Bristol Rovers V Accrington Stanley 12.9.15

Or: Corbyn’s victory, Bob’s Birthday and, somewhere in the middle, a game of football

Transport to game.

An odd and cheerful event happened on the No 1 bus as it passed through Clifton this morning. As usual most passengers were on mobile phones, checking social media pages and texting friends about where they might meet up. Then, at about 5 to 12, people started looking around at each other and smiling. Then one said. “It’s confirmed. Jeremy has one the election” Next people started cheering and confirming that they too had seen / read the news. There is certainly something going on. Have you ever had people cheering an election for a political party before? It could be one of those “where were you when”……. moments?

Pre-Match pubs

At 1 minute to 12 I arrived, therefore early at the pre-arranged pub. Bob and Ronnie arrived at 12.06, i.e. late again.

Lime Kiln

This slowly changing pub now has a real polish to the floors and tables. The chosen beer was a first for me i.e. from Grey Trees Brewery of Aberdare, an excellent Pale Ale. The other two arrived and the Happy Birthday messages passed on to Coventry Bob. A plan was made for the day that would end in a birthday curry and late journey home.


Three Tuns

This pub continues to take some fathoming. The beer quality was as good as ever, The Arbor Motueka was the only option recognisable as a session beer. The person who decides what to put on offer and when, might want to consider the range of beers so that the choice is wider and of lower gravity. It is a recurrent theme and, by the evidence of the numbers in the pub, a factor in the fewer customers whenever we visit.
We settled to the outside area at the back but soon moved on. I would really have appreciated a dark beer or a beer around 4% as a second choice.


The Bag of Nails

Hurrah for the Bag of Cats. The pub has found a place in the GBG and long may there be a place to describe one of my favourite haunts. They must have partied hard the night before because the choice was down to four beers rather than the usual 7 or 8. Animal Brewing is an XT offshoot and my first sample of their wares was a Panther. Four excellent beers by 2 o’clock and then a taxi to the ground made an excellent pre-match session. What could possible go wrong?


The Game

Bristol Rovers 0 Accrington 1 Attendance 6351 (48 Stanleyites)
Entertainment Value 1

New recipe Curry Pie. No increase in marks though.

A poor game had to happen sometime. They came to defend, nick a goal and shut up shop with breakaways as threats to the home side. Their plan worked well. Rovers played with stifled enthusiasm. I had no complaints about the result. Rovers will do exactly the same when they win away this season. The referee had token criticism but got the major decisions right. At the moment the side doesn’t threaten goals and when the chances do come they inevitably fall to a lumpen centre half who is hard wired to head or clip the ball wide / high of any goal.

Man of the Match:
Tom Lockyer was yet again my top man. He had an awkward time, often the last man against breaking forwards. He did very well to hold players up, resist diving in and had exceptional pace over short distances.

I am occasionally asked why I don’t contribute to Rovers fanzines or chat sites. A new fanzine came out today but it won’t get my missives. It is not that I don’t like it, I did enjoy reading Last Saturday Night. It is because invariably any writer will be open to a stream of abuse from those who think a forum or fanzine is open season for so called freedom of speech (or abuse). Some make comments on a regular basis and here are the observations and scores that are written every week about the players.  If you never saw the player in action the forum in general will describe them thus:-

Whoever is in goal – At the moment Lee Nicholls. This is a generic goalkeeper who is the present incumbent of the multi-coloured t shirt in goal. If over 6 foot 3 he will have a problem with low shots despite saving one handed at the near post. If he opts to throw the ball on more than one occasion he will get a “good distribution” tag. Dare to juggle one cross and he will get the vampire comment. Score 6 because in reality he will have made two good saves and picked the ball out of the net once.
Lee Brown 6 Not as good as last year. Missing Monkhouse. Mr Reliable. Good going forward, Poor Service. SERVICE? Not my word. What does that mean?
Tom Lockyer 6 Marshalled his man well, Mr Reliable. Poor Distribution. DISTRIBUTION? Do they mean passing ability? MARSHALLED? Is he a postman on a night train?
Tom Parkes 6 Wins everything / nothing in the air depending on whether he made one massive leap above a forward or gets out-jumped at the near post ONCE. Distribution, that word again, poor because he hits one long ball along a channel when the forwards are coming short.
James Clark 6 Amazing, a revelation, best signing for years. Mr Reliable. Has great speed; lacking in pace should a winger fail to / is able to, win a foot race with him ONCE.
Chris Lines 6 A showboating luxury player with a poor choice of distribution options. Lightweight if he loses a tackle ONCE. Needs to wink / pull his socks up more to fulfill his “one of our own tag”
Stuart Sinclair 9 MOM He made a hundred tackles, covered every square inch of the pitch, battled hard and was a shining example before and after the game, ruffling the hair of 30 kids before jumping into his Mr Matey gelled shower.
Ollie Clarke 6 Not “one of our own” because he never appears to say anything before, during or after a game. Poor option taker if he tries that Lines long ball and Browner is half asleep to see it coming. He was caught in possession ONCE today. Thus is a therefore a major problem.
Jermaine Easter 6 A class act just waiting to get fully fit. It is nearing October and he still hasn’t found the pace he used to have. Good at holding up play. Not sure I know what that means or whether it is good or bad. Missed a chance ONCE today so “poor finisher” and “past it” comments are now used.
Matty Taylor 6 He made the mistake of falling over ONCE today. He was tapped on the ankle ONCE but apparently now he has a problem of standing up. STANDING UP! It’s surely falling over that’s the problem? He didn’t miss a chance today so “poor finisher” applies even though he didn’t have a chance to get any adjective applied to his finishing good or bad. And what is FINISHING. Shooting? Heading? Tapping in at the back post? Running with the ball around the keeper? Well actually he is pretty poor at all of these so perhaps finishing is best used as a coverall.
Ellis Harrison 6 Remember that pass from Tom Lockyer down the channel? While Ellis was crossing with Taylor and heading towards the opposite channel when the ball set off down the line that Ellis had vacated. He therefore is lazy. LAZY? Has the forum commentator ever played any professional sport and know the dogs abuse a lazy player gets in that team. He is frustrating to watch but obviously now a marked man. He now has a reputation and I like it. I also like his getting shirty with diving centre halves. He needs to be nastier. Oh hang on, if he argues with a player ONCE he is called “petulant”.

My scores for Saturday without further comment  were :-
Nicholls 6
Brown 7
Lockyer 8
Parkes 5
Clark 6
Lines 7
Clarke 7
Sinclair 6
Mansell 5
Taylor 4
Harrison 4
Suns Gosling 4, Bodin 6.

Away Fans




It was a big day in Lord Powell’s office post-match. Tickets to Lords for those who are off to see the mighty Gloucestershire. Other tickets for Rugby tomorrow, Mansfield away, Cambridge and most importantly, Plymouth for next weekend. Wallets were emptied, cash redistributed and scores on Sky TV largely ignored. We had lost and didn’t really care that much.


The themes for this evening were 1) Celebrating Bob’s birthday and 2) People watching. Bob called the shots on the pubs of choice and people watching was related to the many events going off in town tonight.
Ronnie played with his phone. The group of 10 gathered to get the post-mortem out of the way. Two pints were downed including a Dark Side keg. What was I thinking? Buses full of Madness types rode after parking on their way to the County Ground. Welcome to the house of Fun folks.


Bus to town. Where was the Tommy Cooper Convention? Nice one Geoff!

White Hart

As I said Bob’s choice. I’m o.k. with Greene King beer and pubs but this pub is way down my choice of best pub. It has the odour of a bus station pub, eau de passing hippy, aroma of incontinent hospital escapee. Beer passable. Nothing much to see from the one available inside table. Move On!


Time for a curry at 4500 miles from Delhi Curry House
I don’t do food reviews. I enjoyed the company and food.

White Lion

This pub has one major downside. That flipping juke box in the hands of Ronnie drives me outside at the fastest rate possible. To the sounds of A Little White Bull I headed to sample the one very desirable aspect of the pub at 10 at night. The seats outside the pub give an excellent point to watch people. Arrivals to the Milk Thistle next door; taxis coming and going; Hen and Stag parties wobbling by and “beerded” pipe smokers came and went. It was gin and tonic time as I contemplated my taxi home. Then came the call of the day. Rose came to pick me up on her way home. Perfect!


Pub of the Day:
Lime Kiln I could well have gone through their list. 8

Beer of the Day:
Animal Panther in the Bag of Nails

Next Up

Plymouth Away

Many are off to Lords. Our smaller than usual party departs Temple Meads at 9. 18. No doubt the Thistle Park, Dolphin and Fortescue will be visited on the way.

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