Ten man Rovers lose unbeaten run

So last night was another Tuesday expedition up the M6 and a hellish four hour journey to play a team who; in all honesty; we should be beating if we have any hopes of sneaking in the Play offs. I was not surprised at the team selection although I found it hard to agree with dropping Gaffney after his Saturday performance and the inclusion of James Clarke over Leadbitter. There was really only one person to blame last night and that was the referee who from start to finish hardly gave one decision our way. The loss of Sinclair definitely was the turning point in what was quite an even first half where neither side really excelled although Bury created the two best chances but good final tackles stopped them taking the lead. Three free kicks on the edge of the box in the centre were all dubious decisions and it seemed at least on two of those occasions the Bury player took a dive or fell very easily. it seemed every time we broke the Bury players would commit a foul and generally get away with it. The second half was pretty even and if anything the home keeper had more saves to make than Lumley but a dubious penalty saw Bury take the Leaguer and it was not long before our playing a back three was to concede the game with two very preventable goals that gave Bury a rare 3-0 win . It must be said that we do seem to let bad refereeing upset us and we become much too involved and lose our concentration and it just compounds the situation there again the players probably feel the injustice even more than us supporters.

Lumley 6
Couple of poor pieces of distribution but could do nothing about the goals and other than that had very little to do. To end up losing 3-0 was harsh to say the least.

J Clarke 6
Did OK until he was forced to leave the field early with what looked like an asthma attack. Personally I don’t know why he is preferred to Danny Leadbitter other than better physical strength.

Lockyer 6.5
Overall had a reasonable game but left unprotected by Byron Moore and was not helped at all by the Managers substitutions which were mysterious to say the least last night.In the first half I would describe his performance as mixed because on a couple of occasions we allowed the opposing players far too much room to run at us in the area and in all honesty we were probably lucky not to be at least a goal down before Sinclair was sent off.

Sweeney 6.5
Turned inside out on the last goal and probably his worst game for us but hardly helped by very poor refereeing decisions and a totally disorganised defence after the substitutions.

Brown 6
An average game and was close to scoring after the ball hit the post. I really feel that substituting him left us very weak at the back and changing to a back three was IMO not a brave decision but stupid one.

Mansell 6
An Ok game but found the going difficult especially when we were down to ten men and two games within 3 days after so long out hardly helped him but we have left ourselves very thin squadwise by the failure to replace either Colkett or Boateng. We seemed so strong in the midfield area before Xmas but now defence is the only area where we have sufficient strength in depth.

Lines 7
Involved a lot and tried hard to get us on top and I have given him Man of the Match really because last night he was probably the best of a below par team who allowed the poor referee to put them off their game. Corners are tending to be very predictable now.

Moore 4
Is not a wingback and defensively is far inferior to Montano and similar to at Walsall cost us at least one goal when forced into defending. Showed some good touches at times but overall struggled to get into the game other than one moment of class in the first half where he cut in and fired a great shot which from my view I am not sure how it stayed out ie whether it was saved, hit the woodwork or just flew across the goal!

Bodin 5
Not one of his better games but I was still surprised that he was substituted as at the moment he is probably our best chance of a goal.

Sinclair 4
Stupidity comes to mind where he fell for a second booking after being booked for simulation earlier. I am not convinced that either deserved a booking and the second one looked like a foul even from the other end of the pitch and on watching since I would say it was a foul but the fact remains that the loss of Sinclair with so long to play cost us the game and if he did know what he was doing then he deserves every punishment. He was not having the best of games anyway prior to the sending off when you think of how well he has been playing recently.

James 5
Another livewire performance but where is his first goal going to come from? Too lightweight is how I would describe him and its a bit like having a schoolboy leading the attack. Last night this was an area where Bury had the edge with the power and skill of Vaughan up front with Tom Pope.

Subs

Gaffney 5
His “reward” for a great performance on Saturday was a return to the bench. He tried hard when he came on but really the game was lost in a similar fashion to the game at Walsall and he was lucky not to receive a red card when he reacted angrily at the end.

Clarke Salter 5
A far from convincing performance as a substitute for James Clarke and I am not sure that he is up to League 1 football at the present time as for me he is not physically strong enough but it is probably unfair to judge him when we reverted to three at the back and it failed miserably.

Montano NOLE
Put in a good cross after his pace took him past two opponents and had a shot blocked in far too short an appearance.

Ref – MINUS 10 A complete and utter asshole and typical of the referees you tend to get when you play Northern teams away. If the two Sinclair incidents were bookings then the three free kicks he gave to Bury were also cases for a booking and the penalty the player ran straight through Byron Moore and went straight over his foot.There was no attempt to trip him and an obvious dive. I would say he must go down as one of the worse referees we have had as we got very few decisions all game and nearly every decision went Bury’s way, the most ridiculous one being right at the end when he gave a free kick in our favour and the linesman also gave it our way but after booking Gaffney and their goalkeeper he gave them the free kick and not even in the right place. I don’t like blaming referees in Lee Johnson style but this one was just unbelievable. These sort of bookings were originally given only in the penalty area and the majority of referees would have warned Sinclair. as he was hardly seeking to “gain an advantage”. I always thought you would never get a local referee and it seems ridiculous to have a referee from only ten miles away but whether he was biased or just an awful referee is difficult to judge based on that performance.

DC 4 It is very strange that the players have managed to put together their worst performances recently against the two sides where you expected them to have the best chance of winning ie Port Vale and Bury. It is very easy to be critical of DC after the event but I do feel that he got it very wrong last night both with his selection and substitutions however he has got far more things right than wrong and it is to his credit that he reacts to the loss of a player by continuing to play for a win when most Managers would close up shop and try to contain the opponents until the last ten minutes or so.

Bury 5 It is hard to believe that they beat us by three goals and were definitely helped by the referee. They committed many fouls but cleverly managed to spread them around the team. It is easy to see why they are where they are in the League as they were not very good and were obviously helped by the sending off. The goalkeeper in particular was always coming out and involving himself in incidents that occurred and should have been red carded at the end as should probably Gaffney.

Crowd 4 The referee ruined the game in a similar way to the Chelsea /Manchester United game the night before and it is very frustrating for supporters who pay good money to travel and then are rewarded with a clown of a referee who favoured the Home side throughout.

So the game was lost and the important thing now is how we react to this defeat with the visit to the Mem of a struggling Chesterfield side followed by a visit to an even more struggling side in Coventry. I feel that last nights defeat has pretty well ended any glimmering hopes of getting to the Play Offs with the games in hand that other teams have and the gap between the Play offs and us but six points from the next two games is achievable and essential to at least keep any fading hopes alive and keep the season interesting. My team would be

Lumley

Leadbitter Lockyer Sweeney Harris

Bodin Lines O Clarke Montano

Gaffney James

UTG

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