By Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips
Well that`s a bit better. I would happily have taken 4 points from the Bradford and Shrewsbury to get things back on track and the team duly delivered. The only real disappointment was that it wasn`t 6 points due to a late penalty equaliser at Valley Parade. Watching the highlights of the Bradford game, Matt Harrold and Eliot Richards took their goals well, but the two conceded penalties looked soft, especially the injury time equaliser which I thought was an atrocious decision. That late penalty must have been a bit gutting, but it was nice to end the poor run of results going into Tuesday night.
Tuesday was not a classic game by any stretch, but the win was the most important thing and it was great to see the lads put in the effort to get the win and clean sheet. We were a bit direct at times, but I don`t mind if you do it well and we do it reasonably well and we have a player in Matt Harrold that can lead the line. There were flashes of ‘better` football during the game from The Gas and hopefully now we have got back to winning ways, confidence can grow and we can play a bit more an mix and match our football up. I said last week about Cian Bolger and it was noticeable how much more solid we were with him in the backline. It was also the first chance to see Danny Woodards and he looked a very competent player at Right-back. Shrewsbury played some decent football and moved the ball quickly, but we defended resolutely and they rarely tested Scott Bevan, although our huge ‘Keeper did pull of one blinding save near the end of the game as he also did against Bradford.
Tuesday was also the last of the run of midweek games we have had and hopefully this will give more time for players to get over knocks and strains and hopefully get the whole squad fighting fit for the weeks ahead. Saturday sees us entertain Aldershot and hopefully we can turn back to back home games into back to back wins. We are right up there with the pack in the early running and 3 points Saturday could see us get in-between those dotted lines where we would like to be at least come the end of the season. It`s still early and it doesn`t mean anything yet, but it`s always nice to see your team in the top 6 (or 7 in League two)
Turning back to the team, obviously Jo Kuffour has been omitted in the past few games as Rovers look to move him on, but Craig Stanley has also been a noticeable absentee. To me it was a little disappointing as what I have seen of Stanley so far I have generally liked, but it appears the manager has been a little disappointed with some of his work. The walking instead of jogging off seems a bit trivial, but it also seems Mr Buckle would like to see him get his hands (or should that be shorts) a bit dirtier and get his foot in like Stuart Campbell more often. It appears though now the manager and Craig Stanley have had a chat and cleared the air as it were. It all seemed a bit strange but has been dealt with and whether you are sceptical or not it is just in time as it looks as though Matt Gill is struggling for the game against Aldershot.
I`m looking forward to Saturday, and I hope you all are too. Now is the time for us to get the right sort of run going and propel ourselves up towards the top of the table where we really want to be.
Whatever your plans for the weekend, here`s to three more points
Up The Gas
Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips