Jim’s Jottings

December 3, 2017

It’s not a good time to be a ‘Gashead’ at the moment with no news to hand on a new stadium or on development of the training ground complex, with our nearest and dearest rivals seemingly able to do no wrong up in the Championship and with Rovers going through a very poor run of results – the worst since Darrell Clarke took charge of the team as we fell out of the Football League in 2014.

Whilst the results have been disappointing, that has not always been the case with the performances and last Saturday’s effort at Ewood Park was one in which we really should have returned home with something, just as at Scunthorpe in the previous away game. The ‘Pirates’ were to my mind the better side at Blackburn and we played some great football. Ellis Harrison scored another fine goal, my nomination for the best of the month and I can’t think of any of the players who had a poor game.

Unfortunately we switched off at the vital time just as ‘DC’ says and I well remember back in the 1970’s when one of his predecessors, the great Don Megson, said that a side is always at its most venerable when it has just scored a goal. What made things worse was another poorly performing referee as Ollie Clarke’s well-deserved opening ‘goal’ was eventually ruled out, incredibly after both teams had lined-up for the restart and the scoreboard had showed the visiting Rovers to be in front. Subsequent viewing of the highlights showed that Ellis was not interfering with play and that the goal should have stood.

Later on Ollie had his day further ruined with a contentious penalty award against him after what seemed an unpreventable collision; a decision that would only have been given to the home team in my opinion. The brief highlights did not show a blatant trip on the edge of the Blackburn ‘box’ and in front of the Ref that may not have been a penalty but certainly should have resulted in a direct free kick as the ‘Gas’ piled on the pressure at the finish. Having said all that we are still suffering from those individual defensive errors as the Boss keeps saying despite a much improved display at the favourites for promotion.

The introduction of Joe Partington in front of our two returning internationals almost proved to be a ‘matchwinner’ but of course we lost Ryan Sweeney to injury early on and perhaps he might just have won the header that eventually consigned us to another defeat. Let’s hope that another week on the training ground will make a positive difference this afternoon.

I cannot review the team’s good performance at Blackburn without mentioning the fantastic turn-out of support with 1,300 ‘Gasheads’ making the long trip north and roaring the lads on for the full 90 minutes. That figure was almost twice the number.

Our neighbours took on a similar-length journey to Hull on the same day and speaks volumes for the potential at this club should the owners manage to get things right in future. As an aside, quite why were both Bristol clubs scheduled to be at home on the previous Tuesday evening (today’s match is of course the result of an agreed postponement between us and Rotherham) and then both having to travel up north last Saturday? Could nobody at the Football League have switched one of the two fixtures around? Just a thought!

Enjoy the game and hopefully another good performance will result three long-awaited points for the boys in blue!

Jim Chappell.

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