Gas Past: Notts County 1990 and a look back at Hartlepool
Rovers travel to Meadow Lane, home of Notts County on Saturday in what promises to be a great game of football, there have been lots of goals scored at both ends in games at Meadow Lane this season and given us putting four past a lacklustre Hartlepool side in midweek, I think we could be in for more of the same.
One of my Uncles, Mark, made the same journey that he and myself will be making, in 1990. It was the second of April and the game, a Leyland DAF Trophy match, finished 0-0, booking Rovers’ first every Wembley trip after a home victory in the first leg. Mark has a rather amusing story. At the time he was a steward for the Rovers home games at Twerton Park, whilst we were playing in Bath. On the day he drove up to Nottingham with his fluorescent yellow stewards coat to hand. Arriving at around the same time as the team coach Mark subsequently donned the yellow and assisted the players off the team coach before approaching a home steward and informing him that he had been sent by Rovers to monitor the away fans. From here he was shown into the stadium and to the away end where he joined the away support, free of charge! I doubt he would get away with a stunt like that nowadays, and certainly won’t be attempting it on Saturday!
As for the rest of that season, I’m sure many Gasheads recall what was achieved by the side that season. Despite losing on their first ever Wembley visit 2-1 to Tranmere Rovers, the gas defeated Bristol City 3-0 at Twerton on the penultimate weekend of the season before winning at Blackpool to beat City to the title and win promotion to Division Two.
Rovers’ win in the week at home to Hartlepool was thoroughly enjoyable, and will hopefully give us a lift. Compared to recent performances we were class on Tuesday and, whilst I am critical of Liam Lawrence and Lee Brown, I was impressed with their performances. Their link-up play was reminiscent of that of Brown and Monkhouse last season and I do feel that Rovers have been missing the experience and goals that Monkhouse added to the team. If we’re being honest with ourselves Hartlepool were poor, but sometimes you need an opponent like that to give you some confidence. Matty Taylor, he’s a confidence player. When he scored his first you could see his tail go up and he looked a real menace, it was his first goal since January at Oxford and set him on his way to a perfect hat-trick. He also became the first player to score two hat-tricks in a season for Roves since Rickie Lambert in 2008/09.It was also pleasing to see Gaffney on the score sheet again, and I’m sure confidence ahead of Notts County will be sky high.
Saturdays’ opponents won’t make it easy for us but we will ideally take three points away from Meadow Lane. Their form of late has been far from spectacular, winning just one and losing four of their last six games. In this spell they have drawn to Dagenham and lost to York, the bottom two clubs. If we are to finish in the Play-Offs this is a game we need to win. Our most recent meeting with Notts County saw us draw 0-0 at the Mem earlier on in the season, whilst our most recent trip to Nottingham saw us beat them 1-0 in 2011. There’s set to be yet another big contingent of Gasheads, who were incredible as ever on Tuesday, especially after the incident with the goalkeeper! What on Earth was he thinking? Ninety minutes of noise is required to help the team to secure another three points, I’ll see you all up there. UTG!