Back To It

It was fantastic to get back to watching Rovers in their first pre-season friendly on Friday, and I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to such an insignificant match of football in my life. It’s only been two months since the amazing scenes following our promotion to League One but since then we’ve been forced to watch an uninspiring UEFA European Championships and sit through the endless shower that is England. In through the Cossham Street turnstile to the smell of freshly cut grass and undercooked fast food, one of life’s greatest .

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An entertaining game was played out, the quality wasn’t brilliant and we looked shaky at the back, but 8 goals is never a bad thing, especially for a two pound entry fee! New winger Byron Moore linked up well with Christian Montano for our second goal but the best of the night was James Clarke’s first goal for the club, a diving header at the back post. Ryan Brooms’ performance was one of the best and I felt Chris Lines controlled the game from the middle of park when he got into it.

 

Saturday saw us travel to Salisbury and Darrell fielded a more senior squad at the home of his former employers. The football played at the Ray Macc was a lot crisper and sharper than the previous night, the pace of Harrison and Bodin up front saw us create plenty of chances from the off. We pressed well, kept the ball well on the whole and defended solidly on what little attacks Salisbury did throw at us. A Harrison penalty thundered down the middle and Ollie Clarke added a second not long afterwards before Bodin completed the scoring in the second half. Bodinand broom both played well as did Lockyer, however Puddy’s distribution was not great and trialist Lawal at left back looked weak on the ball and reckless in the challenge. All in all though, a pleasing weekend!

 

Last night we played our third game of pre-season at our former home, Twerton Park. It’s always great to visit Bath and their fans are very welcoming and friendly, the ground itself is clearly ageing, a little run down but it’s full of character and charm. I was lucky enough to speak to John Thompson at half time, author of Faithful and True and Ragbag to Riches, the first of which is well worth a read, and we agreed how amazing it must have been for those in attendance in May 1990 when we overtook City to all but clinch the division three title! It was my third visit to Twerton Park and I was able to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time by standing on the Pop end. My parents have told me how great that end used to be back when Rovers played there. I also met Steve Phillips, one of my childhood heroes. Myself and a friend had to walk around the ground twice to try and figure out if it was him, and ended up asking one of the programme sellers to confirm it was him. In all fairness there’s nothing more embarrassing then approaching a player and it turning out not to be who you think it is!

 

In contrast to the stadium, the game was absolutely dier! 90 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. The passing was loose, there wasn’t a lot of pace or energy in it and I honestly thought at times that Bath were going to win, not that it really matters in pre-season. A goal did come eventually courtesy of our new goal machine, James Clarke. Given his recent form, if Matty taylor is to leave I would stick Clarke up top! Moore looked promising on the wing and new signing Peter Hartley was certainly not afraid to talk to his team mates, although he also was guilty of giving away a lot of needless free kicks. Goslings’ passing was worrying and Puddys’ distribution was awful throughout the match, but that is the point of pre-season and if we bare in mind that before Saturday Puddy hadn’t played since Dagenham and Redbridge, before Christmas, we can hopefully put that down to lack of match fitness.

 

In all it’s fantastic to be back watching some proper football and reconnecting with our history last night, had Bath not helped us we could not have a club to support right now, or worse…..

There is still a lot to be done before the opening of the season at Glanford park, the first kits from Macron are to be released, the Matty Taylor saga must be ended and I feel that we’re maybe four or five players from a competitive squad.

Anyone going to Weston tonight I hope you enjoy the evening and have a safe journey, unfortunately I am unable to go, but I will see you all at Exeter on Saturday. UTG.

 

 

 

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