Category: BRFC Men

Bristol Rovers 1 Exeter City 1

3:00pm, Saturday 26th February 2022
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Match Report

A really entertaining game of football, both sides had many good chances and a draw was probably the fair result.

Exeter City look a very good side, and we matched them throughout the whole game. We started the brighter, and had the best of the first hour I would say. Towards the end we were struggling and lost control of midfield. It did look like we might lose the game right at the end, as Exeter had a couple of really good chances and definitely finished the stronger of the two teams.

Having said that, it was an excellent point against one of the better sides in this division. It keeps our unbeaten run going and keeps us on course for the playoffs.

Luca Hoole had an assured game, with great defensive positioning and good distribution with some flashes of skill. Harry Anderson had good game out on the left.

Really good to see a packed Memorial Stadium again, the South West stand was pretty full. If we can keep the good run going, and the attendance stays high then it is promising to be an excellent spring for The Gas.

Onwards to Barrow and a must win game at home.

Stevenage 0 Bristol Rovers 4

3:00pm, Saturday 19th February 2022
Broadhall Way
League Two

Match Report

The Gas enjoy one of their best away trips in recent memory with a 4-0 demolition of struggling Stevenage. Goals from Sam Finley, Elliot Anderson, Harry Anderson and Aaron Collins closed the playoff gap to five points.

Fantastic result yesterday, 4-0 wins do not happen very often. Well done to both the team and manager. 😀

Exactly what we needed, and did the following:

  1. Kept us on track for hitting the playoffs by the end of the season.
  2. Improved our goal difference.
  3. Improved morale amongst the players and the fanbase.
  4. Gave the travelling Gasheads a truly memorable away day.

This was also not an isolated performance either, the Sutton United game should have been a similar result. This team is playing with supreme confidence and if that continues until the end of the season we are in for a cracking few months (and we have certainly deserved it!).

Onward and upwards Gasheads. Enjoy the ride!

Bristol Rovers 2 Sutton United 0

7:45pm, Tuesday 15th February 2022
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Match Review

Bristol Rovers take all three points in a thoroughly entertaining evening’s football. A dominant display from start to finish results in a season high position of 11th. UTG

We started on the front foot with a very early goal from Harry Anderson, following a really good move down the right flank.

The first half in particular, was a demonstration of the attacking potential of this Bristol Rovers side. The only thing that was missing was a hatful of goals.

There were far too many stand out performances to mention really. Sam Nicholson and Aaron Collins were on fire. Full of running and skilful touches, it really was a joy to watch.

Nick Anderson on the left side was simply outstanding. Strong defensively, purposeful attacking up the left flank, full of energy.

The whole back four were superb actually, a really solid unit. Belshaw did not have an awful lot to do but pulled off his customary saves when required.

Finley and Coutts were industrious in midfield, breaking play up and closing down play. The two Andersons were all over the place (in a good way).

We should have been at least 3-0 up at half time, and whilst we allowed Sutton United to play a bit in the second half, the result never felt in doubt at any point.

A piece of individual brilliance by Aaron Collins just after the break sealed the victory, and was the least he deserved for a magnificent performance of forward play. For long periods, he was the lone striker but held the ball up superbly and was always supported quickly by a wave of players joining the attack.

Fair play to the travelling Sutton United fans, who despite being few were very noisy and provided some entertaining chants. They seem to be enjoying life in the football league and just happy to not be doing down.

Four points playing two teams in the playoffs is encouraging. We need consistent results from now on.

Next up Stevenage in a game we simply have to win.

Bristol Rovers 0 Mansfield Town 0

3:00pm, Saturday 12th February 2022
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Preview

The Gas welcome Mansfield Town to The Memorial Stadium this afternoon.

After Tuesday evening’s shambles, who knows which Bristol Rovers team will turn up this afternoon. We will either get hammered by a very good Mansfield side, or scrap a narrow victory.

Both sides have been on good runs of form, Bristol Rovers had the blip against Oldham but Mansfield have been solid. Mansfield are firm playoff contenders, whilst Bristol Rovers still languish below mid table.

This will be a very tough game and the hope is that we will raise our game to meet the challenge that Mansfield will pose us today.

I am going to be optimistic and go for a narrow home win, but taking an unbiased view then that is the least likely outcome.

Prediction

1-0 The Gas take all three points in a tight game.

Match Report

My thoughts on the Mansfield result was that overall it was a good draw. One point gained against a very in form team. We held them defensively and created some good chances (in the second half).

This point would have felt a whole lot better if we had won at Oldham, but there you go.


The problem that we have is that we have been a lower mid table team (with potential for higher) for the whole season so far (60% of the season completed. Nearly two thirds). If we are going to reach the playoffs then we need to go on a run of wins. Remember that the only league table that matters is the on at 5pm on Saturday 7th May 2022. If we scrape into the playoffs on the final day of the season by goal difference then job done.


We do continue to drop points, which is worrying at this stage of the season.


Back to the game. It was not a particularly entertaining game. Both sides seemed unable to fashion a number of clear cut chances, so I guess that both defenses had a good day. Having Conner Taylor back in the side was a key factor in that. Really good to see James Belshaw back in the side. I am liking the higher crowds though. I imagine the big turnout from Mansfield helped boost the figures though.

The next few games are Sutton United (5th), Stevenage (17), Leyton Orient (16), Exeter City (4th). If we assume 74 points will get us into 7th position at the end of the season (using an average of two points per game from now on), then we will need 8 points from these four games (minimum). This is doable if we beat Stevenage and Leyton Orient. That’s a big if.


Using the above logic, the draw against Mansfield was ok. The loss against Oldham was not.


I really liked JB’s per-game message (via email). He is exactly right and we all want to have a positive experience at The Mem. The coaching staff and the players also have to do their part and deliver on the pitch.


I am still hopeful for a strong finish to the season, a playoff push would do wonders for morale and atmosphere at The Mem.

UTG.

Oldham Athletic 2 Bristol Rovers 1

7:45pm, Tuesday 8th February 2022
Boundary Park
League Two

Preview

The Gas travel to Greater Manchester this evening in what should be a comfortable evening for the travelling support.

The Gas are in a rich vein of form and Oldham have only won one of their last five games, and that win being against the bottom side in League Two. The two sides are separated by ten places and fifteen points.

Despite being away, this is definitely a must win game for The Gas. Anything less than a win is unacceptable and would seriously dent any hopes of the playoff push continuing throughout February.

Prediction

0-2 A comfortable away win for The Gas.

Match Report

Bristol Rovers are taught a lesson in football complacency as Oldham Althetic secure a well deserved victory and three vital points in their relegation battle. The Gas were simply not good enough for most of this game, and the scoreline was flattering. Hopefully this is just a blip.

Sutton United 1 Bristol Rovers 1

3:00pm, Saturday 05th February 2022
Gander Green Lane
League Two

Preview

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…

Prediction

2-3 A narrow victory for The Gas to continue the rise up the table.

Match Review

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.

Bristol Rovers 1 Walsall 0

3:00pm, Saturday 29th January 2022
The Memorial Stadium
League Two

Preview

The Gas welcome Walsall to The Memorial Stadium this afternoon. I am hopeful for a reasonable away following, due to the fairly close proximity of the two clubs.

Bristol Rovers are four positions higher up the League Two table, having collected four more points that Walsall.

Walsall come off a run of four straight defeats, so I am fully expecting a home victory this afternoon although I suspect it will be a tight affair.

This is another key game in the season for The Gas, one that we simply have to win if we are to be considered playoff contenders.

Prediction

1-0 Bristol Rovers. A close, low scoring game just edged by The Gas.

Match Report

A valuable three points earned by this never-say-die Bristol Rovers team takes us to another season high position of 12th. In the top half of the table for the first time this season.

A very average performance against an average looking Walsall side, this game is easily forgotten but we got the result and that is all that counts.

A standout performance from Luke Thomas, who gave everything and showed some excellent moments of skill. Both Luke Thomas and Anthony Evans were the creative force this afternoon. The team as a whole dug in and got the result at the end. Very worrying to see James Belshaw limping at the end. I really hope he is ok because he is a critical player for us.

Aaron Collins is now our clear top scorer, with seven goals. He is becoming the player that we all hoped he would be when we signed him at the start of the season, and is developing a habit of scoring critical goals.

I was surprised to see Luca Hoole sent off. I did not realise he was already on a yellow card, and the challenge was worthy of a yellow card so I guess the referee had no choice but to send him off. I felt there should have been a lot more yellow cards in this game, as it was quite niggly at times. I was relieved to see the ref book the Walsall player for diving in the box. I will need to see that one again as I felt it could easily have been given as a penalty, which would have ruined our afternoon.

I felt we lacked composure on the ball today, and were not really much of an attacking threat. I was hoping for more following the performance against Scunthorpe on Tuesday evening. Still, I have no complaints at all. We got the job done whilst not playing well. That is a good sign for the remainder of the season.

Fantastic result which takes us within 6 points of the playoffs. Onwards and upwards.

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.