By Gerry Prewett.
Bristol Rovers look to end a bleak record against Accrington Stanley om Tuesday evening, it is a remarkable statistic that in 13 meetings, since Stanley re-gained admission to the League, Rovers have won 2, drawn 3 and lost 8. The goals in those games read, Rovers 20, Stanley 12! Rovers two victories have been 4-0 and 5-1. All the Accy victories have been either 1-0 (5 times) or 2-1 (3 times). If ever Rovers had a bogey team it surely has to be the Reds.
The very first time was an FA Cup tie on 14 December 1929 at Eastville, the home team running out 4-1 winners, as George Reay netted twice, Jack Phillips and Fred Forbes also scoring for the Pirates with Danny Ferguson scoring for the Peel Park team. Four years later at the same stage Rovers visited Peel Park and came back out of the Cup, losing 1-0.
Fast-forward over 70 years before the rejuvenated Stanley were back into the League after their 1961 demise and visited Bristol once again. The very first league meeting again took place in December 23 2006. Once again Rovers hit 4 goals but this time Stanley were scoreless. Richard Walker put Rovers ahead on 6 minutes, Steve Elliott on 22 minutes and Walker with a 26th minute penalty made the game safe. Stuart Nicholson completed the scoring on 88 minutes. The return game in Lancashire on 6 March ended in a 1-1 tie, Richard Walker again giving Rovers the lead, but Shaun Whalley equalised for Stanley in the last minute.
In the 6 games in Lancashire Rovers have secured a total of 2 points from 2 draws and 4 defeats. When Rovers visited the Crown Stadium on 5 November 2011 little did Paul Buckle realise that it was to be the start of fireworks for him. A defeat that day was the beginning of a run of 8 games during which Rovers were to pick up just 2 points and culminated in his sacking.
On 30 January 2016, with both teams chasing promotion from Division 2, Rory Gaffney headed wide for Rovers before Adam Buxton tested Steve Mildenhall in Rovers goal with a fierce 20-yard strike before the break. The home team took the lead when Sean McConville cut inside to fire into the bottom corner in the 69th minute. Matt Crooks missed a chance to put the game out of reach when he ballooned over from four yards out.
During the encounter in the 2018/19 season, keeper Jack Bonham kept the Gas in the game with a string of impressive saves. He turned a Billy Kee free-kick around the post after 18 minutes while Middlesbrough loanee Luke Armstrong came close to opening his league account on his Stanley debut.
The 22-year-old got the ball at the far post in the 37th minute but Bonham superbly denied him. The keeper also pushed away a Jordan Clark strike from a tight angle. It was not all Stanley, as Alex Rodman had a free header for Rovers after 25 minutes but he put the chance across the goal and wide.
After the break, Bonham was again in action, denying Kee twice as the home side looked for the breakthrough. Armstrong also had two good chances close to the end but headed both wide while Stanley keeper Jonny Maxted denied Liam Sercombe the winner with the final kick of the match.