February 25, 2015
Welcome back to the Memorial Stadium for our second match here in the space of four days. This is Rovers’ last scheduled evening game of the season so, weather permitting, this will be the last time we will have prepared this column before the last match has been played.
Let’s hope the lads were able to pick up all three points against Altrincham last Saturday and that we are now well set up for the chance of a quick ‘home double’ with tonight’s re-arranged visit of Braintree Town.
As I wrote in Saturday’s ‘Pirate’ both games are against what I call ‘traditional non-league’ clubs but, as with ‘Alty’, the ‘Iron’ are not going to be pushovers this evening, in fact quite the opposite as they are even above us in the Vanarama current form table. As Rovers had lost only once in no less than 26 games leading up to last Saturday then that is quite a feat.
Way back at the start of last September Phil Draper and I had the pleasure of guesting with Ken Masters in the Braintree Boardroom at the Cressing Road Stadium and what a great eye-opener it was into life in the Conference.
Rovers were definitely still finding their feet at the time and looking back at the team-sheet for that day I noted that three of our starting line-up, Messrs. White, Martin and Cunnington, as well as substitutes Brunt and young Donovan Wilson have all moved on to other clubs so things are a little different now.
In fact, believe it or not, that was Rovers’ last defeat on the road so revenge should be in the air again tonight as it was on Saturday. Speaking with the Braintree Chairman and Directors that afternoon left me in no doubt that the ‘Iron’ are a club completely unfazed by playing against the likes of Rovers and they duly proved it by inflicting our third defeat of that disappointing first month of non-League life.
We were told how they had done ‘the double’ over last season’s Conference Champions Luton Town so perhaps it was unsurprising, even if we did not get the rub of the green with the officials on a pretty torrid afternoon. With a former England International in charge of the Braintree squad, plenty of modular jackleg cabin buildings and lots of friendly people the set-up reminded me of the Rovers when we were at Twerton Park and made distinguished visitors ‘eat humble pie’ in less than salubrious surroundings.
I promised to keep our members updated on the situation with the sale of our Kingswood Club Shop and I can tell you that things have progressed well and that we expect to complete the deal in the next week or so. All going well we shall be staying on in the property as tenants but there will be a period of closure for about a week whilst essential works take place. We will confirm all as soon as possible.
The pressure is on and Braintree will provide tough opposition this evening so get right behind the lads and roar them on to another win.
Up the Pirates!