By Nathan BeesThe 7-1 win against Dorchester Town was quite emphatic, wasn’t it?
The tie was a definite banana-skin but we dismantled our lower level hosts with such aplomb that we needn’t have been so worried beforehand. It was a thoroughly professional display from start to finish.
For probably the first time this season Rovers delivered a masterclass in clinical finishing and the goals were shared nicely between our attacking players. I was delighted to see Ellis Harrison score a hat-trick and take home the match ball for the first time in his professional career and it was equally pleasing to see Matty Taylor find the back of the net as well.
It is always a big deal for strikers when they score goals, even if they play it down in public, and this will undoubtedly give both Harrison and Taylor huge confidence heading into November and beyond.
A lot has been made about the lack of goals our forwards have scored so far this season and while it is a fair point of discussion for the press and supporters, it will undoubtedly have increased the pressure on the players’ shoulders. They will have been well aware of the greater focus on them at matches and it could easily have had an impact on the way they were playing. Am I the only one who thinks some of the lads were trying too hard in front of goal?
Darrell Clarke will be delighted that two of his front men and one of his wingers registered six of the seven goals last weekend and he will hope they can carry on their scoring form at AFC Telford tomorrow.
The Bucks welcome us on the back of a midweek win against Spennymoor Town in an FA Cup replay and they will be looking forward to one of their biggest home games of the season. Their last league outing also saw them claim a victory - an impressive 3-1 win at play-off hopefuls Woking - and they will be ready to take on another side that sit towards the top of the table.
Our 1-0 win in the reverse fixture in August may not have been spectacular but it was the catalyst to much improved performances in the weeks that followed and hopefully a similar thing can happen again this time around. Before our FA Cup success against Dorchester we lost to rivals Forest Green Rovers and we now have to find a way of bouncing back to the sort of form that got us into the play-off spots in the first place.
I am anticipating a tough game given Telford’s improvement and the fact they are at home but we should still head there confident of getting a result. In every match we know that 3 points are there for the taking if we reach a certain level of performance and tomorrow is no different.
Telford find themselves rooted to the foot of the table for a reason and while they seem to have picked up a little, their position suggests there are plenty of weaknesses we can look to exploit. Personally I think if we play half as well in attack tomorrow as we did last Saturday that we will come out on top.
It would be exactly what the doctor ordered. A win would set us up nicely for the long, but in my opinion winnable, FA Cup tie at League Two Tranmere Rovers next Saturday. The trip to Prenton Park will be our first visit since a 1-0 success back in the 2011 relegation campaign and although it looks a tricky game on paper the fact they sit one from bottom should inspire plenty of optimism.
Theoretically they are only seven places above us in the English football ladder and our morale should far eclipse that of their squad at the moment. They have recently appointed a new manager in Micky Adams and that will, you would think, give them a big lift, but Tranmere are definitely not a side we should fear.
The game may see us renew acquaintances with some former Gas players. Matt Gill, Eliot Richards and Danny Woodards haven’t had much game time recently for the Wirral-based club but they could well be handed some minutes against us, which adds significant interest to the meeting for them and for us.
If I am being honest I don’t fear the prospect of coming up against any of them at the moment. They obviously haven’t been playing well enough to warrant a spot in the Tranmere first team and there has to be a few exceptions to the unwritten rule that every ex-Rovers player must score when they play against us, doesn’t there?!
The only downside to the game is that it is another long journey for the squad and supporters to make, right in the middle of an already packed away schedule. We began the sequence of (A)’s in our fixture list last weekend and have a further three to get through before our next match at The Mem.
It means a lot of time on the road and no home comforts for a little while but that’s not as daunting a prospect as it would have been a couple of months ago. We don’t go into away games looking to avoid defeat these days; we go into them looking to win. It is no coincidence that our change in attitude has contributed to a much-improved points accumulation this season and that is why Gasheads are starting to enjoy away days again.
Like last weekend there will be another large following tomorrow at the New Bucks Head and I am sure we will witness a performance that gives us a chance of bringing home the points.
Come on you blues!