Despite scoring first for the only time this season, Fleet succumbed to a first-half onslaught from the now-league leaders that left them with a mountain to climb in the second half.
Nathan Elder was recalled at Liam Enver-Marum’s expense, while for the home side there was a no show from the injured former Fleet hero Magno Vieira. And the visitors led in the 12th minute when Phil Walsh hit a screamer after Tom Phipp’s free-kick had rebounded into his path.
But big-spending Rovers had no intention of letting that upset their rhythm and they shellshocked the Fleet with a four-goal blitz. First Matt Taylor’s low ball evaded the Fleet defenders and found Yan Klukowski arriving in the box to guide it home.
On 26 minutes one-time Fleet transfer target Ben Wright let fly from similar distance to Walsh and the shot squirmed out of Preston Edwards’ grasp and into the net. Four minutes later it was 3-1, when Taylor rose highest to meet a long cross and head past the despairing Fleet goalkeeper. And Rovers all but wrapped things up four minutes from half-time when a corner wasn’t dealt with by the Fleet defence and Eddie Oshodi took advantage of the confusion to convert from close range.
Neil Barrett had a header go close for the Fleet but Liam Daish wasn’t happy and barely allowed his side to recuperate at half-time, sending them back onto the pitch in no time. That at least made the visitors a little more resolute and both Elder and substitute Enver-Marum had efforts. The home side, though they looked content to play within themselves, also fashioned a number of opportunities but the score remained the same with the Fleet now searching to arrest their decline at home to Mansfield on Saturday.
TEAM: Edwards, Stone, Howe, Lorraine, Walsh, Ada (Bellamy 55), Azeez (Enver-Marum 55), Barrett, Phipp, Elder, Ashikodi (Greenhalgh 70). Subs not used: Menz, Blake.