Connor McBride’s double helped Rovers move second in Premier League 2 after a 4-1 win over West Ham United.

McBride now has 10 goals in 13 appearances since his summer move from Celtic, and only goal difference separates Rovers and Manchester City at the top of the standings.

Rovers were good value for their victory at Leyland, with both sides benefiting from an own goal in a competitive affair, but one the hosts had the greater control of.

They still required some fine saves from Antonis Stergiakis in the first half as they negotiated the swirling wind well.

The other headline was 45 minutes for Joe Rankin-Costello following three months out with a hamstring injury as he closes in on his return to first-team action.

Rovers were looking to bounce back from a defeat at Manchester United last time out, only their third of the season so far.

Isaac Whitehall, breaking from midfield, controlled a Dan Pike cross, the ball not coming down in time which meant he was forced to head towards goal, as Joseph Anang got down to save.

It would be opposite number Antonis Stergiakis, back in the side after a three game absence, who was the busier.

Nathaniel Holland was a livewire for the hosts, playing from the left, and he raced clear of Jake Garrett before the keeper saved with his feet, Joe Rankin-Costello reacting well to clear the follow-up.

The game struggled to settle down in windy conditions, but Rovers used them to their advantage 24 minutes in.

A long ball forward from Rankin-Costello gave the ever-willing Sam Burns something to chase, and he rolled it wide for Connor McBride whose break into the box was ended by a Dan Chesters trip. The Scot picked himself up to score his ninth of the season, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way from 12 yards.

While there wasn’t a glut of chances, or creative play, there was no shortage of industry, that summed up by Burns winning a challenge on the floor with his head.

Jake Garrett, in the holding role, was the most impressive player on the pitch and helped break up play infront of the back four.

Stergiakis was in impressive form between the sticks though, three key saves before the break to keep the 1-0 advantage.

His first was to hold a long range Kai Corbett strike, in the 34th minute, with two players waiting on the follow-up.

And then there was two more to deny Holland. The winger first got in down the left as Rovers were caught short of numbers, the ‘keeper saving well, before Louie Annesley threw himself infront of the follow-up to save a certain goal.

The Greek stopper was to deny Holland again in first half injury time, this time Holland cutting inside Rankin-Costello, but his left foot shot was tipped over the bar.

Rankin-Costello came through his planned 45 minutes as Ben Paton came on, Garrett moving to left back.

Rovers had battled against the wind in their faces in the first half and looked to use it to their advantage after the break.

They doubled their lead three minutes after the re-start, McBride grabbing his second as a sweeping Luke Brennan cross found McBirde who couldn’t miss.

That was his 10th of the season and at that stage, Rovers were well on top.

Indeed, they could have killed the game as captain Sam Barnes had two good chances to score when found by a deep free-kick, his first shot saved and his second blocked.

And within minutes, just before the hour, West Ham had their route back into the game. They worked the ball to the right-hand byline where Keenan Appiah-Forson flashed a ball across the six-yard box that Joe Nolan, on the stretch, put through his own goal.

McBride was then forced off injured, but Rovers were next to go close, Dan Pike firing a shot goalwards that flashed wide of the post.

Good play in the 70th minute between substitute Ben Paton and Isaac Whitehall found Burns on the edge of the box, his snap-shot saved.

The deserved two-goal lead was restored with 18 minutes remaining, Nolan having a key hand in it. He drove into the box, turned away from his man, and saw a ball across the area put into his own net by Jamal Baptiste.

Rovers were now well on top, West Ham looking ragged, and with it came greater fluency to the hosts’ play as spaces opened up.

And it was no surprise to see a fourth arrive in the final minute, Sam Durrant’s cross-shot finding Luke Brennan unmarked at the far post, and he was able to tap into the empty net.

Rovers: Stergiakis, Rankin-Costello (Paton, 46), Barnes, Annesley, Pike, Garrett, Whitehall (Harlock, 82), Nolan, Brennan, Burns, McBride (Durrant, 65)

Subs: Eastham, Cirino