Rovers faced a tough trip to Carlisle on a cold Cumbrian evening. Valentine’s night meant we all really should have been somewhere else but ‘love conquers all.’ James Coppinger returned though Andy Butler dropped out for Craig Alcock.
The first chance of the game fell to John Marquis who blazed over following neat interplay. Rovers continued to play it around but with no end product. Then Carlisle broke and a cross from the right was volleyed home spectacularly by Nicky Adams – a thorn in Rovers side all evening. Another golden opportunity fell to Marquis who managed to steer his header wide with the goal gaping.
The second half continued in similar vein with Carlisle pressing Rovers hard and seeking to hit on the break. Frustration grew for Rovers as Marquis spurned another opportunity. The feeling that it wasn’t to be Rovers night was confirmed on 85 minutes when Niall Mason contrived to slice into his own net.
Tommy Rowe sneaked in a near post header in added time but, despite a scrambling search for the equaliser, it was to prove only a consolation. Rovers had enough of the play to warrant at least a draw but ultimately missed chances cost dearly. The long trip home for Rovers fans was made a little more bearable with the news Plymouth had lost in added time.
Whether the last three games are a blip or the start of a slump will depend on how Rovers react on Saturday against an in-form Luton.
by Neil Allen