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Bristol Rovers boss Matt Taylor heaps praise on matchwinner Scott Sinclair

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Feb 2024

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Bristol Rovers manager Matt Taylor saluted matchwinner Scott Sinclair after he clinched a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Sky Bet League One’s basement side Carlisle.

The 34-year-old former Celtic forward struck a stunning second-half goal that capped an impressive comeback after the Cumbrians took a shock lead through Josh Vela’s volley after 16 minutes.

Veteran striker Chris Martin equalised from close range before the break following brilliant approach play by Jevani Brown before Sinclair had the final say after 51 minutes, cutting in before unleashing a shot that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.

Taylor, who watched the game from the stand due to a touchline suspension, said: “I didn’t like being away from the touchline at all, apart from Scott’s goal because I was sat directly behind it as the ball flew in.

“It was the one blessing of being up in the stands that I got such a great view of a great goal and a real moment of quality.

“He’s so difficult to play against because he’s right-footed on the left, but it was one hell of a finish and I’m really pleased for Scotty.”

Sinclair’s long-term future is in doubt with his current deal due to expire at the end of this season, but he has certainly given Taylor plenty to think about.

“In terms of his intent, every single day Scott is a truly model professional which is why he’s had such a good career,” Taylor said.

“And he’s doing it out of his love for football and the club itself. He’s been out of the fold a bit this season in terms of personnel and formations.

“But he’s kept himself where he needs to be in terms of fitness and in training his impact has been absolutely excellent for a senior player.

“Now I wouldn’t say he’s come back to life, but he’s taken his chance and he’s contributed.

“Also, in terms of the fragile nature of the squad you need seniority there and ones like Scott who trust the game more and won’t get affected by being 1-0 down.

“I’m delighted for him and now we’ve got to look after him because he was stretching his calves towards the end, but the pitch is so heavy it would test anyone.”

Carlisle manager Paul Simpson took consolation from seeing his players raise their game following a crushing 4-0 defeat at home to Cambridge in midweek.

“It was a vast improvement on last week but sadly we’ve come away with nothing again,” Simpson said.

“I think we’ve been done by a real bit of quality for the equaliser and the second goal is disappointing because it’s not really come from anything.

“We have allowed him (Sinclair) to come inside and get a shot on target when we’ve got to send him down the line which is simple defending.”

Simpson added: “We’ve had goalscoring opportunities in the scramble in the six-yard box after a corner at 1-1 and you have to stick that in the back of the net.

“We’ve had two or three bites at the cherry and not been able to score.

“I’m disappointed that we’ve lost the game but the way the players went about their work today was much better than our last outing.

“And there were some good passages of play where we got into some good areas but we just weren’t able to apply the finish for ourselves.”

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