By Nathan BeesBouncing back from disappointment is a key trait of this Rovers squad. They have responded to defeat a number of times over the course of this season and they did so again last weekend in some style.
The game may not have been the prettiest but at this stage of the run-in it doesn’t matter. Crawley Town came to The Mem to shut up shop, as most teams do, and yet we found a way to break through three times in the second half to seal a comfortable victory. It was enough to move us back to third in the League Two table, ahead of Plymouth Argyle and Accrington Stanley who both failed to win.
Matty Taylor’s headed double and Liam Lawrence’s strike came from set-pieces, which is something manager Darrell Clarke has called for more of from his players over the last few months. Pinpoint Lawrence and Chris Lines corners were headed home by Taylor before Lawrence then curled home a sublime 25 yard free kick into the top left hand corner, for what was one of the best strikes I’ve seen from a dead-ball situation in a long time.
If we can produce more of the same between now and the end of the campaign that would stand us in very good stead and go a long way in helping us to win the six remaining games we have to play.
Our trip to Northampton Town tomorrow afternoon looks on paper to be an incredibly difficult fixture given that they are running away with the league title and are unbeaten since before Christmas. However, our recent form has been outstanding and the ease with which we are scoring goals gives us a great chance against any team in the division at the moment.
It is a massive game for both teams and with a sold out following of Gasheads set to descend on Sixfields, it should be a great atmosphere too. Cobblers supporters will be out in full force as they have the chance to clinch promotion this weekend, so we will need to be prepared to go there and spoil their party.
Tactically speaking we don’t like sitting back and defending, it just isn’t Darrell’s style, so it will be interesting to see how we set up in an attempt to beat Chris Wilder’s team. Will it pay to be slightly more conservative or is our best chance just doing what we normally do, even if it does leave us slightly exposed at the back?
Personally I would be inclined to say we have nothing to fear and should have confidence in the way we play, but sometimes you have to make changes in order to counter the strengths of the opposition.
Darrell has made it clear from the start that he takes it ‘game by game’ so I have no doubt he will have plotted a way to overcome Northampton. I have complete faith in whatever he decides to do and, hopefully, it will see us return to Bristol with a result that keeps us in the automatic promotion places.
Come on Rovers, come on you blues!