December 27, 2017
In all my near six decades of supporting the Rovers I have to say that this current side is the most inconsistent and frustrating team I have ever seen as they are like a pendulum that swings from brilliant to poor in consecutive games. The last time we gathered here for the visit of Southend we were treated to Rovers’ best display of the season to date with the ‘Shrimpers’ simply brushed aside by the ‘Pirates’ who scored three and could have had more whilst preventing the visitors from registering a single worthwhile shot at goal.
Adam Smith had a boring afternoon ‘between the sticks’ only being required to catch the occasional hopeful cross and take a few goal kicks so great was Rovers’ dominance. So, on the back of consecutive victories here if ever there was a good time to put right a miserable record at the Priestfield Stadium then it was last Saturday with the usual backing of over three hundred ‘Gasheads’ up in the freezing cold uncovered away stand. But it was to be a much busier afternoon for Smith and one which continued our terrible record in Kent along with the inconsistency that has plagued our season so far.
The inclusion of summer signing Joe Partington in front of the recalled internationals Ryan Sweeney and Captain Tom Lockyer in the centre of the defence seemed to have been the answer to the season-long problem in trying to keep ‘clean sheets’ but that all went out of the window at Gillingham. The ‘Gills’ had the worst home record in the division and looked a really poor team until Joe gifted them the first of two penalties after Rovers should have taken a first-minute lead. Smith made a great save from the ‘pen’ but the opposition striker was first to the rebound and another Rovers collapse was on its way. From then on the home side looked like champions as they swept unhindered particularly down our left side and we had another miserable drive home from the Medway!
So what can we expect this afternoon? The unchanged team simply fell away last Saturday so I guess there will be changes today and let’s hope that whoever is picked can get us back on track because I believe the squad is much better than what we witnessed last Saturday.
The games come thick and fast over the festive period and on Boxing Day we head up the M5 again to Walsall where Rovers have had mixed fortunes in recent seasons with big wins and defeats as befits our current inconsistencies. I’m sure that we’ll have another massive following and let’s hope the lads can do us justice on the road again – another day like we had at Northampton would be a wonderful Christmas present. The familiar M5/M6 trek up North beckons again a few days later as we take on Oldham Athletic in the third of the festive games.
New Year’s Day sees the visit of Portsmouth to the Mem and they are certain to bring a huge following of their own so there is plenty to look forward to, hopefully starting this afternoon. Get behind the boys in blue and let us win the ‘war of the Rovers’.
Up the Pirates!