3-1 down, 4-3 up!

May 3, 2022 | News

Last Saturday’s game at Rochdale will live long in the memory, I’m sure; to be both 2-0 and 3-1 down and then to come back to win 4-3, thanks in no small part to an Aaron Collins hat trick, made for an amazing afternoon.

Games like that don’t come around too often, though Rovers were involved in a similar game some 23 years ago this month when they were 4-3 winners at Moss Rose, home of Macclesfield Town.

Admittedly, there was nothing riding on the result on that occasion; it was the final day of the 1998/99 campaign and Macclesfield had already been relegated to the Third Division while Rovers were ensconced in mid table (they finished in 13th place).

The score, though, followed the same pattern as last week and one Rovers player scored a hat trick though there are no prizes for guessing it was Jamie Cureton who registered his third treble of the season.


(photos of Jamie and his specially constructed cabinet for his match balls courtesy of Alan Marshall)

Throw a red card into the mix as well and you can see why comparisons might be drawn.

Rovers made a terrible start to that game, as John Askey’s downward header at the far post, from Kieran Durkan’s free kick, beat goalkeeper Ray Johnston. The keeper was making his league debut, becoming the 640th player to represent Rovers in league football. It turned out to be his only senior appearance for the club.

The home side doubled their lead on 20 minutes when Graeme Tomlinson sent Johnston the wrong way with his penalty, awarded after he had been brought down by Andy Tillson.

Cureton scored the first of his goals with 40 minutes on the clock after he intercepted an Efe Sodje backpass, chested the ball down and fired a shot past Ryan Price.

Macclesfield went two goals ahead again three minutes into the second half when Simon Davies took advantage of a slip by Tillson and rifled a 20 yard shot past Johnston.

Frankie Bennett reduced the arrears when he scored his first goal in almost a year when he nodded in Steve Foster’s header across goal.

Cureton was on hand to convert a 57th minute penalty, awarded after Frankie Bennett was fouled by Sodje. It was the striker’s third successful spot kick in four games and made the score 3-3.

Macclesfield were reduced to ten men in the 76th minute when Sodje collected his second yellow card of the afternoon, for another challenge on Bennett, and was sent off.

With five minutes of the game remaining, Cureton completed his hat trick when he touched Marcus Andreasson’s downward header past Price.

The game was watched by a crowd of 3,186 and whilst it was good to win after twice trailing by two goals, the games was nowhere near as dramatic as last Saturday’s finale at Rochdale.

Rovers: Ray Johnston, Robbie Pethick (Marcus Andreasson), Trevor Challis, Steve Foster, Andy Thomson, Andy Tillson, Stephane Leoni (Michael Meaker), David Pritchard, Frankie Bennett (Nathan Ellington), Jamie Cureton, Rob Trees.

The end of the season saw Fulham go up as champions, Walsall promoted as runners up and Manchester City promoted via the play offs (Rovers drew both league games against them that season!).

Just a reminder that last weekend two Luke Charman goals gave the hosts a half time lead. Sam Finley pulled a goal back for Rovers after 54 minutes, but Corey O’Keeffe restored Rochdale’s two goal advantage on the hour mark.

Aaron Collins scored for Rovers with 66 minutes gone, and equalised for Joe Barton’s side in the 90th minute before completing his hat trick deep into stoppage time to give Rovers all three points.


As there was in 1999, we also saw a red card, issued on this occasion to Rovers skipper Paul Coutts. There the similarities end, as 2,005 Gasheads celebrated a famous win that kept promotion hopes alive.

(all three photos of Aaron, his match-ball and the celebrating Gasheads courtesy of Keith Brookman)

Rovers: James Belshaw, Luca Hoole (Sam Nicholson), Connor Taylor (Ryan Loft), James Connolly, Josh Grant (Luke Thomas), Harry Anderson, Paul Coutts, Sam Finley, Anthony Evans, Elliot Anderson, Aaron Collins.

Substitutes: Nick Anderton, Glenn Whelan, Alex Rodman, Anssi Jaakkola

Keith Brookman