Jan 1st 1987

December 31, 2016

THIRTY YEARS AGO

(Part Two)

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Bristol Rovers supporters may recall that the future did not look bright back in December 1986.

Financial pressures had forced the club to relocate to Twerton Park and share with Bath City.

At this same stage of the season in 1986 the future of the football club was in doubt.

One win in 13 matches was the record following the 3-0 Boxing Day defeat to Bournemouth.

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Gary Smart in action for Bristol Rovers at Twerton Park

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Boxing Day was one of the lowest points in a season that had very few highlights.

Suffice to say that festive joy was in short supply among Bristol Rovers supporters 30 years ago.

Up popped a certain GARY SMART.

On December 28th 1986 he scored his second ever goal for Bristol Rovers.

In an unexpected 2-1 Away victory at Brentford he scored the opening goal before Boris added the second.

Christmas did not seem so bad after all.

Even better was to follow.

January 1st 2017 was to bring another goal for Gary Smart.

A truly memorable goal.

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Gary Smart is shown here along with Nicky Tanner who left for Liverpool the following season.

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In front of 17,122 spectators a 87th minute screamer towards Crackers Corner.

The Tim Carter saves, the Vaughan Jones tackles/fouls, the fighting spirit.

Plenty of coins were thrown at Bristol Rovers supporters by those leaving the Dolman stands.

Terry Cooper, the home team manager, thought it was the strike of a lifetime.

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E  N  J  O  Y

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What would the rest of 1986/87 bring?

Was there to be any light at the end of the long tunnel?

Would the end of 1986 and the start of 1987 bring any upturn in fortunes?

The season was to be one long struggle but relegation was just avoided.

It was to be the start of an upturn in fortunes but nobody realised it at that time.

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