Monday, November 19, 2012

Rochdale 2-1 Bristol Rovers (League Two)

Clarkson taking the Rovers penalty to make it 1-0
We lost, yet again, to Rochdale on Saturday afternoon, despite taking a 1-0 lead after around 15 minutes of the game. David Clarkson converted a penalty after Wayne Brown was fouled in the area to cap a bright start by Rovers but as soon as Dale equalised through Andrew Tutte we lost all composure and quality. As a result it seemed inevitable that the home side would find a winner at some point and they did in the second half when Bobby Grant's deflected shot flew over Neil Etheridge and in to the top corner of the net. Rovers launched long balls forward to find an opportunity to equalise, bypassing the midfield as a result, and, as you'd expect, we had no joy. You'd think having put our hosts under pressure early in the first half by passing the ball forward that we'd continue to do the same thing but in desperation we resorted to the long ball... again. This coincided with the withdrawal of goalscorer Clarkson through injury and he looks a doubt for tomorrow's game against Port Vale. The situation got worse for Rovers as both Garry Kenneth and Eliot Richards were dismissed, meaning they also miss out on a trip to Vale Park.

As a Gashead at the game it was just typical Rovers from start to finish. They get your hopes up by playing quite well and going in front but their general incapabilities defensively meant that you always felt Rochdale would score. They did. More than us. The one positive I could take from the game was the long-awaited return of Danny Woodards to the starting line-up. He occupied a central midfield spot (another player played out of position by Mark McGhee) and looked lively until he was substituted after an hour due to a lack of fitness. Boy will we be needing him for the rest of the season. Quite literally that was the only positive Rovers fans could take from the game as they headed on the long trip back down to Bristol.

Being a Bristol Rovers fan away from home is horrible. We always lose, we always play badly and therefore we always go home disappointed. But once you've got the away day bug, there's no getting rid of it. I love the whole experience of going on an away day to follow your team; getting up ridiculously early, stocking up on food and drink, having a laugh with your mates on the journey, going in to a local pub pre-match etc... but I detest the feeling of despair at full-time and on the trip home. I go in to every away game now knowing that, in reality, we'll lose the game - that way I can't get disappointed. It's a sad state of affairs but that's what happens when you lose every game for 4/5 years. I come home after a game and know I've wasted time, effort and in excess of £35 quid a time on watching bad football that only serves to disappoint me. Why do I continue to do it?!

I was planning on going to Port Vale tomorrow evening but I've decided against it now. I can't bear it after watching us lose on Saturday. My confidence is already at a low ebb, I don't need it destroyed completely by the team sitting 2nd in the division. Knowing my luck we'll win the game and I'll wish I'd gone but I can't argue with the fact I'll be saving a fair bit of money that I can put to good use elsewhere. The Gasheads who will travel up, I salute you. If I had £30 quid more I'd join you but I can't justify wasting money at the moment. Here, more than ever, I hope we can find a shock result from somewhere and bring all 3 points home but, taking everything in to account, I doubt it.

Rather dejectedly... Up the Gas.

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