Category: BRFC Men

Bristol Rovers 0 Forest Green Rovers 0

3pm, Saturday 23rd April 2022
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Match Report

Forest Green earn the point they require to secure promotion as both sides have to settle for a goalless draw in a feisty end of season promotion clash.

A bitterly, bitterly disappointing result in what was a must win game for us. It felt to me like our key players were just not on their game today and we did not do ourselves justice against arguably the best side in this division.

On a positive note (which is really hard), we gained a point which secures our 5th position and keeps us in control of our own destiny with regards to the playoffs. Somehow we are still in touch of third position, although it is looking unlikely now.

All we can do is beat Rochdale and Scunthorpe, and then hope that the footballing gods are on our side. Stranger things have happened..

Back to the game, at the full time whistle I was disappointed but felt that we were fortunate to get the draw. Forest Green had a number of golden opportunities to score and they really should have done. Once again, player of the season James Belshaw earned us yet another point. Where would we be without him? 12th probably.

I left immediately on the final whistle, so did not witness the idiots on the pitch. I can understand the enthusiasm of the Forest Green supporters, but that does not justify spilling onto the pitch. I am also annoyed that a number of our supporters went to meet them. We really, really do not need any attention from the authorities given our past history with pitch invasions.

Fair play to Forest Green, they have earned their promotion by being consistent all season. We will meet them again. Can’t say that I was impressed with the language of their chants during the game, or their behaviour afterwards. Not impressed at all!

On to Rochdale, a potential banana skin that we must avoid. Three points is a must!

Bristol Rovers 1 Salford City 0

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

Match Review

What a glorious sunny day in Horfield. The Long cold winter has been way too long. The pitch looks immaculate, and The Mem is pretty full.

Really nice to see Gasheads stood opposite me in the old away terrace. The small number of Salford City fans in the east end of the South Stand certainly looked rammed in there, surrounded by noisy Gasheads.

Wonderful noisy fans at The Mem, for the first time I can remember we had singing STARTING in the South Stand. There was a piece of audio heaven for a while, with Irene being sung from the South Stand, then continued from the North Terrace, and back again. Our beloved song reverberated around The Mem in perfect panoramic stereo.

On to the game.

I felt Salford City played really well actually, and for large periods of the game stifled our normal possession game. The first half, especially, they contained us very well and were effective going forward.

It required an alert James Belshaw and a strong referee to keep Salford City at bay. They had at least one decent shout for a penalty. A soft penalty, but they have been given…

Salford were a very good looking side, attacking with pace and an effective aerial attack. We did very well not to concede, a testament to the quality of our defensive unit.

Only Josh Grant struggled defensively, but I like Josh and he adds more going forward. Salford City prevented Josh from making his usual runs up the wing, exposing his weaknesses.

The first half was fairly even in the end, with Salford City the happier going into the break.

I felt we did much better in the second half, and we were able to dominate possession and settled into our normal game which then started asking Salford City questions.

As we approached the last twenty minutes, the game was balanced on a knife edge, in a situation where a draw was no good for either team.

As always this season with this team, they never give up and you hoped that a late winner would come. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Up steps boy wonder Elliot Anderson with another individual effort to send The Mem into an explosion of limbs and noise. Oh, that goal felt so good!!!!!!

I was slightly uncomfortable with the confrontation between the home fans and the away fans in the South Stand following the goal. Fully understandable, it was a super emotional occasion. Fair play to Salford City, their fans did not bite. Another set of visiting fans could have had a different outcome.

Something for the club to think about, I guess. The segregation zone was minimal. I like the fact that the away fans are limited to the east part of the South Stand.

Massive, massive three points for us, which just about keeps us on the tail of Port Vale. If we can win there on Monday then the automatics are on.

Happy, happy days. UTG!

Tranmere Rovers 1 Bristol Rovers 1

Saturday 9th April 2022
Prenton Park
League Two

Match Review

The Gas are held to a draw against fellow playoff contenders Tranmere Rovers which keeps the playoff dream alive. Both teams could have won the game but a draw was probably the fair result. A good away point for The Gas.

The last seven days confirms to me that we are not finishing strongly enough to challenge for an automatic promotion place, yes I know that anything can happen and there will be twists and turns in the remainder of the run in, but our winning form needed to continue in order for us to realistically grab third place.

To be in a playoff position after the truly awful start that we had is very impressive. We need to keep our nerve and finish the job and secure the playoff position. Our lack of goals seems to be holding us back right now. We are dominating games but not taking advantage of the periods within a game where we dominate. Hopefully this can be rectified next season, as we are very close to being a perfect League Two promotion team.

For me, the dream of promotion is still very much alive and we have an excellent opportunity. We have five more cup finals and you never know…

Bristol Rovers 2 Bradford City 1

3pm, Saturday 2nd April 2022
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Match Report

Bristol Rovers overcame a resilient Bradford City side to keep their automatic playoff hopes alive for another week. Goals from Sam Finley and Connor Taylor won the game for The Gas. Rovers are 5th in the league table, level on points with third placed Port Vale.

The game started at a cracking pace, with Rovers making all the early action. Lots of possession in dangerous areas but with no end product.

As the half wore on, Bradford City got back into the game and were starting to exert some pressure of their own, but never looked likely to score.

Sam Finley had an excellent game, full of energy and creativity. He was at the heart of everything going forward an quite rightly earned the man of the match award. He was excellent.

Trevor Clarke struggled all game at left back, but this was not surprising given the lack of match time. He was solid enough and make some positive contributions. Hopefully the match time will do him good.

Sam Nicholson chased everything as always, and linked up with Sam Finley well but was fairly quiet overall today.

Elliot Anderson had a quiet first half, but was his usual excellent self in the second half, unlucky not to get on the scoresheet when he was fouled whilst through on goal. Despite being held, he got his shot away was was off balance.

The defence were solid all game, Hoole looks assured, Taylor and Connolly were rocks as always. Belshaw had very little to do all game.

Collins led the line well, and was unlucky not to score today. His best chance came in the second half when clear on goal but was then taken out in a classic professional foul. We were all surprised when the Bradford player got away with a yellow. Looked a clear red from where I was. Collins also missed a couple of half chances which would have put this game to bed. On another day we would have won this game 3-0.

Rovers were much better in the second half, and once Bradford got their freak goal right on kickoff, it was mostly all Rovers. I think most people in the stadium missed the goal. I only saw it after the net had bulged. That was not the start to the second half that we wanted. Luckily, this Rovers team has character and fights right to the final whistle.

Luke Thomas made a really good impact off the bench, he caused lots of problems down the right.

Lovely goal by Sam Finley, excellent finish. I can’t wait to see that one again! We certainly have been blessed with some quality goals this season!

The winner came from a scrambled goal by Connor Taylor from a set piece on the left side, really pleased for him getting his second goal for The Gas. Worrying few minutes for him with his chest problem afterwards. Glad to see he could continue. I hope he is ok.

The game was fairly comfortable in the end, we managed to see the game out with no late drama. We deserved to win. Dominated possession and chances. It was a professional performance and exactly what was needed.

Three points gained, we are still in the hunt for playoffs / automatic promotion. On to Tranmere and another cup final.

Carlisle United 1 Bristol Rovers 0

Saturday, 26th March 2022
Brunton Park
League Two

Match Report

The Gas fall to a single goal away defeat at Carlisle and drop to sixth in League Two. Still well in the promotion hunt with four teams on 63 points and only three points off the automatic positions.

This was another close game where a single goal was likely to result in all three points being won. Bristol Rovers dominated possession but Carlisle got the all important goal.

A disappointing afternoon but it is only one game and only three points dropped. We go again on Saturday with the visit of Bradford City to The Memorial Stadium.

Northampton Town 0 Bristol Rovers 1

Saturday, 19th March 2022
Sixfields Stadium
League Two

Match Report

The Gas gain a priceless three points at promotion rivals Northampton Town with a first minute goal by Harry Anderson. This takes us up to a new season high of 4th and knocking on the automatic promotion door.

This was a tight game and Northampton hit the crossbar a both side had chances to score. Listening on the radio, I felt that we were good value for the three points and managed the game well.

A massive result that continues the truly amazing run that we are on, and strengthens our promotion challenge. We are now right in the mix for the race for automatic promotion / playoffs and sets up nicely for the game against Carlisle United next Saturday, which is another must win game for The Gas.

Bristol Rovers 1 Colchester United 0

Tuesday, 15th March 2022
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Match Review

Bristol Rovers continue their ascent up the League Two table with a nervy win against Colchester United. A season high league position of 7th and a spot in the playoffs. Who would have thought it?

I felt we just about edged this tight game. Fair play to Colchester United, they are a much better team than their league position of 19th would suggest, and they came to play.

Tonight we started much better than on Saturday, and were much more positive at the start. There were brief flashes of skill from Anthony Evans, who had a good game but sat far too deep for my liking.

Both sides had chances to score throughout the whole game. Colchester United were very dangerous at set pieces, we really could not defend their corners at all. They were very creative with their deep corners being headed back across goal.

They also put James Belshaw under more pressure in the box than I can remember all season. A very physical side. The closest Colchester came to scoring was at the end of the first half with a goal cleared off the line. The ref blew for a foul on Belshaw anyway.

We also struggled with the pace of Colchester’s wing men. Their number 6, for example, was fast!

We asserted control towards the end of the first half, and dominated possession throughout large periods of the second half. My only complaint was that we sat far too deep and the possession football (which I do like) was too often across our 18 yard box. Far too deep to mount any kind of attack.

As always, the players gave everything, chased everything and largely nullified the Colchester attack.

As a result of the deep, patient approach, the result was always in doubt and the game was nervy towards the end. I was concerned that they would nick a goal.

Lovely build up play for Elliot Anderson’s goal. Another man of the match performance from Elliot, and a classy goal to win the game for us.

After the terrible start to the season, it is truly mind-blowing to see us in a playoff position, and still only three points off second place with nine games to go. We are in an incredible position and have a golden opportunity to bounce back to League One at the first attempt.

Yes, we are not perfect and there will be some tough games to go but we have the momentum.

On to Northampton and a promotion six pointer. UTG.

Bristol Rovers 3 Harrogate Town 0

3pm, Saturday 12th March 2022
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Match Report

This afternoon we witness a Gas masterclass on how to win a football game in style.

Forget League Two, we had goals this afternoon that would have been fit for a World Cup final.

Aaron Collins with the right foot curler from the edge of the box.
Elliot Anderson with a perfect reproduction of the Ricky Villa goal for Tottenham in the 1981 FA Cup Final.
Aaron Collins with the cheekiest of chips over the keeper.

Gas heaven.

We also witnessed football being played the right way. I cannot enthuse enough about how well we passed the ball around. Lovely one touch possession football. I am of course ignoring the first 20 minutes when we played as strangers.

We have the makings of a REALLY GOOD Bristol Rovers team here. Defensively solid, a creative midfield with bite and a classy striker who is full of confidence.

It is difficult to pick out individual players as the whole team contributed to the result. It was an excellent team performance. What a player Elliot Anderson is though. Classy, hardworking and effective. Aaron Colins was a pleasure to watch today, the guy is on fire. Loved the little boxing celebration down by us in the South West stand. We certainly knocked the stuffing out of Harrogate Town, that’s for sure.

I also love Luca Hoole. Effective and solid defensively, with some nice creative touches and excellent distribution. Taylor and Connolly were rock solid as always. Finley was everywhere and the heart of everything. Outstanding performances throughout the team.

We started nervously, something we seem to do quite a bit, and something we need to avoid when we meet the big boys in the next few weeks. Harrogate could easily have nicked a goal or two at the start, with some dangerous crosses fizzing across our box. As in recent games, by the midway point of the first half we took control, scored two goals and never looked like conceding let along losing the game.

Belshaw got a really good welcome by the Harrogate fans as he ran over to his goal at the start of the second half. Good to see the respect.

The third goal killed the game as a contest, and for once we could all sit back and enjoy a game of football with no drama…

A big home crowd, festival atmosphere (loved the band before the game – nothing better than walking into the ground with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Foo Fighters. Happy days!), dominant performance, wonder goals. This afternoon had everything.

It sure feels good to be a Gashead right now. I am loving it!

Another season high league position of 8th, just outside the playoffs on goal difference only. We are only three points off second place!

(Going) Up The Gas!

Crawley Town 1 Bristol Rovers 2

7:45pm Tuesday, 8th March 2022
Broadfield Stadium
League Two

Match Review

What an entertaining game. Really glad I paid for iFollow, definitely value for money and a fantastic result!

The first half started slowly for The Gas. Crawley took the early initiative and had a number of chances on a really hard bumpy pitch.

As the half wore on, we started to exert quick passing game on Crawley and looked dangerous.

James Belshaw once again had a MOM worthy performance with at least four critical saves. Once again, we would have lost had it not been for Belshaw. Player of the season?

The Gas created a number of really good chances in the first half, Elliot Anderson and Harry Anderson playing very well.

There was a real end to end feel to the game either side of the force substitution of the referee midway through the first half. Not seen that before.

The Gas pressure is rewarded with a goal. Harry Anderson after a nice break down the right. Evans instrumental in setting Anderson up. Excellent stuff!

Well deserved lead as The Gas have grown into the game as the half progressed.

Belshaw another super save in first half injury time after a quick Crawley counter attack.

1-0 Gas half time.

Crawley start the second half well, plenty of urgency in their play.

Collins hit the top of the net after a glorious ball from Elliot Anderson. Beautiful move, shame it did not go in.

Crawley look dangerous, we need a second goal.

Elliot Anderson missed a sitter after heading into the ground on the hour mark. Lovely cross by Harry Anderson who is having another good game on the right wing.

Beautiful goal by Aaron Collins on 64 minutes. Excellent work by Luca Hoole with an excellent run and cross to set up Collins. A perfect counter attack just when we needed it most.

From this point on the game was all Crawley as we sat back and soaked up pressure.

Crawley sneak a goal back direct from a corner on the left side. A very soft goal and exactly what we did not need.

Rovers looking nervy as we enter the last 20 minutes.

Desperate defending by The Gas as we enter the last ten minutes. Crawley on top.

Rovers hanging on as we enter the final ten minutes. Desperate stuff.

Keystone Cops defending at the end, real pinball stuff in the Rovers box.

Harry Anderson / James Belshaw MOM performances for me.

The Gas edge a highly entertaining game and earn a vital three points to keep our playoff dream alive.

Crawley deserved at least a draw, but the boys gave everything. Cannot fault the commitment and desire from this group of players. We also showed some quality at times.

Two points off the playoffs. Five points off an automatic place. Bring on Harrogate and another critical game.


Bristol Rovers 1 Barrow 0

7:45pm, Tuesday 1st March 2022
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Match Review

What a cold, wet, frustrating evening that was! Very, very relieved to come away with a win and a critical three points, taking us to within two points of the playoffs and five points away from the last automatic promotion position. Crazy!

Barrow started the game strongly and kept us pushed back deep in our own half for the first ten minutes. They certainly did not look like a team at the bottom of the table initially.

Once we got a hold of the game, Barrow reverted to a defensive game plan and played for the next 70 minutes for a 0-0 draw. They defended resolutely throughout the game and gave us all a lesson in time wasting. It was like watching the Italian national team of old. Players fell over, kicked the ball away, carried the ball around like that spoilt kid at the park who brought the ball and refused to play when his side was losing….

Their game plan very nearly worked to perfection. It was only a wonder goal from Anthony Evans after 81 minutes that change the game and kicked Barrow to life. From that point on, Barrow played like a team possessed. I could hardly believe that this terrible time wasting negative outfit had the ability to attack at pace.

For the final ten minutes plus an eternity of added time, Barrow battered our goal. How on earth they failed to score is beyond me. Belshaw made a save whilst led on the ground, I think they hit the post. It was a crazy last 15 minutes..

Apart from the start and end of the game, we completely dominated the game and laid siege to the Barrow goal. We tried and tried to work down their right side and threw cross after cross into the box to very little effect. We also seemed to want to pass our way into the goal.

We fully deserved to win the game tonight, although I felt it was slipping away from us after so many missed chances.

Good to see Leon Clarke get some decent minutes tonight. He had a couple of golden chances, which I am sure he would have scored had he been match sharp. Him being in the right place at the right time is encouraging though. We need some goals from him before the season is done.

Fair play to the small number that travelled from Barrow. They were loud for their numbers, although their one song was getting a bit annoying by the end.

We are very much still on course for the playoffs, we just need to keep this run going.