Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Rovers Lose To Blades

Apologies for the massive delay in publishing this review of our FA Cup game against Sheffield United last Saturday. I've had to meet programme article deadlines and that's consumed a lot of my time over recent evenings!

Seanan Clucas returned to action
Still, it has given me chance to reflect upon what I feel was a good performance. People were understandably disappointed we lost the game after our first half domination but we need to remember that the Blades are unbeaten in the division above for a reason. To score past their defence who have been impressive all season is quite an achievement for a club in the league below. There are plenty of positives to take from the game and whilst we are now out of the cup, at least there are things for us to work on and improve.

David Clarkson was in superb form in the first half and scored a great goal just 5 minutes in after running past United players on the edge of the penalty box. He dictated play and was a constant thorn in their side - they couldn't handle him initially. Seanan Clucas performed admirably by his side after a recall from Mark McGhee, and he added a bit of tenacity that has been lacking from our midfield at times this year. They were supported by a back 5 of Lee Brown, Jim Paterson, Garry Kenneth, Matt Lund and Michael Smith and joined by Derek Riordan, Fabian Broghammer and Tom Eaves in offensive play. They were all solid but Lund and Smith in particular looked impressive against Shaun Miller and co. down the United left. Sam Walker returned to the starting line-up for the first time since Neil Etheridge joined us in September and played well, handling comfortably everything thrown his way in the first period (which, admittedly, wasn't very much).

There was nothing he could do to prevent their equaliser in the second half though. Nick Blackman scored with an outrageously powerful effort that found the top corner from 18 yards out and we seemed unable to prevent the Blades from continuing to push forward. They got their noses in front 10 minutes later when Chris Porter capitalised on what seemed to be a foul on Garry Kenneth following a short corner and he poked home from close range. From that point on we got ourselves back in to the game but couldn't quite test goalkeeper George Long other than from long range efforts. Lund hit a free-kick down his throat from 25 yards whilst Riordan attempted an ambitious left footed volley but it didn't come off. Alas, we couldn't force an equaliser and we were eliminated from the FA Cup at the first attempt.

We are now out of every cup competition this season but, as the cliche goes, we can now focus all our attention on the league. It's true though, we can. I sense that with performances like that, we aren't far away from giving someone a thrashing and beginning a good run of form. Hopefully that can begin tonight against Southend United at the Mem. Play anything like we did in the first half on Saturday and we'll win the game. Simple as that. But, play like we did in Accrington or at Wimbledon and we'll lose it. Consistency is key and there's no better time to develop some than right here, right now.

Up the Gas!

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