By Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips
Hello and welcome to this weeks something for the weekend and as last Saturday was my first and last away game of the season, I promised a more retro Sprout and About style column, so here goes.
I woke up really looking forward to my trip to the seaside having not been to an away game in quite some time, so after kicking my girlfriend out of the house (unfortunately not to work to earn some money) me and my housemate bundled into my dads car to pick up our fourth Musketeer and set sail along the M5 in the good ship Renault Megane TD Estate. Leaving about 9.30 we made good time and made port around 11.30 before heading to a pub I have frequented many times before, yet I cannot remember the name of. My poison of choice was Taunton`s Traditional Cider a rather refreshing Apple juice if I do say so myself. Being in Torquay nice and early we were able to take in most of the Bolton v QPR game and saw the goal that wasn`t given. Having seen it a few times it was a fast header and difficult for the lino to give, and the day that there is some sort of buzzer/alarm that can go off when a ball crosses the line, I think will be a good day, but that is the only way I think it will work without calls for more technology across the game. Anything that requires a ‘review` will just cause much hassle. Buzzer = Job done.
Anyway, back to Torquay and after having a tasty lunch from the chippy and a bit of banter with a couple of local coppers, we headed into the ground which has change a bit since the last time I came with the on going building of their new main stand, which whilst not big my any means looks like it will be pretty nice. It was nice to be standing on the terrace in the beautiful sunshine and after a Shergar burger to keep me fuelled was ready for the game. I thought Torquay were the better team to start with and Rene Howe looked like he was going to be a handful early on, but Bolger and Parkes looked to settle and learn from the Akinfenwa experience against Northampton. I thought we generally played quite well and it was good to go in ahead before Zebs scored a cracker right in front of us to put us in a great position, but then it went a bit wrong.
To be honest I think Mark McGhee made a mistake making the change straight away. I could see the reason for the sub, to keep it tight and make it difficult for Torquay, but before we could reorganise properly Torquay scored and then we suddenly lost our outlet in Carayol and with Harrold having to go off. I think the substitution would have been better waiting a couple of minutes so the side could compose it`s self. When Anyinsah game on, well. That was one of the worst performances I think most of us have ever seen and to see him hauled of right before the end was probably the final nail in his Rovers career. I just don`t get Joe, to me who looks nowhere near fit and he is constantly stretching, yet he must be to keep being selected. It`s like he is waiting for his hamstring to snap. I will absolve him of some of the blame for the second goal though. Yes he was tackled far to easily and lost the ball, but the ball should have been played into the corner rather than to his feet as we looked to soak up time.
The result was disappointing to what had been a decent day so far as we left Plainmoor. We planned to go somewhere and try and catch the Bristol City game, but a bit out of the way of the crush in Torquay. As we made our way out we struggled to find anywhere decent and we hit Exeter and were still looking before stumbling across three boozers right next to each other. There was no City game but we did manage to catch most of Everton and Spurs, and I managed to stay on the Taunton Traditional fortunately. Heading back I check in with the girlfriend and having both had a drink, I got dropped back at her parents place, but not before forgetting to give my mate the keys to the house. I had barely set foot inside the girlfriends house before miraculously being first up on SingStar. After a few rough ciders, I can safely say my harmonic voice was not at it`s best or full range. (There is something I could naturally finish off with here but deleted it for safety, so you have to use your imagination)
Before I sign of for the week, Saturday sees us host AFC Wimbledon and a chance to put a few wrongs from Saturday right and hopefully acquire 3 more points to keep us in 16th position. In my current state I don`t think I will be able to make it to the game, but al least I will have the Milan-San Remo cycle race to keep me occupied and I can cheer on Team Sky and World Cahmpion Mark Cavendish for the win. Whatever you are up to have a good one and Up The Gas!
Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips