Something For The weekend (23)
The Swindon game was as I say quite an entertaining affair for a number of reasons and a draw was probably a fair result in the end. The first half we were far and away the better side and we almost had the chance of a fantastic start but our penalty appeal was turned down which probably also saved a red card. After that we put Swindon under plenty of pressure and had a few chances but were unable to convert. The goal we conceded though was inexcusable and was really infuriating given how well we had played to that point. To let a player literally walk down the middle unchallenged to slot the ball in the bottom corner was shocking. I don`t advocate being dirty, but we do have to `play the game` and be more cynical at times. Someone should have took one for the team or actually put in a proper challenge. I am sure the goal was roundly 'criticised` in the dressing room at Half-time from Mr Buckle.
In the second half I thought Swindon were the better team for the majority as we conceded ground to them and let them put us under pressure and I wasn`t sure where we were going to get a goal from. We fought back though and got our equaliser and then got going right at the end and perhaps could have nicked it. One thing I didn`t and probably most didn`t understand was when Eliot Richards came on that he went out wide with Joe Anyinsah going up front. I suppose ultimately the substitution worked but still baffling. Eliot seems to have something about him and an eye for goal and you feel that his ability should be utilised as a striker, yet when he has come on he often seems to be played elsewhere.
The other 'exciting` happening of the week is the latest announcement regarding the UWE Stadium development. In a midweek press conference information was relayed about the signing of agreements between Rovers, UWE and Sainsbury`s and funding of the project. This is an important step that brings the development closer, with planning permission now being the main obstacle. I certainly haven`t got carried away yet and popping the Champagne as there is still a long way to go. Whilst agreements and funding appear to be agreed it would be nice to know some more detail. Are Sainsbury`s buying the land regardless? It has been said that supermarkets do 'land bank` even if they cannot get planning permission straight away. If this is the case I will certainly feel more confident in the stadium happening, otherwise is Sainsbury`s purchase dependant on getting planning permission and what are the other areas of finance and the implications for the club in the longer term. I am sure we will learn more detail in the future if the development is going ahead, but it`s hard not to have some healthy cynicism after numerous stadium plans and being told funding is in place.
This weekend sees us travel to Gillingham for what will probably be a difficult wet and windy game if the weather is anything to go by. If we can produce the good points from the Swindon game then there is no reason why we cannot win and we don`t have to worry about Jo Kuffour popping up and scoring against as he probably would if he was allowed to play. Once again though we must cut out the poor defensive errors or we will simply will not pick up three points often enough. it`s boring saying it, and I am sure you are fed up of seeing it time after time. Whether we can strengthen the team in January remains to be seen, but some business is surely going to be have to be done with Cian Bolger, Andy Dorman and Ollie Norburn`s loan up, even if it amounts to extended their deals with us.
I hope you enjoy the weekend, I know I certainly need the days off from work and I also need to get just a couple of final presents so I can say I am done and don`t have to be running around on the last few days.
Simon 'Sprout` phillips