By Nathan BeesThe midweek trip to Hartlepool United was the first away game I have missed for two years, so it felt incredibly weird having to sit at home and listen to the radio commentary.
BBC Radio Bristol provide great coverage, but I have to say I am a terrible listener. Nothing beats actually being at the game and seeing what is going on with your own eyes. I couldn’t sit still, I shouted at every refereeing decision that went against us and gestured as if I was on the north terrace. Sad, isn’t it?
The only thing that made not being there bearable was how excellently it sounded as if we played. I was slightly concerned in the first half that we weren’t making our dominance count, but Matty Taylor’s opener settled my nerves somewhat and led to a crazed one-man celebration in my living room. Good times.
My fear over half time was that Pools would improve after the break, but that most definitely didn’t turn out to be the case. Judging by what I heard we were equally impressive in the second half and deservedly scored two more goals. It doesn’t matter who you are or what league you play in, winning 3-0 away from home is always a terrific result.
It wasn’t just the margin of victory that pleased me as I tucked into my cup of tea post-match, though; I was equally chuffed with the fact three of our forwards got on the scoresheet. It proved that we do have what it takes to create chances and score goals, and I am delighted for Taylor, Billy Bodin and Jermaine Easter. They have worked hard without being given much to feed off in recent weeks, so scoring will no doubt come as a massive relief to them all.
The defeat to Portsmouth last weekend was massively disappointing because we didn’t do ourselves justice. Pompey are a very good side and demonstrated that for long periods of the game, but we should have defended their second goal a lot better. If we had, we probably would have secured at least a point at full time.
It must have been a bitter pill to swallow for Darrell Clarke and the boys, because that made it five games without a victory. We were unlucky to lose as often as we did during that run, but it felt as though losing was becoming a bit of a habit.
Ending the winless run in the style we did on Tuesday night, though, was the perfect response and underlines just how much character we have in the squad. We all saw that we had it in abundance last season, so it is reassuring to know we can still dig deep and put in a performance when we need it most.
Darrell Clarke made a brave call to drop five of the players who started last Saturday and many Gasheads will have wondered whether it was the right call before the game, but it is safe to say it was a masterstroke. The new players came in and brought with them an energy that has been lacking ever since the narrow defeat to Oxford United, and that was exactly what we needed - an injection of freshness.
Hopefully those players can continue that tomorrow at Morecambe’s Globe Arena. We probably could have done without having yet another long away trip to contend with, but on the plus side our away form has been good and we will head north full of confidence.
Happily Uni commitments do not prevent me from going so I can return to my rightful place amongst the loyal Gasheads supporting the team. Come on Rovers, please don’t expose me as being the curse!
Up the Gas!