A look ahead to Saturday's game
Bristol Rovers will be looking to score their first goal at home this season when they face Aldershot Town at the Mem this weekend.
The Shots have just an opening day victory in the League to show for their own endeavours so far.
Rovers’ Tuesday evening’s defeat in the JPT to Yeovil was a much improved performance from Saturday’s same score defeat by Morecambe. Last season the Shots did a 1-0 double over the Gas.
On Saturday Aldershot went down to a 4-1 defeat at Fleetwood, as the Seasider’s recorded their first home win as a Football League club.
After 26 minutes Junior Brown put the home team ahead with a shot into the bottom right-hand corner from the edge of the area. Just before the half hour Fleetwood’s Dean Howell was sent off for handling on the line.
Keeper Scott Davies saved Josh Payne's penalty, but six minutes later Craig Reid equalised. It was just minutes into the second half when Steve McNulty headed Fleetwood back in front from close range.
With 15 minutes remaining the Shots’ Josh Payne compounded a dismal day when he was shown a red card for handball. Junior Brown and Andy Mangan put the Hampshire team to the sword with late goals to give a 4-1 score line.
After the game Shot’s Boss Dean Holdsworth said, "If you were here it was not a one sided game and they took advantage at the end when we were stretched. But there were some key moments in this game that we've not taken advantage of.”
Looking at the previous meetings between the two clubs reveals that Rovers’ record at home is excellent with 15 victories, 4 draws and just 4 defeats in the 23 games played.
The very first game between the Rovers and the Shots took place on Boxing Day 1932 at the Rec where the home team ran out 1-0 victors.
Rovers gained almost immediate revenge with a 4-1 win the following day. The teams also clashed in the Third Round of the F.A. Cup that season and the Shots repeated the 1-0 home win.
Rovers generally had the better of the clashes against their Hampshire rivals in the years leading up to the War but there were a few big reversals. On 7 December 1935 Aldershot ran out 6-1 winners and the following season won 4-0.
In the years since the War it is Rovers who have dominated in the fixtures and have had some stunning victories.
On 29 March 1943, goals by Vic Lambden (4), Jackie Pitt (2) and Barry Watkins gave the Eastville team a 7-1 win. They also beat the Shots 5-1 (three times) and 4-1, Vic Lambden scored in all these games!
Rovers’ last win was in October 2010 with a 1-0 JPT Cup victory at the Mem.
Despite Saturday’s defeat Holdsworth’s team bounced back on Tuesday night they travelled down to Exeter, drawing 0-0, but winning the match on penalties.
Their best chance of going ahead fell to defender Sonny Bradley in the closing stages but his close-range effort was directed straight at Exeter goalkeeper Artur Krysiak.
Like Rovers the Grecians had the ball in the Aldershot net but Scot Bennett’s effort was disallowed for a foul on Troy Brown, while Morris did well to keep out an effort from Liam Sercombe.
Brown was forced off with a calf strain after half an hour and he is rated at only 50/50 for this weekend’s game. Left-back Anthony Tonkin is also a doubt
Holdsworth commented about Rovers, "They are suffering with a bit of confidence themselves a bit at the moment but they have some good players and this will be a tough game for us. But Tuesday night was a bit confidence boost for us and hopefully now it can start us off.
"We had to respond from Saturday's defeat. We passed the ball really well and every player responded to what we needed. I'm delighted for all the players. Coming down to Exeter to win and go through is really good for the football club.
"It can only give us confidence going into Bristol Rovers. Their attitude was spot-on, absolutely brilliant."
Last season the Shots edged past Rovers in both games so there is no doubt this is likely to be a tough game for Rovers. The improved performance on Tuesday by Mark McGhee’s team should give them hope that they can kick start their season.
Written by Gerry Prewett.