Spot on at Spotland

It’s been another crazy few days at Bristol’s oldest professional club but that’s something we’re all becoming well accustomed to, and I couldn’t have been more proud of them come full time on Saturday evening.

 

Plenty has already been said about the Matty Taylor move over the river, so I’ll keep it short, and not so sweet! Darrell Clarke found him, the fans stuck by him and the club made him, and he treated the club with nothing but contempt on deadline day in joining our rivals. There was a lot of bitterness, rightly so because I believe you can’t defend his actions, I think many Gasheads will acknowledge that Taylor is a very good goalscorer, and probably would have wished him good luck had he chosen to go anywhere else to better his career. Anywhere but BS3!

I must give absolute credit to Darrell Clarke at this stage, for all the panic and uproar that Tuesday had brought about the gaffer was quick to steady the ship with his interview on Thursday. It was everything we love about D.C, brutally honest, passionate and yet calming, ten minutes of brilliance. It made me want to do nothing but support the team and as far as I’m aware it had a similar effect on most people. Clarke deserves a lot of credit for how he handles transfers, all behind closed doors and it’s rare that any rumours break of players we’re going to sign, which can be fru
strating at times when we want a signing but will agree that it benefits the club. While he is in charge the club is in safe hands.

More promising still was news that the club has acquired a huge amount of land in Almondsbury where the new training ground is to be built. We’ve heard it a lot over the last year since the takeover that sustainability is important and it is. The training ground will allow us to continue to develop our own players, and hopefully more will rise through the ranks, three examples can be seen in the current first team in Ollie Clarke, Lines and Lockyer and Ryan Broom made his debut recently at Walsall. Steve Hamer has said that he will be looking at Fleetwood’s training facility, they have spent £8 million and have a state of the art facility, more than ample for a league one club.

 

I’d be lying if I said Saturdays game at Rochdale was anywhere near as exciting as news of the training ground but it was a very good away performance and one of the better points we’ll earn this season. Rochdale are in the hunt for the playoffs and will be knocking on the door at the end of the season, like us they’re strong at home but we more than matched them on the day, if anyone deserved to win the match it was us although neither team created enough clear cut chances to win. Gaffney and Brown had our best chances in the second half and Joe Lumley only had one save to make all afternoon.

 

In the most recent installments of our fruitless run away from home we’ve looked clueless, compared to home games where we start with a real intensity,  but at Spotland we managed the game well. Lumley was brilliant again, you can hear him talking to the defence from the back of the stand and every time the ball comes into the box I’m confident that he will claim it. Sweeney and Lockyer were solid as ever, Sweeney was very good aerially and Lockyer read the game exceptionally well at times. Partington looked very good on his full debut, other than ten minutes of shakiness either side of half-time  he was committed and looked alright going forwards.

Ollie Clarke was man of the match again in my opinion, he ran himself into the ground , as did Luke James, Ellis and Sinclair. The only person who had something of an off day was Bodin, he didn’t really get a look in but that’s the life of a winger, you’re bound to blow hot and cold.
Finally the fans were incredible, I’ve not been to an away game where we’ve made non-stop noise to that extent for a long time. It fizzled out a little in the second half but fair play to each and every Gashead in attendance, a class effort. If anything I think the Taylor saga has made us stronger as a club, we really felt like a unit at the weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing how far we can now go this season. It had been a tough week but we stuck at it, we got right behind the players who turned in a dogged performance, stopping the rot of six straight away defeats.
February will be by far our toughest month of the season, but I’m confident that we can beat anybody at home and hope we can prove that point against a very good Bradford City side on Saturday. It remains an exciting time to be a Rovers fan, so here’s to the final sixteen games. UTG!

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