Fans View – C.Palace – David Brain

August 16, 2007

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Rovers made a few changes against a relatively strong Palace side. Rickie Lambert was rested to give Saturday’s scorer, Andy Williams, his home debut. Interestingly the programme also listed Andy Williams of Hereford as the forth official. Joe Jacobson was also rested for Lewis Haldane whilst Sammy Igoe returned to the bench after illness. Palace were without the injured new signing Jeff Hughes who scored 3 goals against us for Lincoln in the play-off second leg. There was a good crowd of over five and a half thousand swelled by some 700 + Eagles fans.

Generally, Rovers matched their Championship opposition although Palace squandered a few chances, particularly in extra time. This was a typical well-organised, hard working, and good passing team performance that we now associate with Paul Trollope. Both sides played some good passing football in what was largely a very competitive and entertaining game.

Palace had slightly better of the first half with Ben Watson the pick of their team organising most moves from the centre of midfield until he left the field injured midway through the second half. Palace took the lead through a well taken Dougie Freedman free kick after what seemed to be a dubious free kick given by a referee that did us no favours on the night.

Rovers had much more of the game after the break and caused Palace a number of problems. Rovers were particularly lively after Rickie Lambert came on for the hard working Andy Williams. ‘Lambo’ made a number of telling passes behind the Palace back line but these chances were not taken until Craig Disley broke though and slid the ball past the advancing Scott Flinders in the Palace goal for a deserved equaliser.

Rovers hung on in extra time with some resolute defending particularly from the inspirational, Man of the Match, Steve Elliot.” He’s ……brilliant”. One sliding goal line clearance summed up his commitment. Aaron Lescott also deserves a special mention for his tireless display. There was torrential rain in extra time, more like a Caribbean monsoon. The sooner we get the new stadium built the better.

Richard Walker thumped home the first penalty followed by a magnificent save from Steve Phillips. Craig Disley and Chris Carruthers added successful penalties before a hit post by Palace for their third spot kick left Byron Antony the glory of hitting the winner with one kick to spare. 4 – 1 to the Gas, now why has it taken us so long to start winning cup games?

Now to Thursday’s televised second round draw! How about that Yeovil or Swindon? Oh no they’re gone! What about the team south of the River Avon? I really enjoy beating them. Whatever I am sure the noisy Gasheads will once again play their part in lifting our team.

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