Rovers finally ended their five game losing streak to defeat a poor Hereford United at Edgar Street last night. I stood in the cold terrace to the side of the goal to witness a right footed Lee Brown effort find the back of the net and a Scott McGleish header win it for us. Sheer delight at the final whistle, despite our lack of clear cut chances, but who cares? The 3 points are massive and were well needed.
Many Gasheads entered the stadium slightly bewildered and angered by the farcical situation on the turnstiles, where Rovers fans who arrived closest to kick-off were forced to buy seating tickets at extra cost to terracing, even if they had no intention of sitting down. The stewards cited a 'lack of space' on the terrace as to why no more fans could be allowed in, but it was an absolutely ludicrous reason as there was plenty of space at the back of the terrace. I feel for Hereford United as if they believe fleecing travelling supporters by making them pay more money for a ticket (needlessly), then I'm thinking they're in a pretty bad place financially.
In terms of what happened on the pitch there wasn't all that much to cheer about during the course of the match, aside from the 3 goals. The main thing for me is that we won the game though and fortunately we did. We went in front after just 9 minutes when Lee Brown cut on to his weaker right foot and hit a low drive towards the bottom right hand corner of the Hereford goal. Keeper Adam Bartlett got down but couldn't prevent the ball from finding the net - much to his frustration - and Rovers were 1 up. The rest of the first half was pretty tame and a neutral could easily tell the game featured two struggling League Two sides. What we didn't need to happen was for Hereford to get behind our defence and get an early equaliser, it was imperative that didn't happen as we all know what happens when our defenders concede one goal - their heads drop and the floodgates open.
What happened a few minutes in to the second 45? You guessed it, Hereford got themselves back on level terms when a long ball forward caught our defenders out and allowed the experienced Bulls captain Delroy Facey to prod home past Michael Poke. The pendulum swung in the home side's favour from this point and there were some critical blocks and clearances being made by the Rovers back-line at this point. Fortunately though, Rovers were handed a lifeline to encourage them in to doing some attacking of their own. Benoit Dalibard was red carded for a very high foot to the face of Rovers Welshman Eliot Richards. It seemed a pretty harsh punishment and one the referee didn't look like he was going to give out at first. After blowing his whistle to signal for the foul, he walked over slowly to the incident before brandishing the red card, much to the delight of the Rovers fans. We had an opportunity to attack Hereford now and we had to get a winning goal as the 3 points were vital.
After probing their defence Rovers finally found the breakthrough they carved, courtesy of Eliot Richards and substitute Scott McGleish. The former made his way down the left hand side before delivering a high ball in to the penalty area. Bartlett back-pedalled desperately to reach the looping ball but he couldn't get to it and the wily McGleish was on hand to nod home from a few yards out. He ran over to the Rovers fans after putting his shirt on back to front and left nobody in any doubt as to who had just scored potentially one of the most important goals in Rovers season.
It was a nervy end for myself and the other Gasheads in the stadium, not because Hereford were putting us under much pressure, but because we were watching Bristol Rovers - things never go to plan. But as the referee sounded the final whistle it was met with roars of delight from Bristolians and disappointment from the locals... just how I like it to be.
A massive 3 points. Credit where credit's due, Shaun North has done well to lead us to victory in the circumstances. He's not the man for the permanent job (not that anybody considered him to be anyway) and it's important that a new man is announced imminently, it cannot be stressed emphatically enough how critical it is. We need to give whoever comes in the chance to strengthen the squad during this month, failure to let them do so would be suicide in my opinion. Come on Higgs and co, pull your fingers out and appoint the right man soon. It would give everybody a massive lift going in to the big game with Crawley on Saturday.