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League Two

John Ward hails Steve Mildenhall heroics

8 March 2014

Bristol Rovers boss John Ward heaped praise on goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall after his stunning late save earned three West country derby points in a 2-1 victory over Plymouth Argyle.

Mildenhall, who had earlier appeared to blame himself for Argyle's goal, dived to his left to keep out Marvin Morgan's header, leaving the substitute holding his head in disbelief.

"It was a save worth two points to us, just as much as the winning goal," said Ward. "Steve is an exceptional goalkeeper at this level, but more than that he is a great professional.

"If he makes a mistake he doesn't let it affect him. Had his concentration lapsed in the slightest he would not have made that save.

"The lads were all congratulating him in the dressing room. We now have a team of winners who are desperately trying for one another.

"I keep saying we need to look up the table and be positive. At half-time we had to reassess after conceding the equaliser, but I just told the lads to keep going and win the game again."

Kaid Mohamed headed the 78th-minute winner from a Lee Brown cross at the far post to settle a competitive game at the Memorial Stadium and maintain Rovers' climb up the table.

The hosts went in front after seven minutes when Mohamed nodded on a Michael Smith long throw and Chris Beardsley stooped to head in off a post.

Rovers had chances to increase their lead before Argyle hit back on the stroke of half-time. Mildenhall could only block a Luke Young free-kick and Michael Blanchard headed the loose ball across goal for Neal Trotman to nod home from close range.

Plymouth's goal had led a charmed life two minutes earlier when in a matter of seconds Tom Parkes had a header saved, Ollie Clarke saw two shots blocked, Brown had an effort cleared off the goal-line and David Clarkson blasted into the side-netting.

Argyle boss John Sheridan had no complaints about the result.

"The pitch was tricky and a blustery wind made conditions more difficult, but Rovers handled them better than we did," he said.

"We didn't play as well as we have been doing recently and can have no complaints. I didn't think we really got started and we conceded two very poor goals.

"One was from a long throw and the other when we should have done more to block the cross. The defending wasn't good enough.

"But the lads kept going and it still took a fantastic save at the end to deny us a point. I would have been happy with a draw before the game and we almost got one."


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