Another match, another milestone for James Coppinger as the influential midfielder made his 600th Rovers appearance. On the 26th minute the stadium rose as one to applause his achievement and sing his name. Had this been a Hollywood production then it would’ve ended with Coppinger winning the match with a wonder goal, but alas this isn’t the movies, this is League One.
Less fairytale, more realism; dealt to Grant McCann’s men by an impressive Oxford side who were unlucky not to take the lead early on; Rovers goal surviving thanks to a goalline John Marquis clearance and a smart Ian Lawlor save.
Instead first blow was struck from the penalty spot; Andy Butler held on a corner – Ben Whiteman drilling home the penalty sentiment might’ve handed to the number 26. Coppinger though did almost create a second; trademark trickery before a pinpoint cross that Marquis couldn’t keep below the bar.
In the second half Oxford pressed more keenly and were rewarded for their efforts on 64 minutes with a smartly worked free-kick that let in Gavin Whyte to level. Just when it seemed Rovers were hanging on, a last minute foray forward saw the ball squirm to the feet of Alfie May, and his first-time finish had surely won it.
Sadly not; in the seventh minute of time added on a big pump forward fell at Josh Ruffle’s feet, and decidedly unruffled by the urgency, he curled in a smart equaliser. A fair result, but a tough one to take.
by Glen Wilson