Though I don’t get to as many home Rovers games as I’d like; selling fanzines before the game helps give a good barometer of the likely outcome. The doom and desperation of last season has been replaced with a happy assuredness. Leyton Orient were there for the taking.
So it seemed to be as Rovers piled on the pressure in the opening quarter; John Marquis had a point-blank header brilliantly saved by Alex Cisak; and from the resulting corner first Tommy Rowe and then Andy Butler struck the woodwork.
Despite this, it was to be Orient who took the lead, and in spectacular fashion; Callum Kennedy with an unstoppable 35-yard free-kick.
When Liam Mandeville became the third player to strike the bar you might’ve wondered if this was to be our day – but then I can’t remember the last time I felt this confident about a Rovers side, and so even at one nil down, it still felt that the key question was ‘when?’ rather than ‘if?’.
The answer was just before half-time; Jordan Houghton firing in the equaliser through a crowded area. The goal put Rovers back in the ascendancy and they – or rather Mandeville – duly wrapped up the three points from two second half spot-kicks as first Matty Blair, and then Rowe, were felled clumsily.
Late on Orient rallied to a degree – Marko Marosi making a great reaction save from Paul McCallum’s header – but few around me looked particularly worried. If needed, there’d be more in the tank.
by Glen Wilson