Harrogate Town 0 Bristol Rovers 1

Preview

The Gas travel to North Yorkshire this afternoon to play high flying Harrogate Town at Wetherby Road. Bristol Rovers will be well supported as always this afternoon having sold out their full allocation of 600 in the 5,000 capacity stadium.

Both teams are fighting battles at opposite ends of the table, with The Gas down in 18th position, just four points off the relegation zone and Harrogate Town in the playoff positions, just one point away from the automatic promotion zone. Early days, of course, but after today a third of the season will be completed so the true performance of teams is starting to show now.

The league table does not lie, and Bristol Rovers are relegation candidates, certainly not promotion hopefuls as expected.

Both teams are not showing good recent form, Harrogate Town have not won in three games and The Gas have five points out of five games, which is relegation form.

On paper, this is an easy win for Harrogate Town, let’s hope for an upset this afternoon!

Match Report

The Gas become the first team this season to win at Harrogate, in what was a very impressive performance and a vital win. Nick Anderton securing all three points with a goalmouth scramble just after the hour mark.

The victory takes The Gas up to 16th in League Two, just five point off the playoff places.

Bristol Rovers vs Newport County

Preview

The Gas welcome the visit of Newport County to The Mem this afternoon. As this is a local fixture for both teams, I would expect a large away following from Newport County.

For The Gas, this is the third mid-table clash in a row, with Rovers drawing the previous two games against mid-table opposition, albeit both away games. Both teams approach the game following a series of draws, so a draw would not be a surprise.

Newport County are four places above Rovers in thirteenth position, but only two points separate the two teams. A win this afternoon for The Gas would see them leapfrog the visitors in the table.

If we are to be considered promotion candidates this season, then this is another game that we need to be winning. A win would catapult us up the densely-packed table, a defeat would result in us looking over our shoulder at the teams below us again.

Here’s hoping for a Gas victory!

Match Report

The Gas fall to another home defeat against a lively looking Newport County team. County scored twice in the first half before Brett Pitman pulled a goal back in first half injury time with an excellent finish from fifteen yards out.

Newport County had the better of the first half, and the feeling at half time was that we were lucky to be only one goal behind at half time. With Pitman’s goal, the game has changed from being a lost cause to game on!

Once again Belshaw made a number of excellent saves to keep us in the game, as well as a superb headed clearance off the line by Taylor. Both players had an excellent game.

At times we showed some flashes of skill, Anthony Evans, Aaron Collins and Luke Thomas all looking lively and producing an attacking threat.

One comment that I have is that it is difficult to see the game plan we are trying to achieve. We have a quality goal poacher in Brett Pitman, who is now regularly finding the net. The trouble is that we play so deep that we do not appear to be playing to Pitman’s strengths. He is not going to chase long through balls, his specialty is being deadly in the box. His goal today was a prime example of that. We don’t seem to be set up to take advantage of this though, and I can’t believe that Newport County were so good that they pinned us back.

Newport County effectively kill the game off just after the hour mark with a perfectly executed counter attack, completely against the run of play. There was a feeling in the South West stand that the goalscorer was offside, but I was not 100% on this.

We huffed and puffed and failed to score the goal that would have made the end of the game interesting, so our visitors make the short trip back to South Wales happy and with a deserved three points.

Colchester United vs Bristol Rovers

Preview

The Gas travel to Colchester on a rare Tuesday evening game. Colchester United are three positions behind The Gas, but only a single point separates the two teams.

The Gas have slightly better form than Colchester United, the home team coming off a win. The two teams have not played since 2011, where The Gas won both games that season.

Another mid table / lower mid table clash which we would be looking to get at least a draw from. Another away draw to build on Saturday’s away draw would be very useful at this stage in the season as The Gas continue to try and build some momentum.

Match Review

The first half ends without a goal, with The Gas coming closest to scoring with a Brett Pitman effort at the close of halftime. Initially it appeared that he had scored but the officials ruled that the ball had not crossed the line.

The Gas open the scoring with a goal from Brett Pitman just before the hour mark, taking advantage of their superior possession. That’s three goals for the season for Pitman, a goal in consecutive games. Good stuff.

As the second half entered the final fifteen minutes, Colchester United started applying pressure, finishing the game strongly. Once again James Belshaw makes a number of critical saves, he is becoming a really good goalkeeper.

Cian Harries is sent off for a second yellow card with less than five minutes to go. We could have done without that…

Colchester United equalise after eighty eight minutes, after a period of pressure. Very disappointing after dominating this game.

Trevor Clarke also sent off after a scuffle. Down to nine men. We really cannot afford to lose players to poor discipline. Very poor and completely unavoidable.

The Colchester United pressure told in the end, and The Gas fail to hold on for the win. After dominating the game this will feel like two points lost.

Final score 1-1

As a result, The Gas drop one place in the table to 17th.

Bristol Rovers Women 5 Downend Flyers Women 1

The Gas Girls make it four consecutive wins as they cement their position at the top of the table, with another impressive victory.

This victory was even more impressive when you consider that we had to make eight changes through injury and availability issues. It was a good opportunity for members of the development squad to step up and get some valuable first team experience.

Well done to all, I am loving the fact that we have continued our positive momentum following promotion into a higher league. Good stuff!

The goal scorers were:

Libby Bell
Zoe Fielden-Stewart
Annys Turner
Kelly Cutler
Jacqueline Maddock

Next up is a top of the table clash fixture against Frampton Rangers Ladies, who are currently second in the table. Should be a good game!

Bradford City 2 Bristol Rovers 2

Preview

The Gas travel to Valley Parade on the back of a comprehensive victory last Saturday. We will be looking to build on the recent improvement in form, having won two of the last three league games. A draw or a win today would confirm that progress has been made and cement our position in mid-table.

Bradford City are currently four places above The Gas in 12th position. Three points and a goal difference of eight separates the two teams after eleven games. This is a proper mid-table clash. Either team could take a significant jump towards the playoffs with a win today, such is the compact nature of the table at the moment.

These two teams last met on the 13th April 2019 in League One, with The Gas winning 3-2. The corresponding away fixture on the 29th September 2018 was a goalless draw. The last eight meetings have resulted in two wins, four draws and two losses. Two very evenly matched teams.

Match Review

Bradford City had the better of the first half, creating a number of good chances before scoring after forty three minutes following a corner that produced an uncontested header that James Belsham saved but fell kindly to a Bradford player who neatly finished.

The Gas equalised just after the break with a lovely header from a corner by Alfie Kilgour. It is nice to see us score from a set piece, an area we have been really weak on over the last couple of seasons.

The Bantams then took the lead again after fifty minutes with a beautifully worked passing sequence that started on the left side from a throw in and ended up with a simple side foot finish just outside the box. Who says League Two is all about hoofball…

Bradford City could have killed the game with a nicely worked goal disallowed, a cross from the right was met with a perfectly executed header. Watching the match highlights the goal looked ok to me but it was ruled offside. A lucky break for The Gas.

The game had a dramatic finale with an exquisite looping header from Brett Pitman from twelve yards, beating the keeper in the top left corner. Come on! That is what we brought Pitman to the club for, nicking goals.

An excellent point away from home keeps The Gas in sixteenth position in the League Two table, only four points from the playoffs. We are also only four points from the relegation zone as well. The next few games will determine which end of the table we are likely to be worried about come May I feel.

Bristol Rovers vs Chelsea U21

Ten changes for The Gas for this Football League Trophy Group Stage encounter with Chelsea’s U21 side.

I hope we progress to the knock out stage this evening, as I feel this competition offers a really good opportunity to get to Wembley. It is a shame that they have devalued the competition by letting U21 sides enter. Hence the reason I am not there today, out of principle.

Both sides have early chances but it is The Gas that open the scoring with a goal from Luke Thomas after 16 minutes. The perfect start!

Chelsea U21 equalise just before half time with a Bristol Rovers own goal.

Half time 1-1.

Chelsea U21 strike just after half time, The Gas caught napping in the box and concede a soft goal. 1-2.

Full time 1-2.

The Gas lose to Chelsea U21 conceding goals either side of half time. Luke Thomas scoring his first goal for The Gas early on.

Cheltenham Town Ladies Dev 1 Bristol Rovers Women 7

The Gas Girls move back to the top of the South West Regional Women’s Football League – Northern Division with a resounding victory against Cheltenham Town’s development team. The Gas Girls are level on points with Frampton Rangers Ladies, the two teams running away with this division at this early stage.

The goalscorers were:

Libby Bell x2
Rossana Rocha x2
Annys Turner
Fielden-Stewart
Maddock

Next up is a home fixture against Downend Flyers Women.

Bristol Rovers 3 Carlisle United 0

Preview

It is back to back home games for The Gas as we welcome Carlisle United to The Mem on Saturday.

Last Saturday was a horrible experience where we got played off the park by Swindon Town. We played awful and deserved to lose. Hopefully this Saturday will be a better experience. A repeat performance may cost Joey Barton his job as Bristol Rovers manager.

On paper this game would appear to be win-able (or at least not lose-able), with Carlisle one place above Rovers in the League Two table. Carlisle have played the same number of games, have the same points and a marginally better goal difference that Rovers.

It is a game between two relegation candidates on a poor run of form. The Rovers away win at Walsall being the only exception to the poor form table. Both teams have only scored nine goals all season, so this quite possibly has 0-0 written all over it!

Match Review

Lovely sunny day at The Mem.

Some brave souls made the long trip from Carlisle. Fair play to them, impressive commitment to their club.

This week it is the turn of the officials to wear pink. very nice. That was just about the only nice thing that I will say about the officials. The referee was extremely fussy, stopping play at every opportunity.

The game started with a positive, high tempo from the home team. The Gas attacking with energy.

Rovers have switched to 4 at the back, and first impressions are that it looks a better fit for our style of play (which is hoofing it up to Anderson whenever possible). With Saunders and Collins on the pitch, we have some pace up front. Looks a much more balanced team.

Strange to see a number of Bristol Rovers players slipping over in the first half. Wrong studs maybe?


Hoole playing well early on, a strong aerial presence on the right side of our back four. He had a good game I thought, along with Taylor who always puts in a committed performance for us.

During the first half, we had lots of possession without troubling Carlisle very much. Very little chances created. Any set pieces we created we generally wasted with poor execution, which is a shame as we had them in a number of really good positions. We must improve in this area.

Up to the half hour mark, The Mem is very quiet. Literally nothing on the pitch to shout about. No chances created. Very poor. Carlisle then come to life briefly and only an excellent double save from James Belshaw kept the score at 0-0. He has become a really good goalkeeper for us, definitely our number one for me.

The early attacking energy has now gone, with The Gas largely content with sideways passes and hopeful long balls up to Anderson. My limited tactical knowledge is struggling to work out what our tactics are. Whatever they are, they are not proving effective.

Goal! The deadlock is broken on thirty four minutes with a superb Anthony Evans. Lovely work by Anderson and Collins in the build to set up Evans, who executed a lovely dropped shoulder to beat the defender and charge into the box. Lovely finish to the bottom left corner. Evans, along with Belshaw, look like really good players.

Can we hang on?


Half time 1-0.

The Gas just about deserve to be in the lead. In fairness, the goal was a bright spark in an otherwise dull first half. The football under JB is not pretty or exciting.

Second half.

We just need to be defensively tight and not concede and three points are there for the taking.

Another good save by Belshaw on the edge of box, in a one-on-one situation. It could easily have looped over him and into the goal.

The midfield appear to be functioning better in this new formation. Whelen is not a very exciting midfielder, but he is doing the basics well. Breaking up play, laying the ball off. Simple stuff but important. Still not sure what Coutts brings to the team though…

As the second half progresses, Carlisle are attacking with more intent higher up the pitch now. they look more dangerous. The Mem is flat as a pancake as we all are waiting for the sucker punch of a Carlisle equaliser.

A funny moment in an otherwise extremely dull game was provided by the North Terrace, singing the longest “Shit Goalkeeper / It’s all your fault” song I can remember. Good stuff.

As the game approached the eightieth minute, we have reverted to form and started to sit deep, inviting pressure from the visitors.

Completely out of the blue, the game was put to bed by an eighty fifth minute goal by Sam Nicholson, followed a few minutes later by a third goal scored by Harvey Saunders. Saunders, in particular ran his socks off all game so it was good to see him get some rewards for all this efforts.

A really good win albeit against a very poor Carlisle side. Wonderful to see some goals at The Mem and a very welcome three points, which now sees us in the much more healthy position of 16th in League Two.

This was a very poor game of football though, and the scoreline flattered us in the end. We have lots of problems and will for sure struggle against better sides, but you have to take things one game at a time so today is job done.

UTG!

Next up in the league is Bradford City away.