Good Ref, Bad Ref: Northampton Away

The game may have finished a few hours ago but I’m still getting my breath back after a thrilling second half at Sixfields as Rovers became the first team to beat Northampton on their own patch since December. Many teams are told after scoring to act like it’s 0-0, I think Darrell needs to send his team out with the mindset that we’re 1-0 down as that’s when we seem to play the best football.


img_0375As has been standard lately, we went behind after nine minutes to Alex Revells perfectly executed lob of Kell Roos. The chance came about after Lockyer had inexplicably let a long ball bounce and he knew it. The setback woke us up a little, we had more of the ball and forced a few chances as shots from Clarke and Gaffney barely troubled Smith.


Whatever D.C. said at half time certainly had an impact, we put together our best spell of the match and penned Northampton into their own half. Harrison was so unlucky not to score with his header but Gaffney leveled it up on the hour after a skillful run into the box when his shot was deflected past Smith. It’s Gaffneys first goal since April and the performances he’s turned in have been good lately so hopefully his confidence will now be sky high and he can kick on.

A trademark goal from Hartley gave us the lead just minutes later, Smith got his hands on the ball but the power from Hartley carried it into the back of the net. It was also the 1000th EFL goal of the season. We had a couple of chances to further extend the lead but in typical Rovers fashion we didn’t capitalize and Chris Lines gifted the ball away in midfield leading to Revells’ equalizer and second of the game. It was a real kick in the teeth and with 15 minutes still to be played I made Northampton favorites to go on and win it, I also felt that Colkett should have taken a booking when our hosts broke following Lines’ misplaced pass.

Regardless of that we had work to do and we got on with it well, Rory Gaffney turned superbly on the edge of the box and forced an excellent save from Smith whilst Bodin was unable to find the target twice.


With two minutes to go Darrell Clarke produced an absolute masterstroke, we should have had a corner but the officials didn’t see it that way and D.C. had a pop at the fourth official. The referee was on his way to caution Darrell when he pulled his calf and had to be substituted, and good riddance to him, he was easily influenced by the crowd and gave a lot of decisions in favour of the home team. Not to mention the stonewall penalty!


On came the new referee and within 30 seconds he brandished a second yellow to Xakuani for his trip on Matty Taylor and I think most Gasheads at this point will have known that we were going to win. And we did. Smith produced another top save from the free kick but hard work from Taylor after the resulting corner ended up with Colkett drilling through Smiths’ legs three minutes into injury time to lift the roof off the away end and secure our third win in four. It was thoroughly deserved on the second half performance alone. We looked a lot better once we got wingers on the pitch and Moore played very well when he was introduced. Roberts at right back looked good all round, certainly not as fast as Leadbitter but arguably better at the back and it was a very pleasing debut. Harrison and Sinclair were our best players in the first half although Sinclair was substituted relatively early in order to give us more attacking prowess. Most impressive for me was Colkett though and what a player we have on our hands, remember the name because the boy is going places. He put in a cultured performance and really came into his own on the ball in the final third.


On Tuesday we play Yeovil Town at home in the controversial competition that is the Checkatrade Trophy. In our first game in the competition we lost 3-2 to Reading U23’s but were unlucky in the end. It was also the first time ever during our time in Horfield that we recorded a loss for a competitive first team fixture with a crowd of around 1400 due to the boycott. The boycott looks to have been successful as the EFL have now ruled out the introduction of Premier League B teams into the Football League which is a victory for the fans over the men in suits at the top who if we’re honest care about nothing other than lining their pockets. Hopefully as a result of this we might see a few people ‘break the boycott’ in order to support the team but whatever people decide to do, their decision must be respected. Personally I’ll be there to support, I think we’ll see a strong side fielded as we don’t have a game this weekend.

See you Tuesday, UTG!


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