Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Two minutes with… Bristol Rovers

Bit of a delay getting this instalment of ‘Two minutes with…’ up, but last Monday saw the visit of Bristol Rovers – the first game of 2012. And the year began well with an important three points and a clean sheet! Pirates fan, Henry (@HJBurridge on Twitter) shares his match day experience.

Barnet 2–0 Bristol Rovers
(McLeod ’69, Kamdjo ’80)
Attendance 2,537 (away 431)

How did you get to the game?
I got the train from Bath to Paddington, then having to get the tube along to Kings Cross for a train to New Barnet. I sorted my tickets well in advance and once I got to Kings Cross I found that the company had booked me on the weekend times, obviously thinking that Saturday services would be run for the bank holiday, so I had to wait around for an extra 25 minutes before catching a ride up to Barnet.
What did you do pre-match?
My dad is originally from London and grew up in Barnet, so it’s a trip I’ve always wanted to make. He lived on Leicester Road for a long time, so I walked along there from the station down to Underhill for a spate of sentimental family history.
Where did you sit/stand in the ground?
I stood on the away section of the East Terrace, towards the halfway line. Considering the situation we find ourselves in, there was a decent away attendance and I felt we created a good atmosphere, singing throughout with some, shall we say, fairly original lyrics – I never thought I’d be chanting ‘one Pat Butcher’ at a football ground!
What did you make of the game?
It was a pretty drab game, even by League 2 standards; you can tell why both teams find themselves on the precipice to the Conference. Rovers didn’t offer a great deal until the last few minutes of the first half, mainly due to playing Matt Harrold as a lone striker, which was an odd decision given the importance of getting a result against a team as close to us as Barnet.
Taking off Harrold at half time due to an injury was fair enough, but to continue hoofing balls up to his significantly shorter replacement, Scott McGleish, after the break was ludicrous and the ball kept coming back at our shambles of a defence. It was always going to cost us and eventually it did; neither central defender took charge of a standard ball forward, letting McLeod in behind for the opener, from there on Barnet never looked back.
To the delight of the Rovers faithful, Paul Buckle was sacked on Tuesday evening and, it’s fair to say, nobody’s going to miss him around here! We can get a new man in now and, hopefully, pull away from the relegation zone; Sean O’Driscoll and Gary Johnson have been touted as possible replacements, with the former being my dream appointment.
Was the scoreline a fair reflection?
Perhaps 2-0 was slightly harsh on us, but the way Buckle set us up meant Barnet were always going to have the bulk of the play. We’ve conceded nearly two goals per game in the league, so we were always likely to leak a goal at some point; we can’t really have any complaints.
Who, in your opinion was man of the match?
I thought the two Bees wide men, Marshall and Deering, were a constant thorn in our side and looked the most threatening players out there. We tend to struggle against pace and movement and every time they picked up the ball they looked to put us on the back foot, which is exactly the way to give us trouble
 A special mention, too, for Danny Senda. He put all his experience to use keeping Mustapha Carayol, our only consistent attacking impetus over the past few weeks, quiet. He spent the latter few months of last season with us and quickly became a fans favourite, so it was nice to see him come over to the East Terrace and applaud both sets of fans at the end.
Who have you got next and how do you think you'll get on?
Next up we’ve got Aston Villa at home in the FA Cup third round. With Buckle still at the helm, many fans were looking at the game with trepidation, fearing Villa racking up a cricket score live on ESPN, but hopefully the players will put in the performance of their lives to impress any potential new boss.
 There should be a near capacity crowd at the Memorial Stadium for the game and a chance to show an international audience what Bristol Rovers are about. The anticipation amongst supporters is building and with the visiting fans less than enamoured with their season to date, there is a good chance for us to get something out of the game.

Thanks Henry

You can also check out Henry’s blog here, and follow him on Twitter @HJBurridge

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