Ben Garner’s a goner after Bristol Rovers’ heavy defeat

Sunderland v Bristol Rovers – Sky Bet League One – Stadium of Light
Sunderland v Bristol Rovers – Sky Bet League One – Stadium of Light (PA Wire)
18:29pm, Sat 14 Nov 2020
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Bristol Rovers sacked manager Ben Garner following their 4-1 defeat at home to Fleetwood.

The Pirates’ winless streak stretched to four Sky Bet League One matches with the loss and brought an end to Garner’s 11 months in charge.

A club statement read: “Bristol Rovers can this evening confirm that it has parted company with manager Ben Garner.

“Tommy Widdrington will be taking charge of first-team duties on a temporary basis, while the club commences the process of appointing a new manager.

“The club would like to thank Ben Garner for all his hard work and wish him the very best of luck for the future.

“The club will be making no further comment at this time.”

Earlier, Garner had apologised to Rovers fans for the team’s first-half display at a windswept Memorial Stadium.

A Callum Camps free-kick from out near the left touchline and a low finish from Paddy Madden had the visitors 2-0 up at the break.

And, although Josh Grant reduced the deficit with a close-range finish on the hour, Camps struck again with a precise chip before substitute Ched Evans completed Rovers’ misery with an 86th-minute penalty.

Garner said: “The first-half performance was unacceptable. We didn’t even compete or get the basics right.

“I can only apologise to our supporters for that. There were some strong words in the dressing room at half-time because I was shocked by how we played.

“The conditions were tough, but that is absolutely no excuse. We were second to the ball and allowed Fleetwood’s experienced players to run the game.

“I asked for a response in the second half and got it. We scored a good goal and looked like getting more before shooting ourselves in the foot.

“Their third goal came from a throw-in. The penalty at the end looked soft, but overall it was very disappointing.

“Up to today I felt we were making progress.”

Fleetwood boss Joey Barton described his team’s display as “fantastic” and heaped praise on midfielder Camps.

“His first goal was a cracker, but I thought the second was even better,” he said. “Callum was offered more money by other clubs when he joined us, but felt we could help him develop his game.

“To see him sitting on eight goals in November is very satisfying. But today was all about the team.

“I knew a wide pitch would suit us and all credit to the Rovers ground staff because it held up incredibly well in rain of biblical proportions.

“We came with a game plan and stuck to it despite the conditions. I felt 4-1 was a fair reflection of the play.

“They had a short spell of pressure after their goal. But the quality I was able to introduce from our bench enabled us to go on and win convincingly.

“This is an incredibly tough league, as some of the results today have shown. But I am hopeful we can get ourselves into the hunt for promotion again when it matters.”

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