March 13, 2015
All good things must come to an end they say and so it was last Saturday when Rovers lost for the first time after twenty games undefeated.
I must say that I had ‘bad vibes’ about the game against Eastleigh some weeks ago and my mate Roger told me he had been feeling the same in the week leading up to the match.
Strange isn’t it how these things come to haunt us football fans – you just know somehow that it is not going to work out despite the team’s fantastic recent run.
As it was , Eastleigh deserved the win as Rovers turned in a very poor performance and didn’t seem able to string any passes together until very late on.
The opening goal, a very uncharacteristic ‘howler’ from Steve Mildenhall, seemed impossible to overcome and the ‘Spitfires’ second was just a formality when it finally came.
Rovers did at least stage some sort of recovery towards the end and a superb strike by Matt Taylor that was worthy of winning any match gave hope of an undeserved share of the spoils only for our top marksman to blot his copybook with a poor miss that should have been the equaliser.
The first defeat in ages had to come sometime as I said and it’s important we don’t panic, especially with another tough trip to come on Saturday. Let’s hope it was just a one-off blip as Rovers remain top thanks to Barnet’s disastrous run of form and that’s the best place to be in my mind!
So, another long trip north on Saturday and if you are joining us on the road to sunny (?) Halifax then look out for ‘Smash & Grab’ at the Shay.
If you are as old as me you will need no introduction to one of Rovers’ greatest strike-pairings – Alan Warboys and Bruce Bannister, whose goals powered the Pirates into what is now the Championship in 1973. I met up with ‘Big Al’, sat amongst the ‘Gas’ in the stand at Gateshead and he told me that still goes to all the Rovers games he can up north and that ‘Banny’ would be joining him at Halifax.
The pair remain great friends despite being completely different characters and having totally different lifestyles but they both still love watching Rovers. I find it amazing that two old players, both born and bred Yorkshiremen living in their home county, should still have such affection for my club that they want to be involved with us over forty years since they made their names in Bristol.
I last met up with Alan and Bruce at Bradford the season before last so I know how passionate they are and, John Keyes tells me they will be down here again for his ‘Tote End’ evening in Kingswood the night before our last scheduled home match against Alfreton. It will be great to meet up with them again so please give ‘Smash & Grab’ a big cheer if you are heading up to the Shay.
Another big cheer I know will be reserved for returning midfielder, Chris Lines, as he makes his debut on loan from Port Vale on Saturday. Hopefully he will be joined by another ‘returnee’ in Jermaine Easter who perhaps will be back to score the extra goals we need for Rovers to bounce straight back into the Football League.
It’s a long day out but one that I’m looking forward to.
See you there.