3:00pm, Saturday 05th February 2022
Gander Green Lane
Bristol Rovers travel to south London to face Sutton United in the first “top half of the league table” clash this season for The Gas. I never thought I would be writing those words after our terrible start to the season! We are just about in the top half of the table, whereas our opponents this afternoon are knocking on the door of the automatic promotion positions.
These teams met at the start of December in the FA Cup, with The Gas recording a narrow 2-1 victory that day, and both teams have risen up the league since that meeting.
Both teams are undefeated in their last five games, Sutton United having won three and drawn two, Bristol Rovers winning four and drawing one. Sutton United are eight positions higher in the League Two table than us, amassing eleven more points.
Sutton United deserve huge respect in this game, both in terms of their league position and excellent current form. They are having an excellent first season in League Two following their promotion from the National League, much like we did in 2016. Such is the competitive nature of the National League these days that quite often momentum can be carried on to the higher division.
I am concerned that we appear to have lost James Belshaw to injury, so it all very much depends on how match fit Anssi Jaakkola is. He was our first choice goalkeeper before he got injured and Belshaw stepped up in such magnificant fashion. Hopefully he will be keen to take the opportunity to try to win his position back.
This will be a huge challenge for the much improved Bristol Rovers side, and will be a very useful benchmark as to how realistic our promotion aspirations are. I am expecting a close game, with a single goal making all the difference. I am hopeful that we avoid defeat this afternoon, which will be a massive achievement. We could very well go there and come home with all three points if we play to our potential.
Looking forward to this one…
2-3 A narrow victory for The Gas to continue the rise up the table.
Sutton United and Bristol Rovers played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in a game where both sides rattled the woodwork on numerous occasions. The Gas gain a valuable point in their playoff push.
Following the game on the radio, it sounded like a highly entertaining game. Both sides hit the woodwork and had plenty of chances to win the game, and the result was not clear right up to the final whistle. Both sides came away thinking they could have won the game, and on balance perhaps a draw was the fair result.
It felt like we hung on towards the end following the equaliser, but a good result.
We are now hard to beat, and score late goals. If we had started the season like this then we would be in the playoffs already.
Looking forward to the coming week, we need six points from the Oldham and Mansfield games. If we get that, we should be knocking on the door of the playoffs.