March 17, 2019
This column is once again written before Rovers last match, that being Tuesday’s long trip to Gillingham where to put it mildly we have not enjoyed much success in recent seasons! However I write more than a little bouyed-up on the back of consecutive League wins against quite ‘in-form’ teams. Our last League game here produced a ‘where did that come from’ performance against play-off chasing Blackpool who were simply blown away by Rovers. In my notes for that game I asked the real Rovers to step up at home and they certainly did that with four unreplied goals to complete a most unlikely 7-0 season aggregate drubbing of the ‘Tangerines’. Johnson Clarke-Harris was the undoubted ‘hat-trick hero’ of that win but every player did well with Tom Nichols outstanding in his support of the big man.
Unfortunately the lads could not repeat their exertions of that win in the following Tuesday’s Chekatrade Trophy semi-final here against the ‘moneybags’ of Sunderland who repeated their earlier rather comfortable 2-0 League 1 success to claim a place in the final at Wembley. The ‘authorities’ must be rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of a ‘Black Cats’ versus ‘Pompey’ Final that must surely produce the biggest possible attendance from this year’s list of competing teams!
If that rather lack-lustre, possibly tired(?), performance against the Wearsiders was a worry for last Saturday’s long trip up to Scunthorpe the travelling ‘Gas’ need not have worried because the team’s fantastic form on the road under ‘GC’ continued and yet another away win resulted from yet another Clarke-Harris goal. What a difference he has made up front and I hope that form continued last Tuesday at Priestfield where an evening sat out in the wind and rain was being promised as I write in sunshine!
As for me personally I am more than happy to forego another Sunday in west London if Rovers can avoid the drop and start to rebuild for next season. Talking of that comes another very hard game this afternoon against promotion-chasing Charlton Athletic and it seems that every one of our remaining opponents have much to play for in these final weeks of the campaign. The atmosphere here was fantastic at the start of the Sunderland game as it has been most of the season and that must be repeated today in order to give the lads all the support they need to overcome another big club. So, get behind those boys in blue and let’s grab another three vital points come 5pm. Up the Pirates!