A good point against a strong Bradford side

The biggest shock yesterday was not the stopping of the match due to a drone flying overhead but the fact that DC kept a totally unchanged team and squad from Tuesday night!! There were no signs of any tinkering which was a bit surprising given the effects of the substitutions on Tuesday night and also the fact that many;me included; would have thought that he would go with three at the back for a tough away game. Personally I would have been finding a way to start Lines and Colkett but to be honest I was not too disappointed with the selection as I have been crying out to keep the 4-4-2 both home and away and the selection yesterday was a big step towards that.

Sunshine welcomed us to the stadium with a healthy crowd and about 600 from Bristol and I am sure nobody would have been disappointed with the entertainment thrown up. it was very much cat and mouse first half with Rovers defending very well and breaking with pace without really looking like scoring but still managing to conjure up the best chance which Taylor somehow missed. By the end of the first half it was 0-0 and the game was pretty close and we may have even shaded it. The second half was to be a different affair with Bradford coming out all guns blazing and playing good attacking football. Thankfully our defence which has been shakey to say the least this season held firm as a unit and it looked for a long time that we would hold out despite the pressure building. A drone flying overhead meant the players going off for a 5 minute period and I am sure this must have been a first in football and may even end up as a question on Question of Sport” in years to come and I can say that I was there.
When the game restarted it wasn’t long for the breakthrough to come and the only surprise with all the good football played was that the goal came from a lucky deflection of a cross that fell on a plate for the impressive left back to head Bradford in front. Signal the typical reaction to a goal from DC with James,Lines and Colkett all coming on for Moore, Bodin and Boateng and suddenly we had a period of supremacy and eventually following a cut back from Lee Brown , Colkett fired a great shot inside the near post and only a good tip over from the Bradford keeper prevented what would have been an undeserved winner. There was still time for an unbelievable Roos save to claw out what looked a definite last second winner and bring another point back to Bristol.

Roos 9 MOM Magnificent all round display. Commanded his area with his presence and confidence and I lost count of the number of crosses that he either handled impeccably or punched away from danger whilst under severe pressure. I would have given a 10 but for one slip in the second half where a shot spilled from his grasp but the brilliance of his last minute save put that moment into insignificance.

Leadbitter 7.5 Back to his very best. Needed to hold his own as Bradford pushed the left back up to great affect but the thing about Danny is that when it looks like he is getting beaten to the ball he has that bit of extra pace to call upon to get to the ball first and did this on a number of occasions yesterday.

Brown 8 Was obviously given a definite marking job by DC against a very tricky winger and he came out of it with flying colours. For me Browner is a great full back but a poor wing back and yesterday showed me that not many wingers will get past him when he is primarily defending and just to complete a great defensive performance he gets upfield to pull back the ball brilliantly for the Colkett equaliser.

Lockyer 8 Had a very tough game against strong and lively opponents but more than held his own. Struggled with his distribution at times but held firm and got in some good interceptions and blocks.
I think he has struggled so far this season to meet the high standards he reached last season but yesterday he was a vital part of a defence that played very well against strong opponents and taken in context his performance as a whole was very good.

Hartley 8 Apart from one slack moment in the second half where he lost possession and let his opponent go clean through Peter was immense. Strong in the tackle and in the air, he battled for everything and was a colossus at the heart of the defence. Bodin 6 Floated in and out of the game as he does and nearly created a goal in the first half with a great strike that the keeper parried and surely Matty taylor should have netted the rebound. Sometimes he flatters to deceive and sometimes he is brilliant but when he plays he can’t be left unmarked for even a second because he is capable of a match winning moment. If he could get more consistency to his game then we will certainly have a great player on our hands but as yet he has not found the scintillating form of the later stages of last season.

Boateng 6 Kept battling but in all honesty he doesn’t really look match fit and I was surprised that he came out in the second half. He seems to lack pace but that is not surprising for his physique and I am sure that there is much better to come from him and I would not be surprised if he is a player who Darrell perseveres with to play himself into form similar to how he dealt with Matty Taylor in his early days and he was certainly worth persevering with.

Sinclair 7.5 Another good performance from Sincs. I’m not entirely convinced by the two m an midfield of Sinclair and Boateng but Stuart gave his all and his workrate and commitment was immense in a battle that went on throughout the game. Sinclair has proved in the last three games that he has the ability to play at this level but the problem as I see it is whether we can afford to play without giving Lines and Colkett a chance to establish themselves. We may have to sacrifice either of the wingers in order to be able to run at opponents.

Moore 6.5 Had his moments with some good direct running in the first half especially but faded in the second.
I would like to see Montano on the bench so as Moore can run himself out in the first half and Monty can come on as he tires.

Taylor 6 Tried hard but had a mixed game. He should have scored after Bodin’s shot was parried by the keeper but didn’t really get many chances to show what he can do.

Harrison 6.5 Worked very hard and competed very well in the air but otherwise he frustrates so much because I think he has so much more potential than what he shows. It is not effort he lacks because he is now putting everything into his performance but his decision making seems to be missing and to be honest he just does not look like scoring a goal and perhaps Tuesday will be the time to give Gaffney another go or maybe even start with Luke James up top.

Subs
James 6 Did ok with a couple of runs and I’m not sure if it was James or Hartley whose header produced a great save from the home keeper. I just don’t think he is a winger.

Lines 7 Did the same as Tuesday and started us moving forwards and actually getting a foothold in the game. Really feel if he had started yesterday we might have had more time in possession.

Colkett 7 Fantastic strike for the equaliser and really looks the part for his age. Surely DC must start him sometime in the very near future and I just can’t wait to see him as he looks a very talented player.

Ref 4 Not an awful referee but one who really spent too much of his time booking players when a short talking to would have succeeded as it was never a dirty game and certainly not a game that had so many bookings . I really felt that we would be lucky to end up with 11 players on the pitch and he must be the first referee ever to stop a game for a drone being in the air.

Bradford 8 A very good team who played a very full part in making this a very entertaining game. With their support and talent I can’t see many sides getting a lot there this season.

Crowd 9`Great atmosphere. Our six hundred made themselves heard and it was fantastic to watch a game in a 17000 crowd. It looks an extremely well organised club where football plays a big part of the community.

DC With this man in charge you know that whatever happens you are going to generally get a side that never gives up and is in the game right to the end. I really agree with his view that we could have had a few more points with a bit more luck this season and although 7 points sees us just in the relegation zone I have little doubt that DC will turn it around. Most of the performances have been good and some players are now starting to find their consistency.

So we move on to another difficult away game on Tuesday at Swindon and I hope upon hope that this time we will play them with a 4-4-2 formation and stop them playing from the back. Will we be unchanged again? I’m not sure as personally I would be looking to start both Lines and Colkett and really go for Swindon from the start but you just cannot predict DC’s selection. Perhaps it will be unchanged again,perhaps the tinkering is over but I very much doubt it. Swindon is definitely a winnable game and if we do then I will be quite satisfied with a 10 point haul and approaching a home game with Port Vale. Defeat of course would leave us well in the relegation area but it is very early days and in my mind DC has built a good squad that is more than capable of having a successful season. UTG

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