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13 February 2018 Venue The Memorial Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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Focus On: Rochdale

13 February 2018

By Gary Prewett.

Tonight Bristol Rovers take on Rochdale riding on a high after yet another great come back victory. The Lancashire team are struggling badly in the League whilst going gangbusters in the FA Cup.

Keith Hill’s team are bottom but one with 25 points, the joint lowest in the league. They are nine points adrift from safety but do have four games in hand on fellow relegation rivals Bury, Oldham Athletic and AFC Wimbledon.

Since beating Rovers 1-0 at Spotland on 21 October they have only one other game. They are currently bottom but one in the form table and compared with their form over the whole season they are negative 30%, compared to Rovers plus 53%.

Dale gave themselves some hope in their latest game with a 1-0 win at Sixfields against Northampton. After a goal-less first-half Ryan Delaney put a ball over the top for Matty Done to square the ball to the back post where Calvin Andrew slotted home.

Dale continued to push forward and looked the more likely to score. Peaking after the game, Keith Hill noted, “Performance wise, it’s acceptable. Result wise, it’s superb. Today was the continuation of last week and it was good. I don’t think there’s any fear from the players at the minute.”

“We’re better than the results we had this season. Some of the performances have been good but we’ve had bad results. Jimmy Floyd said during the week that we’re not playing like a team that’s second from bottom. We’re not and we haven’t been all season. It’s easy to ignore where you are, and to be honest, I am and so are the players. It’s everybody else who keeps phoning me up and saying ‘have you seen where you are?’ Of course I know where we are because I know the points that we’ve got, but we’re not failing – we’re being very successful.”

“It’s a results-driven business but I look at the type of successes we’re trying to achieve including the nurturing of players, but ultimately, it’s the football world judges me on results.
“I don’t think there’s any injustice on behalf of Northampton. I think we played well and deserved to win - I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.

Looking back at previous clashes between the teams it is remarkable that the games often result in draws, with 16 of the 33 games played finishing level. In Bristol, Dale has proved to be a real bogey team for the Gas with Rovers recording just 3 wins from 16 games whereas the Lancashire team has 4 victories to its name.

The very first game between the two teams took place on 27th September 1969 at Eastville. Both teams had got off to a bright start to the season and newly promoted Rochdale were happy to play an expansive brand of attacking football to thrill the 8,653 crowd.

Harold Jarman opened the scoring with a penalty after Robin Stubbs was brought down. Great work by Butler created a deserved equaliser for Dale and in the second half they took the lead with a headed goal.

Stubbs brought the game back to parity with a weak shot past Harkin into the corner of the net. Bobby Jones put Rovers in front again as he took a high up-field ball and struck it past an advancing Harkin. Dale stunned the Eastville faithful with a deserved last minute equaliser. So 3-3 for the first ever game between the clubs.

In 2002-03 season goals from Paul Simpson and Clive Platt gave Dale a 2-1 victory in Bristol, whilst Lee McEvilly scored in the 1-1 draw at Spotland in March. The following season both games finished 0-0 although the game at Spotland in December ended in high drama, as late in the game Gary Jones blazed a controversially awarded penalty over the bar.

In October 2010 Rovers just squeezed out all the points with a 2-1 win. A Jeff Hughes penalty on half-time gave Rovers the lead. Chris Lines appeared to make the game safe on 82 minutes before Byron Anthony put one past his own keeper four minutes later to ensure a nervous finish.

In 2012-13 both games finished 2-1 to the home team. The game at the Mem was a very dull affair until Ellis Harrison ran half the length of the pitch and let fly with a powerful shot into the top corner that the keeper had no chance of saving.

Dale were level on 75 minutes when defender Michael Rose hit a left foot shot from 25 yards into the top left hand corner.

Nine minutes later Eliot Richards sent a corner into the box, which Brunt failed to knock home from close range, but the ball fell sweetly to Harrison who slotted home the rebound to secure all 3 points for the Gas.

In 2013-14 Dale won both games. The game in Bristol was Rovers penultimate game of that relegation season. Rovers took the lead through Kaid Mohamed who squeezed the ball under Josh Lillis after 17 minutes.  The Rovers wide man showed great strength to get past two Dale defenders before nudging the ball under the rushing keeper. The ball travelled goalwards before hitting the right hand post and dribbled along the goal line before the linesman gave the goal. 

Dale came out all guns blazing in the second half and with less than a minute played were level through a stunning left footed curling shot from Bunney. The substitute advanced down the right hand side before receiving a pinpoint pass in the Rovers area, which Mark McChrystal attempted to intercept. Bunney composed himself and slotted his left footed effort in the far corner of the goal. 

The visitors took the lead just past the hour mark as former Gas player Matthew Lund fired in from close range. Michael Rose whipped a low cross into the Rovers penalty area, which seemed to evade everyone before Lund popped up at the far post.

The last game at the Mem took place on 10 September 2016, the visitors went in front after 17 minutes when Callum Camps ran on to an Ian Henderson pass and rounded goalkeeper Kelle Roos before shooting into an empty net.
The lead lasted only four minutes before Peter Hartley headed a Chris Lines corner across goal for Taylor to get the final touch inside the six-yard box.

Before the celebrations of GasHeads had died down, Rochdale struck again. The dangerous Joe Bunney collected a long ball from the left and crossed for Henderson to net a simple tap-in.

Taylor levelled again with a scissor-kick from Hartley's header soon after the break and Rochdale's task was made tougher when centre-back Niall Canavan was dismissed for a second yellow card in the 72nd minute but they held on.

Prior to Saturday’s postponed game against Fleetwood, Keith Hill commented about his team’s position, “We’ve got a lot to challenge for this season. Our season isn’t just about the Tottenham game, it’s about making sure that we make the most of our opportunities in the League One campaign to make sure we give ourselves the best chance of avoiding relegation.”

“It seems unlikely at this moment in time, but there’s a real fighting spirit amongst the players and that’s where the unity will give us our best opportunity of surviving.”

The Dale Boss is relaxed about the fixture pile-up, “It’s no concern of mine, the games have to be played and it beats training. We could definitely be the slow burner, the one who everybody takes their eye off and then all of a sudden, we’re there, right in front of them, so that has got to be our mentality. We have to pick up points and we have to be in every game, because we now can’t afford too many off games.”

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Match Reports

Gas Win From Behind Again in Thriller at the Mem

Rovers 3 - 2 Rochdale

13 February 2018

Rovers came from behind yet again, to claim a dramatic 3-2 victory over Rochdale at the Mem

In what has almost become foregone conclusion of late, Rovers fell behind and did so when Dale's Ian Henderson stabbed home from a corner amidst confusion following a raised linesman flag that was subsequently overuled by the referee.

Darrell Clarke's men came straight out in the second half looking to get level and did exactly that when Liam Sercombe volleyed home at the back post to put Rovers in the lead and score his 11th goal of the season.


Shortly after that Joe Partington headed in on 65 minutes to bizarrely score for the third successive home game, however the visitors replied almost immediately through Henderson to make it 2-2.

You sensed there was another goal in the game and it thankfully went Rovers' way, with Chris Lines bending a beauty into the top corner from the edge of the box on 78 minutes to claim all three points.

Darrell Clarke made three changes to the side that picked up three points at Oxford United on the weekend, with Partington, Rory Gaffney and Tom Nichols coming into the starting line-up in place of Kyle Bennett, Daniel Leadbitter and Ellis Harrison; the latter two picking up injuries at the Kassam Stadium.

Following his unfortunate mistake on the weekend at Oxford United, Adam Smith had another early wobble when the stopper spilled Ian Henderson's long range effort towards the path of Callum Camps, but Smith just managed to beat the forward to the ball but took a knock to head in the process, which required treatment and a lengthy stoppage in play.

After about five minutes of medical assistance, Smith was back on his feet and restarting play from a free kick in his box.

Rovers' first sniff of goal came just pass the 11 minute mark, when Partington put his foot through a loose Lines pass that somehow put Nichols through on goal but the forward was forced wide and had to cut back to Liam Sercombe, whose cross was just a touch too high for Gaffney.

Neither side was retaining posession for long period of time yet despite proceedings being end to end, neither were fashioning many chances either.

Gaffney did show promise with some on 23 minutes with some excellent ball control on the half-time allowing him to turn his man and beat two more, but his attempted through ball to Nichols was cut out.

However there was a spanner in the works shortly after amidst a cloud of confusion concerning a Rochdale corner and the officials.

The visitors swung in a corner that prompted goal mouth scramble, with ball ricocheting over various players before squirming over the line at which point the linesman raised his flag to suggest he'd spotted an impedment.

But after some deliberation from the referee and confusion in the stands, the goal was awarded and Dale took the lead; Henderson the man believed to have got the final touch.

With discontent swirling around BS7, The Gas went in search of an equaliser and a spark for a trademark comeback, again Gaffney involved as the striker used his strength to wrestle a defender off the ball before letting fly on the edge with his left foot, but his effort flew marginally wide.

Almost immediately after the ball was up the other end and Rochdale almost doubled their lead, if not for a great reaction save from Smith to deny Stephen Humphrys.

Gaffney continued to look like The Gas' most likely source of a goal, again using his strength superbly to hold off a defender in the box, control a high ball onto his left foot and strike, but Josh Lillis did really well to get down quickly and deny him.

Rovers came flying out the blocks after the break and were inches away from pulling themselves level, with Tom Broadbent's header crashing off the post after he'd met it close in from a corner.

Just minutes later and the scores were level, Sercombe bringing his tally to an impressive 11 goals, volleying home Lee Brown's cross at the back post via a slight deflection.

Smith was having to remain alert between the Rovers sticks, and produced a fine stop down to his left, stretching to tip Humphrys' bottom corner-bound curler.

Clarke was forced into his first change on 56 minutes, with Marc Bola replacing an injured Brown at left-back.

With stats and records being somewhat of a hot topic at the moment, another odd one came to fruition when Partington scored for the third successive home game, having only netted his first goal for the club last month.

The right-back won a free kick down his flank and got straight into the box to await what turned out to be an exquisite Lines delivery before glancing a header across the keeper and into the bottom corner.

However The Gas were then almost immediately pegged back, with Bradden Inman sliding in Henderson who had his initial shot saved, but was on hand to tap home the rebound.

The hosts made their final substitutions with a double switch; Byron Moore and Kyle Bennett replacing Ollie Clarke and Nichols.

Moore got straight into the action when the ball popped out to him about 12-yards out and he struck what looked to be a goal-bound volley at the target, but it was well blocked.

The winger looked to be in the mood and played a massive part as Rovers took the lead for the second time with little over 10 minutes left of normal time.

Moore spun his man superbly down the left flank, before resisting the urge to chuck in a hopeful cross and instead picking out Lines on the edge of the box who then arrowed a fantastic controlled strike right into the top right corner before wheeling off in celebration towards the fans.

Lines who had been fantastic all evening once again, could've even doubled his tally and all but sealed the result, as he controlled a Bola cut back on the edge of the area and looked to bend the ball into the top left corner and demanded a fine save from Lillis.

Gaffney also had a great game, and aided Rovers' attempt to see out the result with strong hold up play and dogged defensive work from the front.

Rovers XI: Adam Smith (GK), Joe Partington, Tom Broadbent, Tony Craig, Lee Brown (Marc Bola, 56), Chris Lines, Ollie Clarke (c) (Byron Moore, 73), Liam Sercombe, Stuart Sinclair, Tom Nichols (Kyle Bennett, 73), Rory Gaffney.

Unused subs: Sam Slocombe (GK), Ryan Sweeney, , Bernard Mensah, Dom Telford.

Rochdale XI: Josh Lillis (GK), Joe Rafferty, Jim McNulty, Stephen Humphrys (Bradden Inman, 60), Callum Camps, Scott Wiseman, Matt Done, Ryan Delaney, Andy Cannon (Billy Knott, 71), Mark Kitching (Joe Thompson, 71), Ian Henderson (c).

Unused subs: Brandon Moore (GK), Harrison McGahey, Ollie Rathbone, Sam Hart.

Attendance: 9,219 (126 away).

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Ticket News

Grab Your Early Bird Tickets for the Visit of Rochdale!

12 February 2018

Supporters can save money on tickets for Tuesday's game at the Mem by purchasing early bird tickets.

Darrell Clarke's side host Rochdale A.F.C at the Memorial Stadium on Tuesday 13th February, kick-off 7:45pm.

Supporters can save £2 on normal match day prices by buying their tickets in advance and the best place to purchase your tickets is online by clicking here.

You can also buy match tickets in person by visiting either of the clubs two retail outlets - The Club Shop at the Memorial Stadium and the Supporters Club Shop in Kingswood (199 Two Mile Hill Rd, Kingswood, Bristol, BS15 1AZ).

Earlybird prices are available instore at both the Club Shop at the Mem and Supporters Club Shop in Kingswood until 5pm on Monday 12th February. Earlybird prices will be available until midnight on Monday 12th February online. 

The Club is running a 'Kids for a Quid' offer for the fixture, which falls in the half-term school holidays. To find out more information about this offer, please click HERE.

Feature

Kids for Quid for Rochdale

 

Early Bird match day prices are listed below;
Stand Adult  16-21 65+/U16
North Terrace £16 £12 £8
Family Enclosure  £16 £12 £5
West Enclosure  £18 £14 £9
East Terrace £16 £12 £8
East Stand £22 £18 £13
West Stand £24 £21 £18
South Stand £19 £15 £10
Disabled  £9 £9 £8
Visitors Terrace £16 £12 £8
Visitors Stand £19 £15 £10

If you have any problems or queries about tickets for home matches, please contact 0117 952 4001 and speak to our Ticket Office Manager Clare McDonagh

*For information on tickets for away fans visiting the Memorial Stadium visit the Visiting Supporters page.

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