Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton tipped striker Jevani Brown to “go from strength to strength” after his first goal for the club sealed a comfortable 3-0 League One victory over 10-man Port Vale at the Memorial Stadium.
Barton praised Brown after his 20-yard goal late on completed a good night’s work for the summer signing from Exeter, who put the Gas on course for victory when he crossed for Luke McCormick to head the hosts into a 25-minute lead.
Vale defender Jesse Debrah was sent off after 38 minutes for a second bookable offence before right-back Jack Hunt popped up in first-half stoppage-time to double the lead and then Brown capped a fine personal show in style, four minutes from time.
Barton said: “Jevani’s a quality operator and that goal was important because it will lift a weight off his shoulders and I’m sure that he’ll now go from strength to strength for us.
“It was his best performance in the blue and white quarters and a lovely top-binner like that right in front of our most vociferous fans will certainly settle him and endear him to the supporters.
“It was a hell of a ball in for the first goal and everyone in the stadium now knows what a top-notch operator JB is.”
Barton says he is confident Brown will turn Rovers into a formidable attacking force.
He added: “JB’s had to be patient because it takes bit of time to get up to speed but tonight we looked unplayable up front with JB, Aaron Collins and Chris Martin and their pace and link-up play.
“I always knew his goal would come and I’m buzzing for him. We’re lucky to have him at our club. We have had to be streetwise to beat the rat race for him.
“But I know he’ll bear fruit over the next few months amid all the challenges we face this season.”
Vale boss Andy Crosby tipped former Halifax defender Debrah to learn from his sending off.
Crosby said: “Jesse is going to be fantastic for our club. He’s got fantastic attributes and we’ll be there to support him. He’ll learn from this and we’ll back him.”
“The referee has made a decision but I’m not sure (over) the first one, which looked like just a coming-together from the bench.
“As soon as you go down to 10 men, it’s going to be extremely difficult but the referee had a decision to make, the rules have changed in terms of how tackles are interpreted. It was a cheap one.”
Crosby praised his side for their show of resilience in the second half.
Crosby added: “We beat their press numerous times and got into their final third many times but if you don’t track your men into your own box and concede poor goals, you give yourself a big mountain to climb.
“We freshened things up at half-time with four changes to stay in the game and I’m so proud of the players’ reaction because they kept fighting and didn’t go under. We hung in there and defeat is difficult to take.”