What happened the last time Rovers played each Premier League side

With both the Gas and the Premier League kicking off this weekend, I’ve taken the time to look at every current top flight team’s last match with the Gas so you don’t have to. For the avoidance of doubt, we’re looking at the last competitive fixture with these sides, so no friendlies or testimonials before anyone mentions the game with the treble winning United side. Additionally, we won’t be including any games against U23s/U21s/B team in the whatever its now called cup. So here is what happens every time Rovers played each Premier League side.

Arsenal- 9th October 1984

Bristol Rovers 1-1 Arsenal

The Gas and the Gunners last locked horns all the way back in 1984, in the second leg of a milk cup tie at Eastville. Arsenal had already beaten Rovers 4-0 at Highbury the week before, and any hopes of a remarkable comeback were promptly dashed as Tommy Caton scored, his header bouncing in off Rovers goalie Ray Cashley. Rovers equalised sixty seconds into the second half, Steve White slotting home past Northern Ireland international Pat Jennings. Cashley made up for his error earlier by saving a penalty from Tony Woodcock, after he brought the striker down in the box. Arsenal triumphed 5-1 on aggregate, however they would ultimately be knocked out in the following round by Oxford.

Aston Villa- 7th January 2012

Bristol Rovers 1-3 Aston Villa

Rovers last game against the Villains came in the third round of the FA cup in 2012. Villa took an early lead through Marc Albrighton, before Gabby Agbonlahor lashed home from 30 yards in the 64th minute. Ciaran Clark added a third goal with an impressive individual effort on 78 minutes. Rovers rallied late on with Scott McGleish  lobbing Brad Guzan on 90 minutes. Refereeing legend Howard Webb awarded Rovers a penalty in the final minute of match for a  Stephen Warnock handball. McGleish failed to beat Guzan and the game finished 3-1 to Villa. Villa would lose in the following round to Arsenal.

Brighton and Hove Albion- 27th August 2019

Bristol Rovers 1-2 Brighton

Rovers most recent clash with premier league opposition saw them go head to head with the Seagulls in the second round of the league cup. Brighton took the lead in the second half with a 55th minute goal for Aaron Connolly who was making his first start for the club at 19 years old. Rovers struck back on 64 minutes, with Tom Nichols holding off the defender to sweep past the keeper (that was weird sentence to write). The match looked set to be heading to penalties, however in the 92nd minute the ball dropped to Glenn Murray, who finished clinically. Brighton would go on to be knocked out by eventual finalists Aston Villa.

Burnley- 5th February 2000

Burnley 1-0 Bristol Rovers

The Gas’ last match against the Lancashire club ended in a Claret’s victory. Rovers had beaten Burnley at the Memorial Stadium with a Jamie Cureton penalty earlier that season, however the rematch saw a reversal of the score. Burnley winger Glen Little scored a 69th minute goal to secure a victory. This season would ultimately see Burnley promoted to the old first division, whilst Rovers collapsed, dropping from 1st to 7th and missing out on the playoffs by 2 points.

Chelsea- 23rd August 2016

Chelsea 3-2 Bristol Rovers

One of the more recent ties from the list, this league cup second round clash was preceded by the arrival of 4000 Gasheads in the capital. The match at Stamford Bridge saw Chelsea score twice early on through Victor Moses and Michy Batshuayi. Peter Hartley pulled one back with a trademark header from a set-piece, before Batshuayi added a third just before the break. Ellis Harrison scored a second half penalty on 48 minutes after Stuart Sinclair was brought down in the box. Rovers spend the remainder of the game chasing an equaliser, as Antonio Conte was forced to add the experience of John Terry and Eden Hazard to see out the game. Chelsea went on to win both the League Cup and the Premier League, whilst Rovers finished a respectable 10 in their first season back in league one after a six year absence.

Crystal Palace- 14th August 2007

Bristol Rovers 1-1 Crystal Palace (Rovers win 4-1 on penalties)

Bristol Rovers clashed with the Eagles in the 2007-08 league cup first round. A free-kick from Dougie Freedman gave Palace the lead after half an hour, before a goal from Craig Disley on 63 minutes levelled the tie. The match ended in penalties, with Steve Phillips becoming the hero for Rovers, saving one penalty whilst another hit the crossbar to give the Gas a win. Rovers would be eliminated in the next round by West Ham, but more on that later.

Everton- 27th September 2000

Bristol Rovers 1-1 Everton won (Rovers win 3-2) on penalties.

Rovers haven’t played the blue half of Merseyside since the year 2000, with the last competitive match between the two teams coming in the league cup. Having drawn 1-1 at Goodison Park a week before, Everton took an early lead through England one-cap wonder Francis Jeffers. Rovers right-back Marcus Bignot equalised in the second half to force extra time and eventually penalties. Joe-Max Moore missed and Kevin Campbell had a penalty saved as the Gas ran out 4-2 winners in the shootout.

Fulham- 22nd August 2017

Fulham 0-1 Bristol Rovers

The only Rovers win in 90 minutes on this list (yeah depressing I know), Rovers travelled to Craven Cottage in the second round of the league cup. Fulham fielded a completely different starting 11 to their previous game and Rovers took advantage. In the 13th minute Liam Sercombe played a through ball to Ellis Harrison, who rounded Goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli to score. Bettinelli did better late to keep out Tom Lockyer from point-blank range. Fulham’s chances were few and far between and they struggled to keep up with Rovers. Rovers would advance to play Wolves in the next round (more on that later), whilst Fulham would end up being promoted via the playoffs at the end of the season.

Leeds United- 8th May 2010

Leeds 2-1 Bristol Rovers

Leeds and Rovers last locked horns on the final game of the 2009-10 season. Rovers were set to finish mid-table after a mixed season under Trollope. Leeds on the other hand had it all to play for, needing a win to guarantee a return to the Championship. The game got off to a hectic start, with Max Gradel being sent off following an incident with Rovers left-back Danny Jones starting an on-field scrap. Rovers took advantage and Darryl Duffy gave the Gas the lead. Jonathan Howson equalised on 59 minutes with a 20 yard screamer, before Jermaine Beckford pounced on a spilled save to give Leeds the lead. Leeds held out to secure the vital win and guarantee them promotion to the Championship.

Leicester City- 21st February 2009

Bristol Rovers 0-1 Leicester

Seven years before their remarkable Premier League triumph, Leicester were chasing the chasing the League One title when they came to the Memorial Stadium in 2009. Matt Fryatt scored a volley to give the Foxes the lead in the match. Jack Hobbes was sent off for Leicester after bringing down Darryl Duffy in the box. However the laws of natural order shattered briefly when Rickie Lambert had his penalty saved by debut keeper Mark Dunn. Rovers couldn’t make the extra man count and Leicester secured the win.

Liverpool- 11th February 1992

Liverpool 2-1 Bristol Rovers

One of the more famous games on this list, Rovers’ 4th Round clash with Liverpool is best remember for it early goal. A week earlier goals from Saunders Dean and Carl had led to a 1-1 draw at Twerton Park, leading to a replay at Anfield. Rovers struck first, with a delightful chested half-volley from Carl Saunders beating Bruce Grobbelaar and silencing the Kop. Rovers were unable to secure a famous victory however, with Liverpool scoring twice in the second half through Steve McManaman and Dean Saunders. Liverpool held on to win the match, and would ultimately go on to win that season’s FA cup, beating Sunderland in the final. Because we lost to winner’s that makes us runners up right?

Manchester City- 1st May 1999

Bristol Rovers 2-2 Manchester City

Long before they were a trophy-winning machine fuelled by oil money and a liberal interpretation of FFP, Man City travelled to the Memorial Stadium towards the end of the 1998-99 season. First half goals from Shaun Goater and Terry Cooke gave the Citizens a two goal lead. However Rovers came back late on, with an 83rd minute goal from Jason Roberts, before Jamie Cureton secured a draw with an 88th minute penalty. City would go on to finish third and secure promotion to the second tier of English football, though they were somewhat overshadowed by their neighbours that season.

Manchester United- 28th March 1975

Bristol Rovers 1-1 Manchester United

Rovers’ last competitive game against Manchester United was so long ago, Fergie was still cutting his managerial teeth at St. Mirren and the original Bristol City hadn’t yet gone bust. Relegated the season before, The Red Devils travelled to Eastville trying to secure a return to the top flight at the first time of asking. An early goal from midfielder Lou Macari gave United the lead, before David Staniforth played through an inch perfect pass for substitute Bruce Bannister to slam home in the final minute. United would return to the first division at the end of the season before going on to have ‘some’ success over the next 45 years.

Newcastle United- 24th February 1993

Newcastle 0-0 Bristol Rovers

Well this is going to be boring to write about. Unlike their neighbours in the North East, Rovers haven’t played a competitive game against Newcastle in over 27 years. This match was overshadowed by the death that day of England World Cup winning Captain Bobby Moore. Goalkeeper Gavin Kelly played a blinder, saving a number of goal-bound shots to keep the Gas in the game. Rovers spurned their two chances, with Marcus Browning heading over from six yards out, and not quite being able to cut a pass across to an unmarked Marcus Stewart. Newcastle would go on to win the second division title, whilst Rovers were relegated back to the third tier of English football.

Sheffield United- 14th February 2017

Bristol Rovers 0-0 Sheffield United

Valentine’s Day 2017 and some pun about love. Rovers went into the match against the high-flying Blades still with a hope of getting into the play-offs. Sheffield United showed their class early on, forcing several top-draw saves from loanee keeper Joe Lumley. Rovers had chances to snatch a win later on, with Montano firing just wide and half the squad involved in a goal-line scramble but failing to get it over the line. Chris Wilder’s men would go on to reach 100 points as they secured a return to the second division. Rovers meanwhile finished seven points off the playoffs.

Southampton- 16th April 2011

Southampton 1-0 Bristol Rovers

Rovers last trip to St. Mary’s was a dismal affair. Managed by Dave Penney, the managerial equivalent of catching chlamydia after breaking up with your missus, Rovers were mired in a relegation battle. Jo Kuffour had Rovers best chance of the match, scuffing wide in the first half. Southampton had the majority of the chances, with Jonathan Forte and Rickie Lambert (sobs bitterly) missing chances. In the end, Brazilian Guly Do Prado scored to give Southampton the win, and as is turning into a theme in this article, Southampton went up in second whilst Rovers were relegated to league two.

Tottenham Hotspur- 18th March 1978

Bristol Rovers 2-3 Spurs

The Gas last battled Spurs in the 1977-78 season. Having been thoroughly humiliated earlier in the season, when Spurs won 9-0 at White Hart Lane (thank God I didn’t have to write about that), Rovers were keen to avoid a repeat of the result. The Gas took an early lead on three minutes when Paul Randall, who had been working in a supermarket just a few months prior, saw his shot deflected in past the keeper. Spurs levelled in the 7th minute through Chris Jones, and took the lead just before the break through Neil McNab. They added a third moments later as John Pratt shot went through the arms of the Rovers keeper. Rovers managed a late goal as the Spurs keeper turned the ball into his own net deep into injury time. They were unable to add a further goal and Spurs secured a double over the Gas.

West Bromwich Albion- 9th March 2008

Bristol Rovers 1-5 West Brom

Well this one just hurts. Rovers were in the quarter-finals of the FA cup. We’d only ever got this far twice before. We were ninety minutes away from Wembley. But we’re Bristol Rovers, and we can’t have nice things. James Morrison and Ishmael Miller scored early, before Danny Coles pulled one back for Rovers. Any hope of a repeat of previous cup heroics died in the second half with goals from Ishmael Miller and Kevin Phillips in the 69th and 73rd minute respectively put the match beyond the Gas. Miller wrapped up a hat-trick in the 85th minute to guarantee the result. Still gutting even now, 12 years on.

West Ham United- 28th August 2007

Bristol Rovers 1-2 West Ham

Rovers last game against the Hammers came in the second round of the league cup back in 2007. West Ham fielded a strong 11 for the tie including a midfield pairing of Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer, who 18 month previously had scrapped on the pitch whilst playing together at Newcastle (still the greatest moment in Premier League history). The latter would have his leg broken in two places during this match due to a tackle by Joe Jacobson. The hammers took the lead in the 31st minute from a Craig Bellamy goal. The Welshman scored again on 45 minutes to leave Rovers a mountain to climb in the second half. A 72nd minute goal from substitute Andy Williams pulled one back for the Gas, but West Ham ultimately secured the victory. They would go on to be eliminated in the quarter finals by Everton.

Wolverhampton Wanderers- 19th September 2017

Wolves 1-0 Bristol Rovers

Rovers last trip to the Black Country ended in disappointment for the Gas. The two sides met in the 3rd round of the league cup, with Rovers having knocked out Fulham in the previous round. Rovers played well in the match with Nichols and Sercombe both having good chances to open the scoring. Marc Bola came close in the second half, whilst Wolves forced a number of good saves from Sam Slocombe and had a shot hit the bar on 80 minutes. However neither side could break the deadlock and the match went to extra time. Bright Enobakhare scored in the 98th minute (coincidentally also what his name is worth in Scrabble) to give Wolves the lead in the match. Despite a spirited performance, Rovers were unable to find a way back into the match, despite good opportunities for Sercombe and Telford. The Gas were also left with a sour taste after Captain Tom Lockyer was sent off for holding back Donovan Wilson. Wolves would go on to be eliminated by eventual winners Man City in the following round.