December 31, 2005
As is the tradition this time of year, we are currently in the middle of a spell that could well shape the rest of our season.
After the disappointing 1-0 loss to bottom of the table Torquay two weeks ago to an 88th minute sucker punch goal, (the type we all thought we had seen the last of) we bounced back on Boxing day with a 2-1 win over Shrewsbury to provide seasonal cheer for the Rovers faithful. It would not be unfair to say we made hard work of it at times, but three points are three points and we gratefully took them.
Disley opened Rover’s account when a bouncing ball fell kindly for him to head home after Agogo had hit the bar, whilst a blatant pull on Steve Elliott whilst attempting to climb to head a corner resulted in a penalty for Rovers which Junior Agogo made no mistake with to send Rovers into the break with a two goal advantage. [image2]
Shrewsbury came out blazing in the secnd half and scored to get them back in the game within 7 minutes of the re-start.Though the home side were playing the more attractive football in the most part, the visitors really gave it a go and there was a feeling of relief around the Mem come the final whistle.
Having had a couple of days to catch our breath, it was off to Field Mill to face Mansfield on the Wednesday night. The team left at 1.00pm and the fans started their journey north about an hour afterwards, all hoping it would not be in vain. With games being postponed all around Mansfield, it was looking more and more likely that would be the case, but despite the snow and ice, the game went ahead. Rovers were slow to start and Mansfield soon had the lead after some poor defending. Things got worse when again Mansfield seemed to be invited forward to take a shot, an invitation Gus Uhlenbeek, Mansfield’s man of the match accepted and profitted from to double their advantage shortly after. It was seeming like a wasted trip for Gasheads, but soon the game turned on it’s head.
Rovers seemed to suddenly spring into life and soon got a goal back. Carruthers put a super cross into the box for James Hunt to run onto and flick head into the net past a flailing Kevin Pressman. The goal gave Rovers renewed confidence and a second shortly followed, a header from Disley against his former employers, but it was ruled out to the disbelief of the travelling Gasheads. Rovers soon won a corner and when the ball came into the box once again the referee blew his whistle and disbelief turned to joy for the visitors who he had awarded a penalty, which we later found out was for a pull on Elliott. Richard Walker put it away like shelling peas and Rovers were level and now chasing the game.
After the break, the game semed to descend into a joint keepy uppy session between the two teams at times and as the temperature dropped further, it was understandable that neither team seemed willing to exert themselves further. As the game drew on though the fire returned and Rovers conceded again, a low shot left Shearer unsighted and the home team had the advantage again. Rovers now needed to score a third, something we are not used to seeing too often, and try as they might it just didnt look like coming. Trollope made a couple of substitutions bringing on Forester, then Haldane, then with only a few minutes left Williams joined the fray. Haldane really put himself about and troubled the defence with his pace but they seemed content to play keep ball and run down the clock. Finally, Haldane got the ball and running goalwards put in a cross which Walker was able to poke home from a yard out and send us all delirious with joy at rescuing a point on a cold night. Moments later the ref blew for full time and on the night a draw was probably a fair result.
So Wycombe next then. We all know they played Thursday night and the 1.30pm kick off on Saturday must be a factor in our favour as we would have had more rest than them. After Grimsby, it is our toughest challenge this season so it’s important to keep the unbeaten run going and take advantage of any space they offer us on the day.
Spare a thought for Torquay, who as we passed them heading for Stockport must have surely felt they would get to see their team play a crucial game for them against fellow strugglers, a classic three pointer if there ever was one. Sadly for them, they had no sooner arrived and got their pre match drinks in when their game was postponed. One must wonder at the decision making at the F.A. when they decide all these trips are so neccessary when more local matches could be scheduled this time of year.