Bristol Rovers 4 Rochdale 2

3pm, Saturday 11th December 2021
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Preview

The Gas welcome Rochdale to The Memorial Stadium for a mid-table League Two clash.

Rochdale sit one position ahead of Bristol Rovers, with a single point separating the two teams. Both teams are on a run of poor form so this on paper would look like a very probable draw.

After the positive performance against Port Vale whilst playing with less players, I am hopeful that The Gas can repeat the performance and come away with a win on Saturday. It is getting to the point in the season where teams with promotion aspirations (i.e. us) should be kicking on and moving positively up the table. I feel if we are still in this position by the end of January then that will be our season done.

Match Report

The Gas win a highly entertaining six-goal match in dramatic fashion. Rochdale gave a good account of themselves and will be disappointed not to have got something from the match. In truth, this should have been a comfortable win for The Gas, who were excellent at times.

The first half started brightly with Rochdale creating the early chances, forcing Belshaw into making another one of his customary one-on-one saves.

By the tenth minute, though, Bristol Rovers began to exert pressure and were rewarded by a free kick in a central position just outside the box after some fine footwork by Aaron Collins. Anthony Evans stepped up and calmly placed the free kick in the top right corner, sparking a Gas explosion. A beautiful finish and the perfect way to start the game!

The remainder of the first half was all Bristol Rovers, and we really should have been two or three goals up at the break. It was only 1-0 though, and Rochdale were still in the game.

Really enjoyable first half, lots of goal action. very positive performance. They only thing missing was the second or third goal to finish Rochdale off. We really do need to take advantage of periods where we dominate.

Bristol Rovers got the crucial second goal after 51 minutes, with a trademark Aaron Collins strike from outside the area. The move began down the left side, with Collins running at the Rochdale defence. he jinked inside and let fly with a stunning curved shot to the Rochdale top right corner. Their goalkeeper had no chance. At this point, The Gas were cruising and looking like taking all three points in emphatic style.

Rochdale, though, had other ideas and sprung to life. The remainder of the second half was a much more even affair, with Rochdale having a lot of possession and creating wave after wave of attack. Why they waited until they were two goals down before attacking is beyond me, they looked really dangerous.

Belshaw once again played his part with a series of excellent saves, including a wonder goal line save on 55 minutes. I seem to say this every week, he is an excellent keeper.

Rochdale stuck on the hour mark with a soft goal, from a cross on the right side. The Rochdale attacker pulled off a cheeky flick from two yards with his right foot as the ball passed behind him. Belshaw had no chance and it was game on again.

Five minutes later the unthinkable happened and the game was level, following a penalty to Rochdale. The foul was on the left side of the box, on the other side of the pitch from me. From my viewpoint it did look like a penalty. Just a badly timed tackle. For the next fifteen minutes, it was all Rochdale and there was only one side looking like winning the game, and it was not us. We were sitting deep, inviting Rochdale on to us and failing to keep possession during a worrying scrappy period of the game.

With the game entering the final stages, I was starting to think about writing how another two points have been dropped, so typical of this season, etc, when the game exploded into life again. Two goals in five minutes from Harry Anderson and Aaron Collins turned a sour point into a happy days victory! Amazing scenes at the North Terrace end with what I assume was Aaron Collins being lifted onto some Gashead’s shoulders. Happy days indeed!

I really like the look of Collins and Nicolson up front, with Evans just behind. They press, are mobile and work well together. Coutts and Whelen were solid in the centre of midfield. Our new-look defense struggled at times, although I like Luca Hoole a lot and thought he did well at times.

The Gas go home happy in the end, we sure do like to make life difficult for ourselves! Today’s win takes us up to 15th position in the table, seven points off the playoffs.

Pink sky above The Mem

Bristol Rovers 1 Port Vale 2

7:45pm, Tuesday 7th December 2021
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Preview

The Gas welcome former manager and Gas Legend Darrell Clarke and his high-flying Port Vale team to the Memorial Stadium this evening. I am looking forward to giving Darrell a very warm welcome, as is fitting for all that he has done for Bristol Rovers.

Port Vale are eleven positions above The Gas in the league table but they only have nine more points that us, which is an indication of how tight this league is. If we can stop dropping points then we would fly up the table.

Both teams have mixed form, and Port Vale are in the middle of a mini-slump so this may prove to be a good time to face them. I understand they are going through a bit of an injury crisis at the moment. We need to capitalise on that and take all three points this evening, but it will be a tough game.

Match Report

The Gas put in a decent performance against a lively looking Port Vale team, but were denied any real chance of victory this evening by a sending off in either half. Port Vale take all three points despite a gutsy performance in what were terrible conditions at times.

I cannot fault the desire, commitment and effort of the ten / nine men. They gave everything and much credit must be given for the second half performance.

After the sending off in the first half, it was all Port Vale, and we could consider ourselves fortunate to only be two goals down. The sending off visibly shook the team, and they lost their heads for twenty minutes, during which time we conceded two goals. They appeared to regain their composure towards the end of the first half, then gave it a real go in the second half. After the goal by Aaron Collins, the momentum had swung and even being down to ten men, a fightback was on the cards.

Just when you felt that the game had turned, Harries gets sent off for a high boot just outside the area. You can see why the referee gave it, Harries had completely misjudged the bounce of the ball and the foot was high with the player through on goal. Definitely a yellow, arguably a red.

From that point, the game was lost. Even so, we continued to press forward and create chances.

10 / 10 for effort and sheer refusal to give up. This team certainly fight right to the end.

I will need to see the Finley incident again, it was either an incredibly stupid thing for Finley to do or the linesman bought the theatrics of the Port Vale player. I was sat twenty yards away and did not see it (I was following the ball going forward). I saw the Port Vale player collapsing like he had been shot. If it was an off the ball headbutt, then the sending off was justified.

Either way, Port Vale looked like a decent side but we matched them despite everything that went on. With eleven players, I feel we could have won the game. This season is in danger of becoming one that got away. We are good enough to have a decent crack at promotion, but all these dropped points and “bad luck” are ruining any chance that we have.

It was really good to see the warm reception that Darrell Clarke got. He was treated with the respect that was due.

I have just warmed up and am looking forward to Rochdale on Saturday. We really need to win that one…

Rainbow Corner Flags And The Mem Under The Lights

Bristol Rovers Women 2 Bristol Ladies Union 2

2:00pm, Sunday 5th December 2021
Lockleaze Sports Centre (BS7 9XF)
South West Regional Women’s Football League Northern Division

Match Report

The Gas Girls continue their impressive unbeaten run with an entertaining draw with Bristol Ladies Union. Two goals from Zoe Fielden-Stewart were enough to earn a point.

Bristol Rovers Women are now twelve points clear at the top of the league, with five games to go. It is truly mindblowing how well the Gas Girls have done this season, they have made the step up to a higher division and dominated.

The goal scorers were:

Zoe Fielden-Stewart x 2

Bristol Rovers 2 Sutton United 1

3pm, Saturday 4th December 2021
The Memorial Stadium
FA Cup Second Round

Preview

Back to FA Cup action for The Gas, after their dramatic extra time victory against Oxford United in round one. They face Sutton United in the first meeting of these two clubs. Sutton United are one of many teams in the London area, and are enjoying their first season in League Two having being crowned National League champions last season.

Sutton United are ten positions and nine points ahead of Bristol Rovers and must be seen as favourites going into the game.

The prize awaiting one of these two teams is a potentially lucrative third round tie against a Premier League team, and one that both teams will want to win.

I am quietly confident that we will win on Saturday and progress to the second round.

Match Report

The Gas progress to the third round of the FA Cup after a comeback victory against Sutton United. A game of two halves, with Sutton having the better of the first half and Rovers dominating the second.

The first half ended 0-0 as both sides struggle to find an opening goal. Sutton United had the better of the first half but the game remained open.

The game exploded into life with three goals in eight minutes early in the second half.

Sutton United begin the scoring by taking the lead after 52 minutes. At this point in the game they deserve their lead.

The Gas responded almost instantly with a penalty won by Sam Nicholson and calmly converted by Aaron Collins, who got his second goal for Bristol Rovers.

A couple of minutes later saw The Gas take the lead with a headed goal from Nick Anderton and the momentum swung in our favour.

The second half was all Bristol Rovers, who dominated after going a goal behind and ran out deserved winners.

Now we look forward to the third round draw, where the top two divisions enter the competition. Bring on the third round draw!