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Match Previews


1 March 2013

A look ahead to tomorrow's game

Bristol Rovers 7-1 Burton Albion, last season’s stunning scoreline is one that many GasHeads would love to see repeated this year.

It was the first time Rovers had scored 7 past anyone since 1973. It was also manager Mark McGhee's biggest victory of his managerial career. It was also Burton Albion’s first ever visit to the Mem!

Having taken the lead on the 42nd minute from Mustapha Carayol, Eliot Richards doubled the score straight after half-time. Calvin Zola gave the Brewers some hope on 54 minutes before the game went pear shaped for the Midlanders. Matt Harrold scored twice, Richards completed his hat-trick and Jim Patterson added his name to the scoresheet to complete the 7-1 home victory.

With Burton pushing for an automatic promotion spot and Rovers keeping their heads just above the relegation line the indicators would not support a repeat of last season’s massive home win.

The signing of 22 year old former Sunderland striker Oumare Tounkara to replace David Clarkson is an indication of how seriously the Rovers Board and Manager John Ward treat the threat of dropping out of the League.

On Tuesday night as Rovers went down to the narrow loss at Northampton, Burton equalled a club record of eight successive home wins and a new record of four successive wins, with victory over Morecambe.  

Albion took the lead on 17 minutes after some superb play from Michael Symes. He took the ball in a deep position and switched play to Alex MacDonald on the right with a perfectly weighted pass.

The winger took a touch and picked out Robbie Weir and the midfielder hit a powerful low shot which Barry Roche in the Morcambe goal could only parry out and Jacques Maghoma, steaming in, who finished from close range.

In first half injury time the visitors’ Andrew Fleming conceded a free kick 22 yards out with a trip on Lee Bell. Maghoma rolled the ball to MacDonald and his effort flew up off the wall to Anthony O’Connor, whose shot was deflected into the air by Roche and Billy Kee steamed in to head into the empty net.

Just four minutes into the second half it was game over as MacDonald broke free down the right and crossed for Symes to nod back to Kee, who turned and lashed an unstoppable volley past Roche from 12 yards.

With ten minutes remaining the Shrimps were awarded a penalty, as Damien McCrory got the wrong side of Morecambe’s Chris Holroyd and tripped him. Jack Redshaw hammered the penalty past Ian Tomlinson in the Midlanders goal. Then in time added on Chris Holroyd got past McCrory once more and fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 12 yards to make it 3-2.

Speaking after the game the Brewers’ Manager Gary Rowett said, "That made me nervous. Blimey, I just looked in the mirror and saw a few grey hairs. Up until 80 minutes it was probably about the most comfortable we've been, to be three-nil up.

"The issue then is that one or two tried to overplay and overdo things. We got caught a couple of times in the middle of the park and we got caught wide once or twice." 

The Brewers got off to a sluggish start to the season picking up just 7 points from the first six games. A ten match unbeaten run with four victories and six draws saw them rise in the table. Their current run of four successive victories has seen them score 13 goals and concede just 4. 

Gary Rowett will be putting Jacques Maghoma through a late fitness test on his injured ankle before this weekend’s game after he took a heavy knock in Tuesday night’s victory. Rowett said, “He’s okay but will be struggling to play at the weekend. He’s a real doubt. We don’t think it’s anything particularly long-term but will have to wait and see.”

Rowett has also considered rotating his squad but with everyone playing so well he has doubts, “The danger is while there’s a need to keep it fresh, we don’t want to lose momentum.

"Before Tuesday and the Morecambe game I would have said Bristol Rovers would definitely be a game I’d use with one or two individuals back in contention to keep us fresh.

“What you see from time to time, though, is players who look like needing a rest coming back strongly. I thought Billy (Kee) and Alex (MacDonald) could maybe do with a rest against Morecambe, but both played and did really well. It was probably Alex’s best performance since he came here.

“Players are going to have one or two games where they look jaded but they right it themselves.”

With just one point from the last three games, a victory over Burton would not only give the team a massive boost in confidence but also 3 much needed points. 

Written by Gerry Prewett

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