Town’s Development side conceded a last gasp goal to suffer a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bristol Rovers in the Central League this afternoon.
Jamie Lucas had fired the visitors in-front at the Webbs Wood Stadium but Rhys Sharpe’s powerful header ensured that it was honours even at half-time.
Both sides gave it their all after the break but it was Rovers who took the spoils at the death courtesy of James Spruce’s tidy finish.
Town named a fairly strong squad with the likes of Anton Rodgers, Sean Murray and Nathan Delfouneso all handed starts, while youngsters in the ilk of Scott Twine, Christian Frimpong and Louis Spalding were given run-outs.
Jordan Stewart, who was stepping up his recovery from injury after being involved with the first-team at the weekend, registered the game’s first opportunity as he tested Kieran Hodges in the Rovers goal with a long-range effort.
Tom Smith then tried his luck after being picked out perfectly by Rodgers but he couldn’t beat Hodges, before Jamie Lucas hammered wide at the other end.
Town then carved out the best chance of the game as Rodgers sent Delfouneso clean through on goal with a superb ball, but the striker’s shot was soon shut down and blocked by Hodges who was quick off his line.
And the Gas punished that miss just two minutes later in emphatic fashion thanks to Lucas, who displayed great skill to weave his way through the Robins’ back-line before squeezing the ball past Will Henry.
Henry was to thank for keeping the score at 1-0 after getting down low to block Lewis Ellington’s strike with his legs, before Lucas was off-target moments later.
Chances were few and far between for Town but they did haul themselves level just before the break courtesy of Rhys Sharpe, who rose highest to nod home with aplomb from a corner.
It proved to be a much tighter affair after the interval as both teams tried to adapt to a less than ideal playing surface.
Stewart sent two strikes straight at Hodges while Danny Greenslade slammed wide for Rovers.
Town then opted to make two changes with Tommy Ouldridge replacing Rodgers and Stewart making way for Seb Martinez.
Despite time ticking away both sides were still trying to flex their attacking muscles as Murray saw his shot fly wide of the post, before Ryan Broom was denied by Henry.
The game looked certain to finish as a draw but Rovers had other ideas and they clinched a late winner after punishing a sloppy error at the back.
A poor back-pass led to James Spruce being played clean through on goal and he showed plenty of composure to send the ball past Henry and into the back of the net to inflict defeat on Town.
TOWN STARTING XI:
Henry; Evans, Frimpong, Sharpe, Spalding; Rodgers (Tommy Ouldridge 60), Murray, Smith, Stewart (Seb Martinez 74), Delfouneso (C), Twine.
Subs Not Used:Stanley, Hathaway.