Jamal Blackman with a well-struck volley.

Madden went even closer to opening the scoring but was unable to connect with Wes Burns’ teasing cross, as Blackman got the faintest touch to put it out for a corner.

Burns was on hand again from the right flank, this time cutting it back for Ched Evans, but after taking a touch to give himself some space, the Fleetwood captain blazed his shot over the bar.

Rovers had a brief flurry as half-time approached, although neither attempt from Clarke-Harris or Josh Ginnelly worried Cairns as the score remained level at the break.

It was more of the same in the second half as the visitors continued to dominate and Danny Andrew should have scored.

Blackman palmed an Evans cross only as far as Kyle Dempsey, who knocked it down to the left-back whose shot went sailing over the crossbar.

Fleetwood increased the pressure as another full-back got involved in the action, as this time a left-footed shot from Lewie Coyle was pushed onto the post and clear by Blackman.

From the resulting corner, Callum Connolly’s diving header was going wide before an instinctive nod from Harry Souttar went narrowly over.

Evans almost got lucky with a speculative header as his effort from the edge of the box looped up and was only just kept out by Blackman.

Then, against the run of play, Rovers won a penalty when Alex Rodman, two minutes after coming on as a substitute, was tripped in the area by Andrew.

After a short delay as Fleetwood’s players argued the decision, up stepped Clarke-Harris but his spot-kick was saved onto the bar by Cairns.

The away team did have the ball in the back of the net before full-time, but Burns was flagged offside.

Bristol Rovers: Blackman, Kilgour, Davies, Craig, Holmes-Dennis, Sercombe (Ogogo 50), Upson (Rodman 83), Clarke, Ginnelly, Clarke-Harris, Barrett (Reilly 68). Subs not used: Van Stappershoef, Little, Leahy, Mitchell-Lawson.

Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle, Connolly, Souttar, Andrew, Sowerby, Whelan, Dempsey (Morris 81), Burns (Eastham 90), Evans, Madden (Coutts 89). Subs not used: Gilks, McAleny, Biggins, Hill.

Referee: Christopher Pollard.

Attendance: 6,469.