Bristol Rovers pulled away from the League Two relegation zone with a narrow victory over Cheltenham.

Midfielder John-Joe O'Toole netted what was to be the only goal of the game shortly after the half-hour mark.

Rovers' top scorer capitalised on an error from defender Steve Elliott and fired in a low volley for his 13th goal of the season.

Cheltenham upped the tempo after the break but both Terry Gornell and Sido Jombati saw efforts miss.

Referee Iain Williamson inspected the Memorial Stadium pitch two hours before the game and deemed it fit for use, despite the rainfall in the West Country.

The heavy ground hindered the game's flow at times but Rovers managed the conditions well and earned a valuable three points.

In the opening 15 minutes, Jamie Cureton - playing against his former club - forced goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall into action from close range, while Alan Gow's looping strike went just wide.

O'Toole then pounced on Elliott's slip-up and hit powerfully into the net to give Rovers the lead.

Cheltenham went looking for an equaliser in the second-half but Mark Yates' side lacked the finishing touch. Jombati scuffed his shot after Mildenhall had parried into his path and Sam Deering's long-range strike soared wide.

It means Bristol Rovers move up to 18th in the standings and are now five points above the drop zone, while Cheltenham - without a win since Boxing Day - slip to 15th, two points above their local rivals.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Bristol Rovers manager John Ward told BBC Radio Bristol:

"We've played like that in other games and not won them.

"The one thing that carries you through on nights like this is your attitude.

"The mind games were there from four o'clock onwards - was the game going to go ahead? The referee probably had more mind games than the rest of us.

"We mastered the conditions as best as we could. It was a really good effort from both sets of players."

Cheltenham Town manager Mark Yates told BBC Gloucestershire:

"Three or four mistakes led up to the goal. It's disappointing we gave them a lead and then couldn't get it back.

"The effort was there. It was a battle between two evenly-contested teams. It's just disappointing we've got nothing from it.

"We felt we should have been a couple of goals up in the first 15 minutes but we weren't ruthless enough."

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (5)

Bristol Rovers

  • 01 Mildenhall
  • 02 Smith
  • 14 Brown
  • 25 Clucas
  • 30 Lockyer
  • 06 Parkes
  • 16 Gow (Harding - 88' )
  • 32 O'Toole
  • 07 Clarkson (Gillespie - 80' )
  • 19 Beardsley
  • 39 Mohamed

Substitutes

  • 08 Gillespie
  • 15 Norburn
  • 17 Harrison
  • 18 Harding
  • 20 Gough
  • 33 Santos
  • 34 Keary

Cheltenham Town

  • 01 Brown
  • 28 Ihiekwe Booked
  • 22 Braham-Barrett
  • 04 Taylor (Kotwica - 75' )
  • 05 Brown (Jombati - 54' Booked )
  • 06 Elliott
  • 08 Deering
  • 14 Richards
  • 07 Cureton (Harrison - 60' )
  • 10 Gornell
  • 11 McGlashan

Substitutes

  • 09 Harrison
  • 12 Roberts
  • 17 Hanks
  • 19 Kotwica
  • 20 Jombati
  • 31 Lucas
  • 32 Brundle
Ref: Iain Williamson
Att: 5,808

Match Stats

Shots

11 13

On target

3 5

Corners

4 5

Fouls

15 17

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Bristol Rovers 1, Cheltenham Town 0.

90:00 +5:00 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Bristol Rovers 1, Cheltenham Town 0.

90:00 +4:32

Tom Parkes (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90:00 +4:32

Foul by Steve Elliott (Cheltenham Town).

90:00 +4:09

Foul by Chris Beardsley (Bristol Rovers).

90:00 +4:09

Steve Elliott (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +3:18

Foul by Chris Beardsley (Bristol Rovers).

90:00 +3:18

Michael Ihiekwe (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90:00 +2:54

Hand ball by Michael Ihiekwe (Cheltenham Town).

90:00 +1:42

Hand ball by Chris Beardsley (Bristol Rovers).

90:00 +0:59

Corner, Cheltenham Town. Conceded by John-Joe O'Toole.

90:00 +0:26

Corner, Cheltenham Town. Conceded by Michael Smith.

89:20

Attempt saved. Terry Gornell (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

88:29

Corner, Bristol Rovers. Conceded by Michael Ihiekwe.

87:34 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Bristol Rovers. Mitch Harding replaces Alan Gow.

86:47

Corner, Bristol Rovers. Conceded by Matthew Richards.

84:58

Attempt missed. Sam Deering (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

82:46

Foul by Alan Gow (Bristol Rovers).

82:46

Sam Deering (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

82:30

Attempt missed. John-Joe O'Toole (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left from a direct free kick.

81:16

Attempt saved. Kaid Mohamed (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

79:25 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Bristol Rovers. Stephen Gillespie replaces David Clarkson.

75:23

Attempt missed. Steve Elliott (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

74:56 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cheltenham Town. Zack Kotwica replaces Jason Taylor.

74:30

Foul by John-Joe O'Toole (Bristol Rovers).

74:30

Jason Taylor (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.

71:55

Foul by Alan Gow (Bristol Rovers).

71:55

Jason Taylor (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

71:22

Tom Parkes (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

71:22

Foul by Byron Harrison (Cheltenham Town).

71:00

Michael Ihiekwe (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

70:59

Foul by Chris Beardsley (Bristol Rovers).

70:19

Attempt missed. David Clarkson (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from more than 40 yards on the left wing is close, but misses to the left.

69:39

Corner, Cheltenham Town. Conceded by Tom Lockyer.

69:25

Attempt saved. Matthew Richards (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

68:45

Foul by Chris Beardsley (Bristol Rovers).

68:45

Michael Ihiekwe (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

67:22

Chris Beardsley (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

67:22

Foul by Michael Ihiekwe (Cheltenham Town).

65:52

Attempt missed. Kaid Mohamed (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

63:54

Attempt saved. Terry Gornell (Cheltenham Town) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

63:15

Foul by Michael Smith (Bristol Rovers).

63:15

Jermaine McGlashan (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick on the left wing.

61:46

Seanan Clucas (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

61:46

Foul by Matthew Richards (Cheltenham Town).

61:17

Foul by Chris Beardsley (Bristol Rovers).

61:17

Craig Braham-Barrett (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

60:22

Attempt missed. Terry Gornell (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

59:42 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cheltenham Town. Byron Harrison replaces Jamie Cureton.

59:21

Attempt missed. Tom Parkes (Bristol Rovers) header from the centre of the box is too high.

58:42 Booking

Booking Sido Jombati (Cheltenham Town) is shown the yellow card.

58:36

Tom Parkes (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

58:36

Foul by Sido Jombati (Cheltenham Town).

57:13

Attempt missed. Terry Gornell (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

54:30

Hand ball by Craig Braham-Barrett (Cheltenham Town).

54:10

Attempt blocked. Terry Gornell (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

53:23 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cheltenham Town. Sido Jombati replaces Troy Brown because of an injury.

51:04

David Clarkson (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:04

Foul by Michael Ihiekwe (Cheltenham Town).

48:28

Corner, Cheltenham Town. Conceded by Tom Parkes.

47:22

Alan Gow (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

47:22

Foul by Jason Taylor (Cheltenham Town).

45:13

Foul by Kaid Mohamed (Bristol Rovers).

45:13

Jermaine McGlashan (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00

Second Half begins Bristol Rovers 1, Cheltenham Town 0.

45:00 +1:04 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Bristol Rovers 1, Cheltenham Town 0.

43:30

Tom Parkes (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

43:30

Foul by Terry Gornell (Cheltenham Town).

41:45

Tom Lockyer (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

41:45

Foul by Craig Braham-Barrett (Cheltenham Town).

37:23

Chris Beardsley (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

37:23

Foul by Sam Deering (Cheltenham Town).

35:17

Michael Smith (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

35:17

Foul by Sam Deering (Cheltenham Town).

34:21 Booking

Booking Michael Ihiekwe (Cheltenham Town) is shown the yellow card.

34:14

John-Joe O'Toole (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

34:14

Foul by Michael Ihiekwe (Cheltenham Town).

33:03 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Bristol Rovers 1, Cheltenham Town 0. John-Joe O'Toole (Bristol Rovers) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner.

31:05

Foul by Lee Brown (Bristol Rovers).

31:05

Jermaine McGlashan (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

29:17

Attempt blocked. Sam Deering (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

26:57

Attempt saved. Jamie Cureton (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

26:06

Foul by Chris Beardsley (Bristol Rovers).

26:06

Troy Brown (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

25:37

Seanan Clucas (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

25:37

Foul by Matthew Richards (Cheltenham Town).

24:47

Attempt missed. John-Joe O'Toole (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right.

23:37

Attempt missed. Alan Gow (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner.

23:12

Attempt saved. Terry Gornell (Cheltenham Town) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

22:36

Foul by John-Joe O'Toole (Bristol Rovers).

22:36

Terry Gornell (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

21:33

Corner, Bristol Rovers. Conceded by Michael Ihiekwe.

17:23

Attempt missed. David Clarkson (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

13:19

Michael Smith (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

13:19

Foul by Sam Deering (Cheltenham Town).

12:28

Corner, Bristol Rovers. Conceded by Jermaine McGlashan.

11:55

Attempt blocked. Chris Beardsley (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is blocked.

11:26

Chris Beardsley (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

11:26

Foul by Steve Elliott (Cheltenham Town).

7:30

Corner, Cheltenham Town. Conceded by Tom Parkes.

7:22

Attempt blocked. Terry Gornell (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

7:14

Attempt blocked. Jamie Cureton (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

4:07

Foul by Seanan Clucas (Bristol Rovers).

4:07

Matthew Richards (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

1:43

Attempt saved. David Clarkson (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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