After recording the first popular STAND podcast just two days before this game it was inevitable that all my observations about Rovers’ start to the season would be proved completely inaccurate within 48 hours.
Rovers fielded a mostly unchanged team, Frazer Richardson back in for Riccardo Calder as Darren Ferguson again opted for a diamond midfield. True to our Podular STAND observations Rovers got off to a strong start, controlling possession and keeping the ball in their opponents’ half. But that’s where the accuracy ends.
John Marquis, a player I adjudged to be a pest around goal but with little panache, grabbed the first goal after stealing the ball from a long clearance and finishing with, well, panache. Andy Williams took advantage of some poor defending to double Rovers’ lead in the 34th minute.
But that wasn’t Rovers home and dry. Having predicted 3-2 Pompey and highlighted our tendency to capitulate after half an hour I was sure of another twist in the game. And so when Carl Baker capitalised on shoddy defending shortly before the break it appeared to be same-old, same-old. But the capitulation never materialised and Rovers held on throughout a nervy second half for a crucial win.
Curtis Main was subbed on at 71 minutes to a chorus of boos, but even the ninja striker couldn’t salvage a point for Portsmouth in a defining victory for the Reds. It was three points well earned, and Rovers up to second in the table moving into week ten.
by Jack Peat