Bristol Rovers Fan’s View
Chester and Barnet Nov 2014
By Wayne Collins
At the end of last week Rovers brought in two new strikers; Bradley Goldberg on loan from Dagenham and Redbridge and Nathan Blissett on loan from Kidderminster – although that will become a permanent signing in January. Yes, this is the Blissett who scored against us a few weeks ago!
On Saturday Rovers played away at Chester and were back at the Mem on Tuesday to meet with league leaders Barnet.
Rovers took the lead at Chester thanks to the man himself Blissett latching on to a ball from Matt Taylor. It was soon 2-0 with Tom Parkes getting the second goal. With a two goal cushion I thought we would go on and get a few more, but how wrong was I! It was soon 2-2. A few lapses at the back and we were back on level terms with the game ending 2-2. It’s hard to take any positives from the game as when winning 2-0 we should probably be putting teams to bed and winning comfortably, but like I’ve said before a point is a point. Let’s hope we can start turning these one points to into three.
Tuesday saw Rovers play top of the league Barnet, and what a win! The weather was awful and it rained non stop. I managed to convince my fiancé to join me at the game (with the promise of dinner after) and she insisted we went under cover so we stood in the Blackthorn end. It was also her Birthday so I had to keep her sweet!
Rovers started the game at a fast pace. After just 5 minutes we were one up after Andy Monkhouse played a great ball through to Matt Taylor who did well to score from a tight angle. Rovers kept up the pressure and played some good football – a good move from the left hand side led to a chance for Stuart Sinclair but ended with him hitting his shot over the bar.
Another great ball came in from the left and this led to the talking point of the game. A ball came into the box and fell to Nathan Blissett who hit a great overhead kick. It looked as though it was going in but even through the clash of bodies it seemed clear that the Barnet defender had cleared it with his hand! The ref hesitated as though he was going to give a red and Rovers the penalty – both sets of players surrounded the ref arguing their cases. After talking to his linesmen who said the ball had hit the defender’s head, a corner was given. We had quite a good view and my initial thought was that the defender had handled the ball. I have watched the highlights to re-asses and still think this is the case, but I have heard a few different opinions. I would be keen to know what you think if you were there too?
On the 37th minute against the run of play, Barnet won a free kick and scored from it – a well driven low shot into the corner. How frustrating! It had been all Rovers in the first half and we had created lots of chances.
It was 1-1 at half time. Martin Allen’s men looked better in the second half and came into the game a bit more. Rovers still created a few chances with Matt Taylor’s shot going just over the bar. Another great ball from Lee Brown found Angelo Balanta who headed wide. He probably should have done better, but he soon redeemed himself as Rovers grabbed an injury time winner with Balanta connecting with Lyle Della-Verde’s corner! Della-Verde looks a great talent and beat his man nearly every time with some impressive trickery so hopefully we can extend his loan.
What a great win! We outplayed Barnet in parts and could have been out of sight at half time. Mark McChrystal did really well against John Akinde, managing to keep the league’s top goal scorer quiet throughout the game.
Tuesday night showed that we are a force in this league and proved what we can do. Barnet didn’t really impress me and I thought they would have put in a better performance.
As I’m writing this I’ve just watched Rickie Lambert score his first Champions League goal – he’s gone a long way from his days at Rovers. This time 8 years ago he scored for Rovers against Barnet! Well done Rickie.