Author: richard

Scunthorpe United 2 Bristol Rovers 3

7:45pm, Tuesday 25th January 2022
Glanford Park
League Two

Preview

The Gas travel to Scunthorpe this evening for a must win game, against a side that has struggled all season long and look likely to be involved in a relegation battle.

Scunthorpe are eight places below Bristol Rovers in 23rd position, having only collected 19 points so far this season. They are on a four game losing streak. Bristol Rovers are currently in 15th position, with a total of 30 points so far. A win tonight could see The Gas move up the table, and nothing less than three points is acceptable for a side looking for a late season playoff push.

Prediction

2-0 The Gas. A comfortable away win to move us up the table.

Match Review

The Gas take all three points in what should have been a comfortable victory which takes us to a season high league position of 13th. We are now only eight points off a playoff place.

A sloppy period towards the end saw the three goal lead cut back to a single goal, but the result never felt in doubt.

Goals from Josh Grant, Anthony Evans and Leon Clarke sealed the victory. Really good to see Leon Clarke score after his long absence through injury.

Next up is Walsall at home on Saturday.

Swindon Town 1 Bristol Rovers 1

3pm, Saturday 22nd January 2022
The County Ground
League Two

Preview

The Gas travel to local rivals Swindon Town this afternoon for what will be a very competitive game played out in a hostile atmosphere. The fact that the corresponding fixture required a hefty police presence says it all about the Swindon Town fans and the rivalry between the two clubs. We very rarely have a visible police presence at The Mem!

Swindon Town are the clear favourites to win the game today. They played us off the park in October but that was a very different Bristol Rovers side, not necessarily in terms of personnel but more in terms of attitude. The current Bristol Rovers team will fight for the whole 90 minutes. The side in October would happily roll over and have their tummy tickled rather than dig in and grind out a result.

Swindon are flying high in 5th position, and are in great shape to challenge for an instant return to League One. The Gas still languish in 16th position, but have shown flickers of life in recent weeks. I am hopeful that we can grind out an ugly draw and frustrate Swindon.

Hopefully JB can get his revenge on former Bristol Rovers manager Ben Garner this afternoon and bring home all three points!

Prediction

1-1 A close, tight game ending in an away draw for The Gas!

Match Review

The huge traveling Gas army went home happy as The Gas take home a well-earned point away at Swindon Town, which lifts us one place in the league table. A small, but important step and a fantastic result against one of the better sides in this division.

Swindon started the game strongly and threatened to run away with the game, with a number of excellent chances but Bristol Rovers finished the first half the better team. Sam Finley with the equalising goal. Neither team were able to score in an action-packed second half.

Bristol Rovers 2 Hartlepool United 0

3pm, Saturday 15th January 2022
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Preview

The Gas are back in league action again, following the cup defeat last Saturday. We are in a new calendar year, and now is the time that the team need to push on and show everybody that Bristol Rovers can mount a promotion push. The players have had a long break and a few players have returned from injury, so there can be no excuses from now on. We need to be consistently winning games and moving positively up the league table. At the start of the season promotion was the goal and that is still achievable, even given the poor first half of the season.

With that background, it is critical that we win the game against Hartlepool United on Saturday. They are in a similar league position to us, having only gained two extra points so far this season. Nothing less than three points will be acceptable and I am looking forward to a good and positive match.

Prediction

3-0 to The Gas. The perfect way to kick start our 2022 league promotion push!

Match Review

The Gas come away with all three points in a game largely dominated by Hartlepool, who will be asking themselves how they managed to lose the game. The answer was James Belshaw, who put in a Man Of The Match performance to deny at least three Hartlepool goals. He was simply outstanding. Such a good keeper!


If it was not for James Belshaw we would have lost this game 3-0 and the conversation this evening would be very different.


Hartlepool deserved to win this game comfortably, we had no right to take all three points today. For 80 minutes we witnessed a disjointed, flat performance. We looked like a group of strangers, very much like the early part of the season. It was very much looking like yet another draw, but this team have something about them and keep fighting to the end.


Two late goals and we all go home with smiles on our faces. Exactly what we needed today. Poor performance but I do not care. We have another three points and the long climb up the table has begun.

UTG.

Peterborough United 2 Bristol Rovers 1

3pm, Saturday 8th January 2022
London Road
FA Cup Round Three

Preview

I have waited to the very last minute to write this preview, as we have had so many games postponed due to a Covid breakout in the Bristol Rovers camp. Even as I write this on Saturday morning, I am not 100% confident that the game will go ahead.

It has been so long since The Gas were last in action. 11th December 2021 to be exact. That 4-2 victory over Rochdale seems a million miles away and very much a distant memory.

The long awaited FA Cup third round clash with championship Peterborough United is now finally upon us. Not the glamour tie that we were hoping for, but Peterborough in many ways are example of a club that we should aspire to emulate. They have always appeared to be a well organised club as long as I can remember, and fully deserve their place in the championship, however long this current stay will be. Even if they get relegated, it would not be a surprise to see them back in the Championship within five years. Oh how us Gasheads would love to be in that position!

On to the game. Peterborough are clearly a much better side that Bristol Rovers, so avoiding a defeat will be a huge task this afternoon. The only potential hope is that Peterborough may be fielding a weakened side due to Covid / injuries. Even so, it will require a massive effort. Hopefully the boys will be up to the challenge an make it an entertaining game.

Prediction

3-1 – FA Cup heartbreak for The Gas.

Match Review

The Gas exit the FA Cup at the third round stage with a good performance against Championship Peterborough.

Rovers kept attacking right up to the end of the game and gave a good account of themselves. There were chances towards the end of the game to take the cup tie to extra time, but it sounded like Peterborough had the better chances over the course of the game and probably deserved to go through.

This was not the one-sided affair that it could have been, and Rovers were in no way outclassed by their Championship opponents.

Now it is time to concentrate on the league and the push for a playoff place. Promotion for our football club is critical and has to be the goal for the remainder of the season.

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!

Bristol Rovers Women 9 Frampton Rangers Ladies 0

2:00pm, Sunday 28th November 2021
Lockleaze Sports Centre (BS7 9XF)
South West Regional Women’s Football League Northern Division

Match Report

The Gas Girls romp to victory in this short notice fixture change against the second place team in the league. We have a fourteen point lead at the top of the table and look certain to be champions for the second season in a row.

The goal scorers were:

Annys Turner x 3
Curnock x 2
Zoe Fielden-Stewart x 2
Poppy Warren
Lily Greenslade

Forest Green Rovers 2 Bristol Rovers 0

3:00pm, Saturday 27th November 2021
The New Lawn
League Two

Preview

The Gas travel to League Two leaders Forest Green Rovers, in only the fourth meeting between these two clubs. These four games took place during the 2014/2015 season in the National League, twice in the league campaign and twice in the playoffs. The record is P4 W2 D1 L1 for The Gas.

Forest Green Rovers have been the form team in the division all season. They have only lost twice this season, have 37 points and a goal difference of 18. Compare that record to Bristol Rovers (23 points and -5 goal difference), and you would be very brave to be expecting anything other than a home win this afternoon.

Fortunately for The Gas, this is football and anything can happen. A draw would be a fantastic result for us, but I am fully expecting a defeat today.

Aaron Collins will be looking to bag a goal (or two) against his old club today.

Match Report

The unbeaten run comes to an end with a two goal defeat at Forest Green Rovers. A goal in either half, including a penalty when playing against ten men. We can have no complaints today, we were beaten by a much better team who look destined for promotion. The Gas drop to 16th in the table.

Forest Green started the game the brighter side, creating some good chances and took the lead after 24 minutes. As the first half progressed, Forest Green piled on the pressure. This game looks to be lost already, unless Bristol Rovers can find a defensive answer to the Forest Green attack.

Forest Green hit the bar and Bristol Rovers had a chance cleared off the line.

Forest Green have dominated the first half in terms of chances (8 to 2), but Bristol Rovers end the half strongly. There was still hope at this point, as Forest Green have not taken their chances. Possession has been fairly even (54% to 46%).

The first half ends 1-0. I think we would have been happy with that, as we were still in the game.

The second half was more positive for Bristol Rovers, having more possession and leveling up the shots on goal. Forest Green Rovers also had a player sent off and played the final thirty minutes with ten men. Bristol Rovers, once again fail to take advantage of the extra man and once again conceded a goal when playing against a weakened opposition.

This game highlights the gap between serious promotion candidates and where we are at the moment. At this point in the season, we have stabilised following last season’s relegation. There should not be a second successive relegation (which is excellent news), but also an immediate return to League One is also looking unlikely.