DARRELL Clarke was grateful Oxford United’s playing surface allowed Bristol Rovers to show they were more than just a physical side.

The Kassam Stadium pitch is in good condition for the time of year, in contrast to the Memorial Stadium turf.

And Clarke thought the visitors enjoyed the chance to play, recovering from Joe Rothwell’s early strike to win 2-1.

He said: “We had a game plan. It’s nice to play on a decent pitch.

“One or two people are a little bit disrespectful saying we’re big and strong, but we’re actually a very good footballing team.

“We’re playing on a pitch that’s not fit for purpose at home, so we have to find different ways of winning games at times.

“But great credit to Oxford, it’s a decent surface and we played the best football.”

It was a fifth straight win at the Kassam Stadium for Rovers, who moved above the U’s in the Sky Bet League One table for the first time this season as a result.

Clarke believed it was thoroughly deserved, but had been critical of goalkeeper Adam Smith for the error which led to United’s goal.

He said: “I thought for 88 minutes we were outstanding.

“The keeper’s been sloppy for the first one, but he’s reacted well after I’ve slaughtered him at half-time.

“I said to the boys ‘don’t let that mistake be the one that costs us the game’.”

He added: “Oxford came up with us and they’re a very good team on their day.

“Like ourselves they’re evolving and realising how tough League One is.

“I think they’ve been cracking games, both teams trying to play the right way, albeit we penned them in quite well in the second half.”