Bristol Rovers travel to the Midlands this week with a sense of undone business to put right.
When Rovers met Notts County at the end of October they were in a rich vein of form with four wins in a row. It was at a time when Rovers could not win at home in the League however much they tried the Magpies denied Rovers' their first league home victory since August, as the teams fought out a 0-0 draw.
County are 11 places and 13 points behind Rovers and sacked their Dutch Manager Ricardo Moniz in December when a string of bad results saw they struggling at the wrong end of the table. However results have not really picked up much for his replacement Jamie Fullarton.
County were further rocked this week when it was announced that Chief Executive, Julian Winter had resigned after less than six months in the position. It was Winter who appointed Fullarton as manager in January after Moniz was sacked.
On Saturday at Meadow Lane the Magpies started well in their game against Dagenham but Jon Stead was denied by a combination of Daggers goalkeeper Liam O'Brien and Joe Worrall after Jason Banton's cross. Then Adam Campbell had an early appeal for a penalty turned down.
As the Daggers came back into the game it took two great saves by keeper Scott Loach to keep them from taking the lead. Loach had experienced a quiet afternoon until he was called upon to push away Christian Doidge's well placed header and then got his fingers to Matt Richards' free-kick to divert it onto the post.
As regards Rovers and County the very first game between the teams took place on 4 October 1930 with Rovers returning from Nottingham having gone down to a 3-0 defeat. Tom Fenner and Arthur Maw notched the Notts goals. The return game at Eastville ended 2-2 with Fenner and Tom Keetly scoring for the away team and Alex Findlay and Bert Young scoring for Rovers. There was a four-year hiatus before the teams next met, but it got no better for Rovers as they went down 6-0! A score-line repeated in the 1946-47 season.
Rovers eventually beat the hoo-doo when they ran out 5-1 winners on 26 September 1953.
That score was repeated on 25 September 1976 when Gordon Fearnley (2), Gordon Staniforth (2) and Alan Warboys scored for Rovers with Dave Needham scoring a consolation for the midlanders.
One game that I’m sure will stick in many GasHeads memories was played at Twerton on 2 September 1989. The records show that Rovers won 3-2 with goals by Gary Penrice, Devon White and Vaughan Jones.
However it is the Vaughan Jones goal that sticks in the memory of everyone in the ground that day. Rovers won a free kick out wide on the left near the half-way line. Jones shaped up to hit a long bomb towards big Devon White (later to become a hero at County too). However the long bomb didn’t arrive, instead Jones hit a pile-driver in low to the near post.
Steve Cherry the Notts keeper suddenly realised that his position at the back post ready to take the cross wasn’t going to help. He scurried across goal but not in time to prevent a remarkable goal.
Coming forward to 9 September 2000 at Meadow Lane a draw was one that many regarded as being pivotal in Rovers relegation that season. The Gas were leading 1-0, with a Nathan Ellington goal. With the game in its last few minutes Rovers put the ball out of play for a player to receive attention. The Jock Scott managed Notts, believing that Rovers were time wasting then proceeded to score a Mark Stallard goal from the throw-in when everyone expected the ball to be given back to Rovers.
The last time the teams crossed paths was that game back in October at the Mem which ended 0-0. Billy Bodin came close for Rovers towards the end of the first half but his shot from 12 yards out hit the bar. County started the second half well, with the Gas desperate to clear Izale McLeod's powerful shot from distance. Jermaine Easter, who had his red card from the previous Saturday's game at Mansfield overturned, hit the woodwork late on as both sides settled for a point.
There has been further unrest as midfield player Stanley Aborah claims he is "Shocked and disappointed" that Boss Jamie Fullarton claim he no longer wants to play for them. Fullarton saying that Aborah told him he "Didn't come to play for Notts County, he played for the previous manager".
Aborah’s response was "The club went too far on this one.", asked whether he was refusing to paly the Belgian said, "Not at all, I don't know why he said that. You don't do that to one of your players. I was shocked and angry at first, then I was just disappointed."
Fullarton countered, "I've got no issue with any player having a relationship with the manager, but the club is the one that employs you, pays your wages, therefore your loyalty, and commit and professionalism should be toward the club."
"We felt that over a period of time that it would pass, but unfortunately he has maintained his position. On a daily basis he shows that he doesn't want to be at the club and he has asked, on occasion, to leave the club directly, via email with his agent. It is a predicament because he is quality with ability."
An Official Club statement said that Aborah had "expressed his desire to leave" shortly after Fullarton's appointment, which was confirmed in an email by his representative on 20 January.
"It was the hope of the club and the manager that Stanley's position on this would change and he would be committed to contributing to the team. However, in a further meeting on 29 February, Stanley again expressed his desire to leave the football club."