Category: BRFC Men

Salford City 1 Bristol Rovers 1

7:45pm, Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Moor Lane
League Two

Preview

The Gas travel to the outskirts of Manchester for our first ever meeting with Salford City, who are famously partly owned by a number of former Manchester United players. Following the change of ownership, Salford City subsequently quickly moved up through the non-league system over a five year period, culminating in promotion to League Two in 2019.

Salford City currently lie in sixteenth position in League Two, two places and two points behind The Gas. Both teams have similar form over the last five games, with Bristol Rovers having won one more game than Salford City.

This is another opportunity for The Gas to move up the league table, but like Saturday vs Tranmere Rovers, this will be a tricky game. I feel that a point is achievable but we should be looking to try to take all three points.

Match Report

The Gas earn a valuable away point at Salford. Playing against nine men we would have hoped for an away win so this feels like two points dropped. We are now unbeaten in three so there are positives. UTG

Bristol Rovers started the game strongly and are rewarded with an early goal! Sam Nicholson scores in the fourteenth minute. We appear to be starting games really well, can we keep the performance up for the whole ninety minutes?

Salford City go down to ten men after a reckless challenge on Sam Finley. This is now a game that we really have to win.

The first half ends 1-0 to Bristol Rovers. So far, so good. Rovers have dominated possession and had the greater number of chances at the break.

Belshaw suffers a cut to the head following a collision with a Salford player after what should have been stopped earlier as the player was offside. This has added a lengthy delay to the second half and injected some unwanted drama into the game. Belshaw was able to continue, which is a relief.

We are struggling to build on our goal lead and the extra man. How often do we struggle playing against ten men?

The game is slightly nervy with ten minutes (probably twenty minutes with added on time) to go. We need to concentrate for the remainder of the game and manage the game to bring all three points home.

Salford go down to nine men at the end of normal time and then promptly go on a rare attack and equalise. Why oh why can we not play against teams with less players than us? Ridiculous!

Two points lost! That’s really annoying. We dominated that game!

Salford finish the stronger and manage to scrape a draw from a game they had no right to get anything from. Fair play to Salford, who overcame the odds and will go home the happier of the two sets of fans.

Another away point, I would have taken that before the game. The unbeaten run now extended to three games.

UTG!

Bristol Rovers 2 Tranmere Rovers 2

3pm, Saturday 20th November 2021
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Preview

After the cup drama of Tuesday evening, The Gas are back in league action on Saturday with the visit of Tranmere Rovers to the Memorial Stadium.

Difficult one this for supporters, as the usual “Come On Rovers” does not really work in this case…

The Gas will be looking to build on their recent good form and continue to rise up the League Two table. Both teams are mid-table, with Tranmere Rovers two places above The Gas in 12th position, having gained one point more. A win for either team would see them closing in on the coveted playoff positions.

These teams last met during the 2019/2020 season, during which Tranmere Rovers got relegated to League Two. The games ended with a draw and a win for The Gas. The meeting before that was in 2014 and ended in defeat for The Gas in the FA Cup First Round.

Tranmere are on a three game losing streak, so this is a good opportunity for Bristol Rovers to take all three points. I am very hopeful for a home win this weekend.

Match Report

Two points dropped as The Gas let slip a comfortable two goal lead. It was a game of two halves, with Bristol Rovers having the better of the first half and Tranmere Rovers dominating the second half. The Gas had chances to win the game, with an open goal missed right at the end.

The game started perfectly for The Gas, with a goal within the first five minutes. Josh Grant rose to head The Gas in front, the perfect delivery met with the perfect finish. The Gas made it 2-0 with a goal from a corner on the left side, slotted home from within six yards by Sam Nicholson.

Tranmere Rovers pulled a goal back with their only chance in the first half, a hopeful cross was not dealt with and the Tranmere player managed to drag the ball back and place it round James Belshaw.

James Belshaw made a superb save just before half time to ensure that The Gas went into the break in the lead.

The feeling at this point was that the game was fully in control, and it was only a matter of time before we would score again. Alas, that did not happen and the second half was largely dominated by Tranmere Rovers who managed to keep us pegged back inside our own half for large periods of the half.

Approaching the hour mark, Bristol Rovers have taken their foot of the Gas. inviting Tranmere Rovers on to them. They need to step up the tempo and play with a sense of urgency.

With fifteen minutes to go, the Tranmere pressure paid off as the visitors equalised.

The match ended 2-2 with both teams having chances in the last few minutes to win the game. The move of the game resulted in Sam Nicholson with a golden opportunity to take all three points with a clear shot on goal from twelve yards. Unfortunately, the shot was dragged wide.

Another point gained and a reasonable performance from The Gas. I felt that this game was there for the taking and it feels like two points dropped. Still, four points out of the last two games is a good return and something to build upon. We are only four points off the playoffs so there is everything to play for and the team are performing much better than they were one month ago.

UTG.

Bristol Rovers 1 Oxford United 1 (4-3 aet)

7pm, Tuesday 16th November 2021
The Memorial Stadium
FA Cup First Round (Replay)

Preview

After the thrilling 2-2 draw in the previous game, The Gas welcome Oxford United to the Memorial Stadium for what promises to be an exciting evening of cup football under the lights.

Our visitors, Oxford United remain in sixth position in League One, and will be difficult opponents for The Gas once again. Their biggest threat is ex-Bristol Rovers forward Matty Taylor, who scored in the previous game. We will need to keep him quiet if we are to stand any chance of progression in this competition.

The Gas will be high in confidence following their excellent victory against League Two promotion candidates Northampton Town on Saturday, and will be looking to carry the momentum to Tuesday evening and beyond. I feel we are in a good place right now and will give Oxford a good match.

The reward for the winner is a home tie in the FA Cup Second Round against Sutton United.

Match Review

Bristol Rovers proceed to the second round of the FA Cup with a breaktaking emotional victory over Oxford United after an extra time thriller. Goals from Sam Finley<COMMA> Sion Spence x2 and a debut goal for Aaron Collins won this classic cup tie. The magic of the FA Cup is alive and kicking!

Wow! Just wow!

I don’t have the words to write a match report, I am just so overwhelmed with the emotion of it all.

That match had everything. I don’t think anybody in the stadium had anything left in the tank come the end, everything was left on the pitch. The team and us Gasheads gave everything. My throat is going to be so sore tomorrow morning 🙂

Oxford battered us for large periods of the game, but we dug deep and hung in there.

The Finley goal looked epic from my view in the South West Stand, Finley won the ball just in front of me, passed to Anderson who laid it off for Evans who then crossed for Finley to finish. Beautiful.

I felt we were good value for our 1-0 lead. Then Oxford got a soft penalty, and it was inevitable that Taylor was going to score.

1-1 was a good result for us, seeing as we absorbed a lot of pressure. Evans had what I thought was the winning goal right at the end, but the bulge of the net failed to happen.

At the end of normal time, that was a really good cup tie. I had no idea of the excitement that was to follow.

I honestly thought it was all over when Oxford scored two right at the start of extra time. The whole of the Memorial Stadium felt the same right before Spence scored his first. The ten minutes of quiet crowd instantly changed and the belief came flooding back. The Mem erupted and the tide had turned.

The final twenty minutes of that game were unlike any other I can remember for a long time. Oxford still kept battering us, but we suddenly had an effective counter attack game, and we punished them. First Aaron Collins chose the perfect time to open his goalscoring account for The Gas by scoring the equaliser and then Sion Spence dramatically won the game, just as penalties were looming.

Every single player on that pitch earned that victory. There was passion, commitment, desire, skill. Everything.

I don’t actually remember anything about the extra time goals, I will have to watch the highlights. For me, all I remember is celebrating goals like I have not done since Browner’s Left Foot sent us up from this division.

The scenes at the North end looked outstanding. I could see the limbs and the pitch invasion from a distance.

Ok, I did end up writing a match report.

Bring on Sutton United in the second round!

Saturday and Tranmere Rovers cannot come quick enough. It is fun being a Gashead again. It has been far too long…

UTG

Bristol Rovers 2 Northampton Town 1

3pm, Saturday 13th November 2021
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Preview

The Gas welcome the visit of Northampton Town, who like Bristol Rovers got relegated from League One last season.

This will be another challenging afternoon, as Northampton Town are currently in third position in League Two, only four points from top position and are strong contenders for an instant return to League One. The Gas, on the other hand, are stuttering in sixteenth position. Northampton Town are on a great run of form, having won their last four league games and they would expect to extend that run to five games this afternoon.

Our home form has been extremely poor so far this season, our best results and performances have come away from home. The form book would suggest an easy win for the visitors, with a draw being a good result for The Gas. I feel that every team in this division is beatable, and if we can get ourselves organised at the back and attack Northampton then we could come away with all three points. Here’s hoping!

Match Review

The Gas put on a dominant performance over high-flying Northampton Town to take all three points in a highly entertaining match. This game had everything, and went right down to the wire.

Northampton Town took the lead after thirty nine minutes after being awarded a penalty. Connor Taylor was judged to have tripped the Northampton Town player. It looked soft to me, but I was watching from the other end of the ground. This was very much against the run of play, with Rovers creating a number of excellent chances and did not deserve to go in behind at half time.

The second half continued where the first half left off, with Bristol Rovers pressing Northampton and continuing to attack. The game was won with two goals in five minutes just before the hour mark. Josh Grant capped an excellent performance with a well worked goal, followed four minutes later by the winner from Anthony Evans. Both goals being scored in front of the ecstatic North Terrace.

Northampton Town pressed to snatch an equaliser at the end, but were thwarted by a superb goal line clearance by Connor Taylor. The Gas held on to secure a much deserved three points.

I felt we were the better team throughout the game, and thoroughly deserved to win.

Josh Grant was superb, fully deserved his goal and man of the match. Dangerous on the left side of the park, full of energy and creativity.

Connor Taylor was magnificent at the back as always. Fantastic goal-line clearance to seal the three points right at the death. He was unfortunate with the penalty, looked soft from the South West stand.

James Belshaw with his usual excellent performance in goal.

Sam Nicholson ran his socks off.

Glenn Whelen had a good game, what excellent distribution he has. Superb balls out to Grant. Felt his sending off was a bit harsh, was a wild sliding tackle though.

This was a superb team performance, you could really see the hunger and desire out there.

Finally, it was so good to hear The Mem loud again today, the atmosphere was rocking.

There have been many trips to The Mem that have been painful to watch, and so far this season has been disappointing. Today was a good day, and I really, really needed that!

Tonight feels good to be a Gashead.

UTG.

Exeter City 5 Bristol Rovers 3

The Gas crash out of the EFL Trophy with a truly woeful performance with both teams fielding weakened sides. After being 5-0 down at half time, the game ends with a more respectable scoreline thanks to three Rovers goals in the second half.

The game was effectively over after ten minutes following three early Exeter goals. The first half got worse for The Gas with two additional goals before the break.

The Gas scored three goals in the second half through Zain Westbrooke, Ryan Jones and Nick Anderton to make the scoreline respectable. The comeback does very little to take the edge off a thumping defeat to a team in the same division as us.

Oxford United 2 Bristol Rovers 2

Kick off 1pm, Sunday 7th November 2021

Preview

The Gas travel the short journey down the M4 to meet League One Oxford United in the first round of the FA Cup, in what promises to be a challenging afternoon.

Oxford United are riding high in League One, currently occupying the final playoff position. They have excellent form, only having lost once in their last five league games. In their team is former Bristol Rovers forward, Matty Taylor, who is always a threat and often scores against us.

The Gas approach the game on the back of an impressive away victory at Harrogate Town, and look to build some momentum. The pressure is completely off us today, we can go out and play and hopefully make a game of it. This will be a welcome break from the pressures of the league campaign.

It is difficult to expect anything other than an Oxford United victory today, but as this is the FA Cup anything is possible…

Match Report

The first half ends 1-1, with The Gas giving a good account of themselves and deserve to be level at the break.

Matty Taylor, as predicted opened the scoring for Oxford after a well worked goal on eleven minutes, against the run of play I must add.

Sam Finley equalised for The Gas just before half time with a well deserved goal.

A dramatic second half saw Oxford United score five minutes after the break, then fail to take one of their many chances during the second half. Matty Taylor was on fire and hit the post twice.

The Gas kept plugging away and the reward was an 87 minute penalty, which was calmly dispatched by Anthony Evans. Despite starting without a recognised striker, The Gas manage an excellent draw against Oxford United. There is a resilience to this Rovers team, especially away from home.

2-2 at full time means the two teams will meet at the Memorial Stadium in the first round replay.

Both teams go into hat for the second round draw on Monday.

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.

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.