Bonus Point Penalty: Yeovil Town Home

What a fantastic way to keep our 2017 Checkatrade Trophy dream alive with the massive bonus point penalty shootout win over Yeovil Town. It was absolute limbs on the Thatchers End as Montano’s penalty kissed the back of the net and I have to say it was up there with every promotion I’ve ever witnessed!

 

In all seriousness we all know what’s happened over the summer with this cup is an absolute joke. Three games a season will not help young players develop and once again it seems as though the football league is cleaning up the premier leagues mess. Charlie Adam scored tonight for Stoke, for me that underlines how well this competition iimg_0425s developing our youth. And the EFL are hypocrites, their proposals in the ‘Whole Game Solution’ involve making the leagues smaller to reduce fixture congestion but they introduce a format to a competition which includes three times the amount of fixtures it did last season. Nice one! Even more criminal that they want to develop youth yet won’t let the league clubs in the competition that work so hard to do exactly that, play their youth teams. If it’s not broken don’t fix it and in my opinion the whole idea begs the question, solution to what? Why are they proposing fundamental changes when there’s nothing fundamentally wrong?

They’re spinsters too, the head of the EFL was yesterday interviewed defending the new format because attendances are up. Attendances are on average down, but the head claimed that they were up in total, which is true but only because of the increased number of teams competing.

Well done to everyone who took part in the boycott, everyone’s choice must be respected and there is no right thing to do. Personally I didn’t want to see my team make a loss on a fixture through no fault of their own but in general I’m also an absolute mug and in spite of being completely opposed to the opposition I coughed up the fee.

To the actual football, which was 90 minutes of my life I’ll never get back! Darrell Clarke named a side with six changes from the one we saw at Sixfields on Saturday. It was a relatively strong side regardless, Luke James starting up front with Gaffney, Sinclair and Boateng in the middle, Moore, Montano, Brown, Hartley, Clarke, Leadbitter and Roos. We bossed the game which was a little drab in spells and my main criticism was that we didn’t put the ball in the back of the net for the number of chances we created.

Montano should have done better with an early ball from the byline but could only find Maddison and Luke James and Moore both produced good balls into the box that nobody anticitpated. Yeovil had a goal disallowed after half an hour as Roos was deemed to have been fouled by Mugabi before both Clarke and Hartley’s efforts were blocked by a resilient Yeovil defence and that was the first half. We were more dominant in the second half, early efforts from Clarke and Montano were off target and saved respectively before Lee Brown hit a free kick just over Maddison’s cross bar. Montano’s shot was dropped by Maddison and might have crept over the line but a goal wasn’t given by the officials. Kevin Dawson was sent off after talking back to the referee regarding a booking and we were undoubtedly favourites to win at this stage.

Darrell replaced Gaffney with Taylor and Brown with Colkett in an attempt to win the game and we really began to press Yeovil, James’ attempt was blocked by Mugabi and Bodin curled a shot just wide and penalties were confirmed as Maddison managed to dig out a late Taylor effort in injury time. Another brawl occurred after the full-time whistle and resulted in Colkett receiving a booking but by this point I was too nervous at the prospect of a penalty shootout. And to think I thought I was bad at Wembley! My ticker simply couldn’t cope! The penalties were taken in front of the Thatchers end and it later came out that there was no coin toss to decide which end they were taken, they couldn’t be done in front of the South Stand due to ‘safety reasons’ which left Darren Way feeling bemused. It seems that Harrisons demolition job from the Port Vale game was better than it looked at the time!

Luke James, Bodin, Taylor, Colkett and Montano all coped with the immense pressure of a penalty in front of the half empty Thatchers end to score and in doing so give us a bonus point, we’ve now got more of these than Bristol Rugby Club have all season as someone on social media pointed out! Interestingly as well we have now scored our last 19 penalties including the shootout at Wembley, the last time we missed one was on Valentines day 2015 as Matty Taylor hit the post at Grimsby.

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The closed Dribuild stand for Rovers Checkatrade Trophy match with Yeovil

In all a pleasing performance, many more positives than negatives and best of all for me was the clean sheet. Boateng put in a good shift and Gaffney worked very hard up front, we’ve got a lot of competition for places and none of the team picked did their chances of more minutes any harm. I know it was against Yeovil in a worthless competition but it will at least give us confidence that we can replicate in our coming league games. The bonus point win now means that we will progress in the competition should we beat Portsmouth and Reading beat Yeovil, not that anyone cares right? Roll on the Wembley final and see you at our next game against Gillingham, UTG!

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