The poacher's instincts of Paul Peschisolido rescued Derby County as the team from 56 places beneath them in the League pyramid threatened to embarrass them at Pride Park.
The veteran striker scored eight minutes after coming on as a late substitute for struggling County and also after the resourceful Bristol Rovers had been reduced to 10 men by the harsh dismissal of Aaron Lescott.
It was little consolation to them that they had given the championship leaders a thoroughly uncomfortable afternoon. The Pirates had a string of first half chances but Stephen Bywater made vital saves and the one that did beat him, a header from Andy Sandell, was disallowed for a push on a defender. "I was pleased we had as much possession as we did in the first half, but you need to score goals when you're on top in games," said Rovers' manager and former Derby player Paul Trollope.
The turning point for Trollope and his men, currently 9th in Division Two, came 20 minutes from time when Lescott was late with his tackle on Arturo Lupoli and got what might well have been an over-hasty red card from Andy D'Urso. "It was definitely a foul but from my angle only worth a yellow card," said Trollope. "There was no malicious intent. It was a genuine attempt for the ball, so I'm disappointed."
There was no question of Rovers giving up the ghost when their ranks were depleted, but the sharpness of specialist substitute Peschisolido undid them nine minutes from time when Seth Johnson found him in the danger area with an angled ball. "It was a great managerial substitution," said Derby's relieved Bill Davies. "We know what he can do. He's got that experience and cleverness and his goalscoring record speaks for itself."Reuse content