New Bristol Rovers manager Matt Taylor admitted to being amazed how poorly his team played in their 1-1 draw with bottom-of-the-table Cheltenham Town at the Memorial Stadium.

Taylor had veteran full-back Jack Hunt to thank for sparing his blushes in his first home game in charge since succeeding Joey Barton as he cancelled out Will Goodwin’s opener.

“It was incredible to witness that first half because there were so many mistakes and so many moments where we weren’t in control of our own game,” Taylor said.

“We were slow and a bit stodgy and we were waiting for moments to appear and when that happens you get a lot going through your brain.

“And footballers can’t have too many thoughts going through their mind because they become indecisive.”

And the former Rotherham boss added: “We weren’t where we needed to be during that first half and I told the players it could only get better.

“We certainly couldn’t get any worse and I challenged them to start showing more of what we are made of.

“And then to see the difference in the second half was impressive – it really was night and day as we went from being a poor team to being a really effective team.

“We played quicker football with a brighter tempo and we looked like a different side.

“We could have gone on and won it but I’d have snapped your hand off at half-time for a point after how we played but I’ m learning so much in a short space of time.”

Striker Will Goodwin put the Robins in command on 28 minutes, coolly slotting in from 10 yards after a counter-attack led by George Lloyd to record his fifth goal this season.

Hunt, making his 500th senior appearance, equalised on 50 minutes, acrobatically poking a bouncing ball beyond Luke Southwood after good work by Luke Thomas.

Cheltenham’s ex-Rovers manager Darrell Clarke headed back up the M5 with mixed feelings.

“The most pleasing aspect is that the dressing room is disappointed that we haven’t won the game and that’s a good sign,” Clarke said.

“We scored a good goal and kept our shape nicely in the swirling wind but didn’t handle the first 15-20 minutes of the second half well when they came back into it.

“We knew they couldn’t play as badly in the second half as they did in the first so we were braced for them to come at us.

“We conceded a sloppy, scruffy goal but we didn’t chuck in the towel, they didn’t roll over and got more impetus as the game went on and that bodes well.

“So I’m sat here with mixed emotions but it was probably a fair result because we were better in the first half, they had the upper hand.”

While the Robins remain rooted to the bottom of the League One table, Clarke is upbeat about his side’s chances of beating the drop.

“We’ve now taken four points from three tough games and we keep going and we’re just trying to claw teams back,” Clarke said.

“I can’t ask for more from the players because they’re giving me everything in terms of effort, determination and grit but we’re playing for snookers because of our bad start to the season.”