Connor McBride’s ninth and tenth goals of the Premier League 2 season helped Rovers to a 4-1 victory over West Ham on Friday.
The Scottish forward scored Rovers’ first and second either side of the break, before an own goal from Emmanuel Longelo and Luke Brennan’s finish secured all three points.
For Rovers, first-team player Joe Rankin-Costello featured for 45 minutes on his return from injury, whilst Antonis Stergiakis replaced Jordan Eastham between the sticks after returning from illness.
In a match that was affected by the weather, it came alive early on as Isaac Whitehall’s header was saved by Joseph Anang, before West Ham’s Sean Adarkwa was denied by Stergiakis at the other end.
The visitors had a big opportunity to take the lead on 17 minutes, but Nathan Holland was well denied by Stergiakis’ legs.
Rovers did take the lead soon after, as Dan Chesters brought down McBride in the box, and the Scot stepped up and dispatched the penalty for his ninth of the season.
West Ham had a couple of chances before the break to level, with Kai Corbett and Holland both denied by Stergiakis.
Rovers went into the break ahead, and they doubled their lead just two minutes after the break as Dan Pike’s cross from the right saw McBride finish to reach double figures for the season.
Rovers had the chance to add a third as Jake Garrett fired into the side netting, before Sam Barnes came close twice.
West Ham capitalised on the missed chances and halved the deficit as Keenan Appiah-Forson’s strike beat Stergiakis.
Rovers pushed to restore their two-goal lead as Sam Burns came close twice, missing Pike’s cross and then firing straight at Anang from Ben Paton’s through-ball.
However, that would not matter as Rovers got their third with twenty minutes to go as Nolan’s goal-bound effort was turned into the West Ham goal by the unfortunate Longelo.
Rovers continued to dominate the match, and they got their fourth on 87 minutes as Burns played Sam Durrant through, and his shot was tapped home by Brennan to cap off a strong performance.
Rovers: Stergiakis, Rankin-Costello (Paton 46′), Barnes, Annesley, Pike, Garrett, Whitehall (Harlock 83′), Nolan, Brennan, McBride (Durrant 65′), Burns.
Subs not used: Eastham, Cirino.
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