Bristol Rovers 1-0 Northampton Town
Saturday, August 31st 2013
I’m starting to think I should be just copying and pasting my away day reports from now on. It’s three defeats in three now on the road, all of which featured no goals for the Cobblers and all of which saw Town players take an early bath. Roy O’Donovan’s summed up another frustrating afternoon and another in a long line of defeats at what is now becoming a real bogey ground for the Cobblers.
Gone are the memories of John Gayle’s joyful lob and a certain tannoy announcer’s over excitement in singing about his side’s trip to Wembley before the greatest game ever to happen at Sixfields ruined his, and all associated with Rovers’ week. Those memories will, of course, never be truly forgotten but now I think we’ll be even more delighted that Rovers will be when their new ground at UWE is ready to go!
Things started out in shambolic fashion with a defence seemingly in tatters thanks to Joe Widdowson’s absence through injury. Nobody seemed to understand where they were playing because after Tom Locker headed in from a Lee Brown cross two minutes in the defenders changed their positions to the ones they should have started in. Now is not the time to give home sides the advantage from the get go and the only blessing was that there was time to pull something out of the bag.
Chris Hackett was back and appeared to be the most potent threat with Ishmel Demontagnac on the other wing having another afternoon typical of him – good in bursts but always a red card waiting to happen. Our obligatory sending off, though, would fall to a more unlikely suspect later on.
Town did get a foothold in the game and Clive Platt, restored in place of Jacob Blyth (scorer of two in three games in case you’ve forgotten!) did his best to do something but it always had the feeling of another ‘one of those afternoons’ that we’re having far too many of these days.
Platt divides opinion but when you start in place of a man who briefly looked like firing fresh hope into our forward line by blasting us to our only win of the season you have to give it your all to keep your place. The fact that Blyth was dropped to the bench for anyone baffles me. The fact that it was Platt just made no sense at all apart from giving me a growing sense of Aidy Boothroyd’s stubbornness. I don’t think Platt deserves all of the criticism he gets but the fans need to see more from him than he’s shown in his year and a bit here so far.
Back to Saturday and Hackett came closest for Town late on with a free kick that rattled the post and it was another bad luck story that we just can’t afford right now. We can complain all we like about hitting the post in the last minute but there were 89 minutes before that where we didn’t do enough and it’s getting too repetitive on the road.
O’Donovan jumping in front of a throw in late on saw him pick up a second yellow card and was just silly and when you’re chasing a game for a point. Blame also must go to those on the bench that watched him do it right in front of them on the touchline but it summed up everyone’s feelings at the end of another deflating afternoon.
So what now? The transfer window comes to a close on Monday and whether we will see any more movement in or out remains to be seen. The only one out I see happening is Dave Artell but ironically he fits the mould of experienced centre back that we might just need right now! We cannot wait until Kelvin Langmead comes back and say that everything will be OK when the skipper is here.
We also can’t afford to wait for Alex Nicholls or reply on him to be the twenty goal a season striker he threatened to be when he comes back sometime near the New Year. Blyth needs to be taken on a season long loan and perhaps we also need someone else to supplement the work rate of O’Donovan.
When I look at other sides’ line ups in League Two I usually see plenty of danger where they can unlock us and at the moment I’m unfortunately not seeing a lot of that a month into our season. I’m not sure if the funding is there or not be we need to know either way rather than getting ourselves wrapped up in the deadline day drama and expecting something that won’t come.
I’ll hopefully be around Monday to keep popping up with some updates so stay tuned…hopefully by the time we make the trip to MK Dons on Tuesday for the lovely Johnstone’s Paint Trophy we could be seeing one or two new faces to give us hope that it’s not all doom and gloom!