November 27, 2014
Welcome all to what, in theory at least, should be our biggest game in Rovers’ hopefully short Conference history. Barnet are clearly well ahead of the chasing pack, including Rovers, at the time of writing although we are putting ‘pen to paper’ before last Saturday’s latest long trip north to Chester.
We were ‘new to the game’ when we played at the ‘Hive’ in our first ever Conference away match back in August and I thought we got ‘beaten-up’ on the night, especially young Tom Lockyer who lost most of his teeth in an incident that didn’t even earn a free kick let alone a yellow card for the perpetrator! All the subsequent matches have taught me that referees at ‘level 5’ seem to have a very free and easy attitude most of the time, only sometimes to burst into a late flurry of cards.
The ‘Bees’ obviously play a fast and aggressive game at home and it will be interesting to see how they approach what should be a hostile environment here tonight and, more importantly, how Rovers cope with whatever is thrown at them. We have some changes in personnel since the start of the season so let’s hope for a much better outcome this time round!
As we are writing before the Chester game I am unable to comment on that trip but our previous two games, the visit to Alfreton followed by our first home match for a month against Kidderminster Harriers both produced only draws when perhaps two victories were expected by the majority. It is clear that Rovers were lacking a successful striker and hopefully that situation may have been resolved in time for tonight’s match.
Nobody knows that problem more than Manager Darrell Clarke and obviously he is doing all he can to remedy what has been a difficulty for a long time. It was good to see the ever hard-working Matty Taylor come off the bench to snatch a late equaliser after we looked like totally over-running ‘Kiddie’ in a blistering start that failed to find the net and perhaps he and the recalled Ryan Brunt can, after all, score the goals so badly needed if we are to maintain a promotion challenge.
Certainly it is not the time for supporters to be pressing the panic button with us still in the play-off positions at the time of writing and with on-loan Lyle Della-Verde supplying some much-needed ammunition from either flank as he did in his opening three matches. I was here last Tuesday for the GFA Cup tie against Southern League Cinderford Town and a very decent game of attacking football it was too.
The most encouraging thing for me that night was the long-awaited debut of Angelo Balanta following his injury-jinxed addition to the squad and he looked like he too could make a major impression on our attacking play. I’m looking forward to seeing more from both Lyle and Angelo!
We could not have a harder game than tonight’s battle against old foes from the Football League that we both so desperately wish to return to.
However, the ‘Bees’ can be beaten despite their tremendous start and they will not face a bigger or more hostile crowd than the ‘Gas’ will provide so please give Barnet the sort of reception we are famous for here!
Up the Pirates!
(This is the FULL article printed on the Supporters Club News Page 12 in the PIRATE at the Barnet Home fixture.)