Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bristol Rovers 3-2 Chesterfield (League Two)

Rovers arrested their poor run of recent form with a morale-boosting 3-2 win over Chesterfield at the Mem this afternoon. For the second consecutive match there were 5 goals but this time it was Rovers' turn to be the victors after Southend defeated us in midweek.

Man of the Match performance from Eaves - 2 assists and a goal
The pitch was bathed in glorious winter sunshine as the players emerged from the tunnel and it appeared to be perfect conditions for a game of football. The pitch was slick after overnight rain whilst it wasn't too chilly despite the fact we're now in to November. There were a couple of changes from Tuesday night's starting line-up as Wayne Brown and Joe Anyinsah were drafted in in place of Seanan Clucas and Lee Brown, so a change in formation was also made. Tom Eaves was not alone up front as he was partnered by Anyinsah for the majority of the game - something Mark McGhee felt was necessary following our performance 4 days earlier.

There was the traditional minute's silence before kick-off on this Remembrance weekend, which was impeccably observed by both sets of supporters. You could hear a pin drop around the Mem as everybody took the opportunity to pay their respects to our fallen soldiers around the world. RIP.

It was a lethargic opening to the game but it didn't take too long for things to heat up. Neil Etheridge gathered the ball in the Rovers box before firing a pinpoint low drop-kick towards Eaves. The striker took the ball in his stride and charged at his full-back, before firing in a dangerous low cross that Spireites midfielder Sam Togwell could only nudge in to his own goal. 1-0 and it was the perfect start. What was important at this point was to not let what happened on Tuesday happen again and concede quickly. We didn't immediately but the visitors did get an equaliser in somewhat bizarre fashion after 20 minutes. Former Arsenal midfielder Mark Randall sent in a free kick that Etheridge should have claimed comfortably, and whilst he did catch the ball, he back-pedalled over the line and gifted Chesterfield an unnecessary goal. Still, there was no ill-feeling made known by Gasheads or his team mates as he has been superb since signing on loan in September and this was his first mistake. He made a fine save when Chesterfield broke through one-on-one down the right before tipping over a caressed effort following a corner. In truth, Rovers didn't really threaten Richard O'Donnell in the visiting goal but did come close to prodding home a second when Derek Riordan was inches away from connecting with a Fabian Broghammer cross to the far post. That was it really and half-time came around at the perfect time for both sides to regroup.

The second half was more explosive and within quarter of an hour Rovers restored their lead, but that was after Chesterfield had struck the crossbar. Togwell struck from distance and his shot took a deflection which saw the ball loop over Etheridge and on top of the goal-frame. Still, it didn't matter, as it was 2-1 to Rovers moments later. Eaves did tremendously in the corner to find space to cross and Anyinsah was on hand to slide home in front of his defender at the near post. Surely we were in the ascendancy now? Well, not quite. The goal came against the run of play and the Spireites looked threatening going forward. They made a double substitution and introduced poacher Jack Lester and new recruit Brennan Dickenson to the fray in a bid to get back in it - which they did soon after. Dickenson fired a stunning strike in to the top corner from inside the penalty box to make it 2-2. Judging by the celebrations of the Chesterfield bench you'd think they'd won the league and pleasingly, they cheered too soon.

They had a lot of play but Rovers did harbour attacking intent to try and win the game and 10 minutes from time got the goal they were looking for. Eaves saw a long-range strike take a deflection and wrong foot O'Donnell, finding the bottom corner of the net as a result. The Mem erupted again and truly quietened the visiting coaching staff and supporters, this time once and for all. They put a lot of pressure on our defence in their bid to force a late equaliser (for the third time in the game) but Rovers stood firm courtesy of great blocks from Jim Paterson, Tom Parkes and Garry Kenneth. The final whistle sounded after 4 minutes stoppage time meaning we finally got back to winning ways and that showed with the reaction on the pitch. Gasheads, players and the management team were smiling in unison and showed their appreciation for one another with rapturous applause.

It's a great victory and sends us in to a difficult away game with Rochdale next weekend in perfect fashion. With continued work on our defending and I'm sure that we can stop the amount of goals we're conceding and begin winning games week in week out. That's the hope, fingers crossed we now actually see that happen. Well done today guys, great result and that's all that mattered.

Up the Gas!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your thoughts...