A look ahead to tomorrow's game
Bristol Rovers entertain high flying Fleetwood Town this weekend, looking to get back to winning ways. Graham Alexander’s Cod Army have got themselves off to a great start to the season by winning six of their nine games to date.
The Lancashire team have been on a fine run a form. Last weekend however they found that Exeter City were just as determined and it was the west country team who took all three points back down the M5.
Fleetwood dominated the first half and Town should have been well ahead before the Grecians had a sniff, Steven Schumacher forcing a good save from Artur Krysiac in the first half and Gareth Evans wasting a chance early in the second. It was 71 minutes before Town took the lead with Matty Blair's strike.
It took visitors Exeter just five minutes to cancel that lead when central defender Scot Bennett moved up to striker and hammered the ball home.
Three minutes later things got worse for Alexander’s men as Bennett got his second with a neat volley to earn the Grecians all three points. A late rally saw Jon Parkin’s header almost hand Town a share of the spoils but it wasn’t to be.
Speaking after the game Alexander said, "It was a frustrating afternoon. We played some good football but not quite quick enough. Exeter nullified the space.
“At half-time we recharged thought processes to do things quicker but after we scored we took a backward step and lost our mentality of going forward. Half a yard back is all the difference. Exeter's approach was probably a precursor of what to expect if we stay near the top."
Alexander, who was disappointed to see his team surrender their lead for the first time this season, warned visiting sides may use Paul Tisdale’s strategy as a blueprint for success.
“It’s a lesson for us, you don’t crack football, you have to work hard every day. You can’t take your foot off the pedal. It was an odd atmosphere around the game but that’s partly because you need two teams to attack. Fair play to Exeter, they came here and got three points from a tough away game.
Meanwhile, midfielder Steven Schumacher, has called on the team to rally following the loss to Exeter. “We created chances and we said at half-time we were the better team,” said the former Bury skipper.
“We ended up being a little bit sloppy and there were probably a few players who weren’t at the game. At this level you can’t afford to be carrying anybody. If you do, you are going to struggle. A few little sloppy passes have ended up getting the better of us.”
“To lose any game is disappointing, but from going a goal in front we should have done better to take the three points. I think teams are going to come to our place and make it hard for us. Nobody is going to come here and attack us because of where we are in the league."
Aside from the Exeter result the Lancashire team have had a very impressive September beating Torquay 4-1, Bury 2-1 and winning 1-0 at Portsmouth, a result which took them up to second in the table.
Last season’s game at the Mem saw the teams fight out a steely 0-0 draw and Rovers came out on top in Lancashire as they returned victorious from Highbury Stadium with a 3-0 win, with goals by Danny Woodards, Eliot Richards and John-Joe O’Toole.
Written by Gerry Prewett.